Review: 50 Shades of Grey

50 Shades of Grey
by E.L. James

Well, I could not resist all the hype surrounding this modern day bodice ripper-cum-page turner. Originally marketed as an e-book and print-on-demand in June 2011, 50 Shades of Grey is the creation of E.L. James, a British television producer who has apparently made herself wealthier than her entrepreneurial character Christian Grey.

In this first person narrative, Anastasia Steele, a soon-to-be graduate of Washington State University meets the object of her affection Christian Grey, a handsome young Seattle business tycoon, when she interviews him for the university newspaper as a favour to her over-achieving roommate. The predictable transpires, but the road is particularly bumpy for the inexperienced Steele who has just spent four years curled up in an armchair reading English classics and living vicariously through her roommate's love life. Christian Grey is a demanding, moody, charismatic man with particular sexual tastes that would frighten off the vast majority of women. Ana is warned by her friends to stay away, but she can't help herself. She is too easily disarmed (and disrobed) by the mercurial Grey.

The first installment of this three-part trilogy spans only a few weeks, but the relationship and by extension the reading are intense. Although I'm ill-versed in this genre, I must admit that if you are even slightly interested (and . . . you are) then this book is worth picking up for a number of reasons. The author creates sustained tension through very high stakes for the naive Anastasia, who is attracted to the brooding, winsome Grey. However, the more time she spends with him the more she risks falling in love. The author further ups the ante by endangering the protagonist's safety with Grey's sexual proclivity for BDSM, and of course, she has to face the inevitable: he will never be able to reciprocate her love.

All the ingredients of a bodice ripper you say, but...

Into the narrative, the author successfully weaves Ana's voice of reason (her subconscious) and her voice of desire (her "inner goddess"), which accurately reflect the seesaw of emotions that a woman might actually experience in her situation. The author also offers some inner monologue that complement the other two voices. This combination makes the characters and this unlikely story readily accessible and credible. What's more, the first installment focuses exclusively on the sexual experience of Anastasia: you know, the other side of the sexual equation that we rarely hear about or see in mainstream media.

Not everything is perfect in the book. For one, only a TV producer could dream up this much product placement. Steve Jobs will undoubtedly meet E.L. James at the pearly gates with the latest iPad. There was also some grating prose bordering on purple, in addition to some annoying repetition. For instance, I thought I'd scream if I heard, "My breathing hitched," or "Oh my" one more time...but maybe that was the point. Equally annoying was the repeated reference to Icarus flying too close to the sun. But other than that, the writing is tasteful.

50 Shades of Grey has caused quite a sensation. It hit number one on the New York Times' bestseller list at the beginning of March. It has been suggested that the book's popularity may be because it can be downloaded to an e-reader, away from prying eyes. The book has also elicited some hilarious knee-jerk reactions from the usual suspects. Here are a few headlines:

Racy, disturbing novel '50 Shades of Grey' gains cult followingFox 31

'50 Shades of Grey': What is the appeal? Christian Science Monitor

Erotic novel '50 Shades of Grey' unites gals, unnerves some guysFox News
It's all porn to me: One man's review of '50 Shades of Grey'New York Daily News

Man Proclaims 50 Shades of Grey 'Deeply Unappealing to Men'Jezebel (Poking fun at the previous review.)

Other book reviews:
The Return by Dany Laferrière
Meet Revolutionary Mother
Review: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter
Interview with Carmen Aguirre, Chilean Resistance Fighter
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Antagonist by Lynn Coady
Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
Dogs at the Perimeter by Madeleine Thien
Going Down Swinging by Billie Livingston
Incendiary by Chris Cleave
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell 
The Girl Without Anyone by Kelli Deeth




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Anonymous | July 9, 2012 at 5:26 PM

This is clearly a book for people who dont read, as many people commenting here have said. Well, that says it all. Its badly badly written and that makes it impossibly boring. It's embarrassingly lame and so ridiculously conceived it reads like an advert. Good writing is not an optional in novels. Its what makes a novel. Most of us could weave together a decent enough story. But writers WRITE. which doesn't mean just putting words on paper. I have no problem with people enjoying the titillation porn gives but please let's stop hailing this as the new frontier of literature because any average creative writing course can produce 100 people a year with better skills than this woman. She's a good At marketing but that's about it. Now can we stop talking about such rubbish and start reading real books. They have sex scenes too, you know. Interspersed with a real story and decent English language, that is...

