Monday, July 9, 2012

Book Review - Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey – E L James
What kind of blogger would I be if I did not see what all the fuss is about? To be honest, I can pretend that I am reviewing this book for my followers, but since half my family have bought into the hype and purchased this book, or now going insane as it is sold out everywhere, like a cat curiosity has got the better of me.
I’ve read what people on the fantasy forums have been saying, “It is nothing but porn,” “fanfic that has got published” and “even worse than Twilight” are the popular opinions. Even celebrities have used the book to raise their profile by admonishing it.  
A quick trawl on Amazon reveals the following head line comments from reviewers:
“Oh my! What a pile of discarded panties,”
Unintentionally hilarious,”
“Unadulterated tosh,”
 “Why? Why? Why?”
The Blurb:
When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time. Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.
At the start of the novel I was all set to defend “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the story was intriguing and I could see no signs to warrant the terrible reviews the book had received....and then the sex scenes start.
To be honest, some have relevance are an integral part of the story, but there are also a lot that should not be in there. For example Christian may have sex with Ana where they explore some new experience for her and push a few boundaries, this is fine. It is the sex half an hour later that it gratuitous and tedious. Where a simple, “they shared a wicked smile and then they fulfilled their desires once again” would have sufficed, we are treated by a blow by blow account of the act again.
This leads on to the other problem with the sex scenes, the sheer repetition of the language used to describe the act. I would love to know how many times the word, “languid” was used to describe Ana.
The other downside of the novel is the character of Ana - Who since she is the protagonist is a problem. Ana is inexperienced and full of self doubt and insecurities. In parts this is o.k. (Why would a multi-millionaire be interested in her over everyone else) but most of the time it is infuriating. For example, Christian might pay Ana a compliment which will make her flush with embarrassment, but two seconds later she will be questioning why he said the comment. Has someone told him to say it? Is he being nice for another reason? Could he possibly have meant what he said? Arrrrrh! Ana made me want to slap her repeatedly and not in a turned on BDSM kind of way.
A lot of reviews talk about how annoying Ana’s inner Goddess is. E L James uses the literary device of Ana’s inner Goddess so the reader gets to understand her conscience. It is not needed but it is effective and personally I was grateful for it.
Christian on the other hand is a great character: Mysterious, enigmatic, powerful yet insecure himself. Ana completely befuddles him and he has trouble adopting his usual role of staying in control of his life. He makes you want to find out more about him and his past. He is also clearly a stalker.
The chemistry between the two is well handled, although the dialogue is occasionally sanguine as are the over the top use of emails between them. The relationship though is believable as the attraction is so well portrayed.
The rest of the cast are not really drawn out in great detail. The most fleshed out is Ana’s roommate, who is pretty one dimensional. She is inquisitive and bossy and that is about it.
In terms of the plot, it never really progresses nor is it that complex. Basically it is all about whether Ana can accept Christian for who he is. What seems like a simple issue at the outset of the novel, you are still waiting for a resolution at the end. Speaking of the end, the story seems to stop rather than conclude which is annoying as I very much doubt if I will read any more of the series.
All in all Fifty Shades of Grey is a long way from being the woeful novel many make it out to be. I can see why many love it, but I struggle to see why people would rate it 1star on Amazon. It certainly doesn’t deserve that. In my opinion, it needed to be 200 pages shorter by losing some of the sex scenes and Ana’s tedious self doubting moments
My rating: 6.3