Anonymous | July 10, 2012 at 3:48 AM

Despite all your comments the writer is laughing all the way to the bank saying "GOTCHA HA!HA!" -the human race is obsessed with sex, good,bad or evil, rich or poor . young or old.
Everyone could write a similar book , just include every sexual fantasy you can think of and it will sell-doesn't even have to be good writing either.-


Anonymous | July 10, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Thank god! I was starting to worry i had the wrong version of the book or something! Its extremely repetitive, predictable and quite cheesy in some parts. I too picked up on the britishisms and find myself skipping over the 'romantic' dialogue and extremely tame sex scenes. I definately would not class this as porn. Its a shame becos this story could have had some real potential if it had been written better, which is why i want to read to the end of the trilogy just to find out whats happens, but it definately doesnt live up to all the hype. Not a bad effort though.

Anonymous | July 11, 2012 at 5:33 PM

well it took me 3 days to read all the books and my judgment is it sucks there are Way better books of this form out there IE beauty series and a pound of flesh series. and for those of us that were or are still in that lifestyle thanks for the Laughs.

Anonymous | July 11, 2012 at 10:08 PM

I really enjoyed all 3 books. Being Australian, the 'Britisisms' didn't stand out to me, maybe I'm used to hearing them? I found the Ana losing her viginity scene a bit unbelievable. Not so much that she orgasmed from nipple stimulation , but more that it didn't hurt! By book 3 I skimmed over the sex scenes as they became a bit repetitive. I was more interested in the relationship side of it and at times did get frustrated by Christians controlling nature (ie. cracking it when she wanted to keep her maiden name at work, his jealousness re. Jose) Would have liked a bit more on Leila - what actually caused her to lose it? Sounds like she fell in love with Christian as she did say to Ana "What do you have that I don't?" All in all a really good read, loved the other characters (her friend Kate, Jose, the Greys, her family, Taylor, Mrs Jones) and I think it's a case of don't sweat the small stuff, enjoy it for what it is.

Kate... | July 12, 2012 at 7:14 AM

It's awful. Badly written and clunky. It was fan-lit for Twilight so what would you expect? Go read Anna Funder's 'All That I Am' if you want to do something good for yourself.

Unknown | July 13, 2012 at 1:00 PM

This book does not present some harmless fantasizing that lives only within these pages: It has real world ramifications. Art influences life. And imagine how the behaviors of men in our society could change for the worse if they grow to believe that this kind of abuse and domination is what all women want out of their sexual relationships. Imagine how that could influence the way a man treats a partner who feels too afraid and has too little self-esteem to firmly say "No." Imagine how that could influence the behavior of a man who sees a woman walking down a dark street alone. Imagine how it could influence a society that is already infested with horrendous and despicable acts of sexual brutality directed almost exclusively at women. Imagine it.

And shouldn't we teach the women in our society, especially young women, that they deserve to love themselves and respect themselves so much that they should never want to be treated in such a horrific way? that they should never want anyone to dominate them? (Ana is beaten, after all; BEATEN. You know what I call violence mixed with sex: I call it RAPE. And the author seems to feel that because these are two consenting adults that somehow that makes it acceptable. It doesn't! And quite honestly, something isn't consensual if it's coerced.) And shouldn't we teach the men in our society, especially young men, that they deserve to love and respect themselves so much that they should never feel the need to dominate or abuse another person. This book sends a horrible message to our young people.

This book is not about sexual fantasy, it's about rape, and sadly the author seems to condone it and promote it.

Bud Glory

Anonymous | July 13, 2012 at 3:53 PM

The 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon is more interesting as a cultural(or lack thereof) influence than the book itself, which is boring, poorly written and not at all "titillating". When something or someone becomes a mass marketing phenomenon there is no stopping it regardless of quality or any other indicators of merit. We can see the same in the last years regarding the obsession with vampire love stories, which in fact has been going on for decades(Ann Rice). If people like this sort of stuff well let them enjoy it but if this kind of writing and influence becomes so pervasive to the detriment of really quality writing then we are in a sad state. Many talented writers, unfortunately, have trouble selling one copy of a book which is a shame when one sees the mass hysteria with this book and books of similar ilk.

Heather | July 13, 2012 at 5:23 PM

I'm glad you've raised the point that 50 Shades of Grey is a phenomenon. It is indeed. EL James is a masterful marketer. There are tons of romance and erotica novels out there, reportedly better than this one, but somehow hers made it to the fore... It is a chore for many to choose a book, so readers hedge their bets and buy in to the hype. Part of the phenomenon, I think, is the e-reader; books are more accessible than they have ever been.It's incredible success has a lot to do with the rapidly shifting publishing industry. Today, we are all authors.

It's just another bestseller, and I can't say that it will become pervasive to the detriment of quality writing. We all read for different reasons. Sometimes, we just want pure escape. I can only speak for myself, and as you can see from the books I review, I haven't changed the quality of the books I read because of 50 Shades of Grey. I'm sure others will try to copy it, and they will have moderate success, but it's a fad that will pass like all the others. Thanks for your comment. Heather

Anonymous | July 13, 2012 at 8:30 PM

I read it for what it was, a juicy novel. I really enjoyed it One of the things I did find it intriguing was in the dialog about "was it bad just because you have been told it was bad" and her confusion and guilt about enjoying the experiences. For someone that usually has "vanilla sex", I actually thought it was "thought provoking". I actually had an interesting conversation with a friend about that aspect of the novel.

Just finished book one, damn my friend that reads slower than me...

Anonymous | July 13, 2012 at 9:18 PM

I think it is clear that the author is an older woman who TRIES and fails to write like a college student. We shave, own laptops and don't use phrases like "oh my," and "he made a pass at me."

Anonymous | July 13, 2012 at 9:28 PM

If she's a broke, starving college student wouldn't she jump at the chance to eat amazing food when it is offered?!

Vanessa | July 13, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Okay here's my comment. I am a senior in college (same as Ana) and was convinced by my roommates to read the first book. Like many, I feel as though a joke has been played on me. Either that or I am beginning to lose faith in humanity! This book was boring, repetitive and unrealistic and it makes me feel bad for some of my peers who are so impressed. I can't remember the last book I read where I was actually skipping multiple pages just trying to get it over with. For a book that is all about kinky sex, the language and acts were lame. No one calls their vag "my sex," come on just drop the word pussy now and then and it would be better. Also, it is the same every time...a few pumps or slaps and she comes right away...HA yeah right! And, it is hilarious to me that during this amazing sex she exclaims such things as,"Oh my." Wow that really got me going, not! Part of the problem I think is that the author is older and just doesn't know how young adults these days talk. Ana is supposedly awkward, has no fashion sense, and has barely been kissed, but yet lands a handsome millionaire...hmm. Anyways, I know it is just a book and an escape from reality, but found it very annoying!

Heather | July 14, 2012 at 5:11 AM

Very interesting Vanessa! Although there has been some spill over into a younger market, I have a feeling that EL James was writing this book for an older age group. We might wonder why she did not write about subjects her own age.... A great question for EL James?

Anonymous | July 14, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Why is it so unbelievable that the characters use big words? Ana reads English literature instead of having a social life. It's hardly surprising that she sounds a bit like a Jane Austen heroine. And Christian is apparently smart enough to build an enormous corporation in less than a decade. Maybe I didn't find their vocabularies unrealistic because I didn't need to look up any of the words. While it may be a bit more unrealistic that Ana gets her rocks off every time Grey raises an eyebrow, nobody would read it if it were a chronicle of unsuccessful attempts to give a frigid housewife an orgasm.

Unknown | July 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM

This book does not present some harmless fantasizing that lives only within these pages: It has real world ramifications. Art influences life. And imagine how the behaviors of men in our society could change for the worse if they grow to believe that this kind of abuse and domination is what all women want out of their sexual relationships. Imagine how that could influence the way a man treats a partner who feels too afraid and has too little self-esteem to firmly say "No." when they feel uncomfortable. Imagine how that could influence the behavior of a man who sees a woman walking down a dark street alone. Imagine how it could influence a society that is already infested with horrendous and despicable acts of sexual brutality directed almost exclusively at women. Imagine it.

And shouldn't we teach the women in our society, especially young women, that they deserve to love themselves and respect themselves so much that they should never want to be treated in such a horrific way? that they should never want anyone to dominate them? (Ana is beaten, after all; BEATEN. You know what I call violence mixed with sex: I call it RAPE. And the author seems to feel that because these are two consenting adults that somehow that makes it acceptable. It doesn't! And quite honestly, something isn't consensual if it's coerced.) And shouldn't we teach the men in our society, especially young men, that they deserve to love and respect themselves so much that they should never feel the need to dominate or abuse another person. This book sends a horrible message to our young people.

This book is not about sexual fantasy, it's about rape, and sadly the author seems to condone it and promote it.

Bud Glory

Anonymous | July 14, 2012 at 8:24 PM

I really enjoyed the series. I liked both the characters and am sad the books are finished. I do hope James does a trilogy of Christian's view before and during Ana. The e-mails were my favorite part. My heart broke when Christian called Ana at the bank asking if it was always about the money! It's just a story from the writer's imagination, so I don't take any of it too seriously.

Anonymous | July 14, 2012 at 9:40 PM

I am ready 50 Shades Book 1 now. My first thought was how the book reminded me of all the Danielle Steele novels I have read. Having the main character named Steele just added fodder to my thoughts. E L James is not the first one to do this soft erotica writing. Harlequin romance novels were alive and kicking 30 years ago. I remember seeing my mother sit with one and every now and then she would be blushing at something she read. Jacqueline Suzanne is another auther who used the same formula as James, however, Jacqueline was a much better writer.

Michelle | July 15, 2012 at 11:04 PM

I read all 3 and they were definitely as someone stated "unputdownable". Not because of the sex or erotica though... That wasn't what was drawing me. The story, the psychology of each of them, why Christian was the way he was... I wanted to understand him better and I loved that Ana ultimately gave him such a gift of life that he would have likely never experienced had he never found her or someone like her. I loved it for that reason and I want more books like that. "Recommended reads" all seem in the erotic genre and that's not what I want. Is this type of book really so unique that I won't be able to match it elsewhere? I understand James may be writing the next trilogy of story from Christian's POV which is exactly what I'd love to read now. But if anyone has suggestions on other books that include the same mixture of interest, or better, I would love the input!

Anonymous | July 16, 2012 at 11:01 AM

I bought the first book last week as my husband persuaded me to! I have just finished it and wow I loved it! I wasn't bothered by all the hype and I'm not an avid book reader, but my God, I couldn't put the book down. I have just started the 2nd book which I downloaded as I couldn't wait until the shops opened for me to purchase it and again its intoxicating. It has completely taken over my mind, and at work it's all us girl's talk about! Sad I know, but it's just a bit of fantasy, escapism, call it what you will, but it's certainly light relief (no pun intended) after a hard day at the office. Who wouldn't want a Christian Grey to look after you and consume you. Laters Baby..

jp523 | July 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Eh, it seems too vulgar and sexual to accumulate any sense of dignity. It mostly reads like a horny teenager wrote it, which is hard to get behind if you don't entirely buy into the characters. However, it even fails as an erotic novel, as the events that transpire are painfully vanilla. BDSM and the like are what teenagers consider risque, and anyone who actually gets it would be rather offended by the author using it to represent "dangerous sexual activity." When I heard this was originally a fanfic, I held out some degree of hope that it would bring a looser sensibilities into play. Often fanfiction, for all of its roughness, will be the only literature to give serious consideration to topics that most literature would not even dare touch upon. This story, however, has all of the roughness of a fanfiction, but none of the daring, originality, or creative intent. If you want to read an interesting erotic story, go read Tales of Mu or something. At least that story has variety in its overly long sex scenes.

Anonymous | July 19, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Maturity is key to reading this open mind is the best. I am only just finished with the 1st book...and I just want to say WAY TO GO EL!! I read thru these comments amazed at some things people have said and pointed out. Yes, most woman take much longer than the niave lil Ana takes to organsm...however if with the right man who can turn you on...well happens! Also calling this book disturbing and/or disgusting is just is straight out a sexually detailed, erotic, and a wonderfully unusual LOVE STORY! Reality is that men and women show thier love in 2 completely different ways!! It is clear that Christian has baggage and Ana is very niave. However...she is an adult and consenting to all he hands out to her. Though is book is said to be fanatasy...I think it is alot more real than some care to admit. If Christian really wanted to hurt her I believe he would...and just because he was sexually and emotionally abused on some level doesn't make him a bad person...NOR does it make this book a glorification of it at all. People who were sexually, mentally, physically, or emotionally abused need to be loved as well...and some just don't know how. Yes it is something most are born with the ability to do...however if not shown how to do so properly some lose all sense of it. Christian's controlling and stalker like tendancies are his wierd way of showing love. I am not sitting here saying that its healthy for him to take that level too high...but, she can simply draw a line and tell him or walk he clearly states over and over TALK TO ME! If she didn't want the sub position she shouldn't have continued...we all make our own choices in life and she clearly makes hers. There are billions of people in this world with all kinds of sexual preferences...this is reality. Also...repitious some what...but, I think its pretty realisitic and well written. Just because you may not see the lifestyle as "normal" doesn't mean the real world...what is "normal" anyway? Again just my opinion...

Anonymous | July 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM

I’ve noticed something like “GOTCHA HAHA!’’, which is exactly how it seems to me too, like, take this, i know what you need, so I’ll serve you fully uncovered, the whole package, not losing time or space for any other smart compilation, which is rather offensive and sad, heading toward that, it might be only an attempt of the writer to create something and sell it, by introducing tons of sex as a replica to so long persistent puritan twilight style, which probably unleashed hell into the head of fifty shades author, part envy part arrogance, even if unlike twilight, it’s an impossible reading to the end book, a little bit of humour that makes the lecture bearable unfortunately too little for such lame collection of extra-practice and no essence, not a bit, only wannabes, fiction the author says, well this is not even crazy, everything is overreacted, but everything and everybody, somebody had the guts to fantasies, the result was celebrating the extreme, as if it were ever prohibited, but the author has anticipated this, good marketing or Housewives revolution, hard to tell

Anonymous | July 20, 2012 at 10:00 AM

I'm on the third book and I must say I feel it is an x rated version of Twilight. Anastasia's character is parallel to Bella, same age, virgin, grew up with divorced parents- mother lives in sunny east coast and father northern west coast.
Christian Grey and Edward Cullen- rich as hell, can't love the girl because it's so dangerous for her attitude. cool and collected personality yet obsessive and over protective.
Jose and Jacob: Gorgeous and sooo close to being "boyfriend" but then gets dumped into the "friend" category as soon as Mr. Dangerous comes around.
Can anyone else point out more similarities? there are so many.

Unknown | July 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Sorry if my OPINION disagrees with alot of you but since I HAVE ACTUALLY read the series I have a right to voice my opinion. Since I've read this book I've had to many people come to me and and talk crap about it an give an opinion but say they have not read it. It got alot of negative reviews because alot of people thought the books downgraded women because of all the BDSM in it, but they just did not really get the picture. Yes it is very explicit but the real story has nothing to do with all the sex. You have to read more into the book, there is such a back story involved with the characters, that people are not actually getting it because all they are concerned with is the sex, half the time for me the sex was not even relevant on why I couldn't put the book down. The explicit was just a super plus. LOL. The book may be fiction but The back story on each character and the trauma and things they have went through if you actually understand it can be very real for some. Sexual abuse, mental abuse and physical abuse as a child can mold us on how we become and what we do as adults. Im not ashamed to say, that i can speak that from experience and still at age 40 deal with the results to this day. Maybe with my experiences i can understand the book more, but there are many that can understand the same things. You might not understand Christian and his demons until the last book, just as people do not understand mine. I think people just need to pay attention to the rest of the book instead of putting all their voice on the sex.

CKayyy | July 22, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Book Overview #1: 50 Shades of Grey
The first book I finished out of the ten I bought yesterday.

Well, quite frankly, I thought the beginning was pretty shitty and that the girl was an uncontrollable whore but once you get past all the meaningless sex scenes (which makes up over 90% of the book), you realize that the plot actually isn’t all that bad. What puzzles me is that every female author has a tendency to add a tall, handsome, and incredibly rich CEO to their stories in which the protagonist finds out after becoming intimate with said CEO that he carries a lot of emotional wounds/scars and baggage. At least EL James decided to mix it up by having that CEO be a sadist who enjoys kinky sex. I wouldn’t say that 50 Shades of Grey would necessarily be similar to Twilight in the fact that EL James has actually added enough detail and didn’t leave a lot of plot holes in the story unlike Stephanie Meyer and her abomination of what she calls literature and romance. Then again, you can’t exactly call insatiable urges for constant kinky sex as romance either but it definitely is more than 10000x better than the Twilight series. The only downside(s) of the book is that a lot of the scenes are repetitive and that you would have to buy the whole trilogy to finish the story along with the fact that James depicts the protagonist as a helpless girl who can’t think for herself when she’s in the presence of le kinky asshole. I’m really tired of reading current novels that have the women become hopelessly smitten when in the presence of a handsome man and threatened into submission for sex. The first book (50 Shades of Grey) ends abruptly and I’m only presuming that 50 Shades Darker and 50 Shades Freed will finish the story and add onto the already conveniently meaningless/risque/kinky sex. I’m debating on whether or not I want to finish reading the trilogy in the hopes that James would do the protagonist some justice and give her some independence instead of clinging to this incredibly annoying theme of a woman being a damsel in distress who has no meaning in life except as a possession for a sex obsessed dominant.

Lorena | July 22, 2012 at 10:08 PM

I started reading it yesterday. awful. English is not my first language and I noticed how bad it was written. It is Badly written fan fiction. that's what I thought. This is twilight all over again, the heroine, an empty vessel, so beautiful and wonderful and powerful and strong, yet she doesn't know it and of course, she doesn't show it to us. the man, falling hopelessly in love with her, for reasons unknown. and She smells so goood... I really can't tell how many times I read that line, but enought that I noticed the resemblance with Twilight's Bella saying that Edward's breath smelled nice. She is blushing all the time, bitting her lip all the time. Even the paragraphs when he talks about music and wine, seem so made up, like you googled up a bunch of music composers and just wrote about them. Made me think of sydney sheldon. the guy made you believe in what he was writing, in what the characters where. this is badlly written fan fiction. and I have read a lot of it, and this is bad.

Anonymous | July 23, 2012 at 12:12 AM

I've read all three of these books.. and let me tell you. They are BY FAR the best book i've ever read. They are so different from anything I have ever read. They were SO detailed.. It was like I was watching a movie in my head as I was reading. I really REALLY enjoyed them. I wish there was more books out there like these. I'm glad I was pressured into reading them. I finished all 3 in less then a week! :)

Anonymous | July 23, 2012 at 6:44 PM

So the hard core book managed to hit the point, what an achievement! only it’s not actually hard core, the writer probably intended to, however she left something out like the main issues, let’s say, unless she really wanted to warn us all about the decadence lurking around when making bad choices and summon irresistible monsters, and so we are doomed, and this could be surprisingly deep, like reverse psychology, which is most unlikely though, all these excessive details not exactly appropriate for a writer with such openings, the message gets lost, so much real stuff by far good books out there still lying on the shelves, I don’t even want to know how many writers are in pain right now, but she made it, the uberfeministe or on the contrary the ultimate misogynist.

Anonymous | July 24, 2012 at 4:42 PM

I really do not like to read and I didn't fall into the whole Twilight saga but this to me is very adult and interesting. I commend the author for her details in the book you can tell a women wrote this by how Ana exaggarate over little things or talks inside her head or she might just think were not good enough for someone. I got through the first book in 2 days and I only have 100 pages to go on the second one. Can't wait to crack open book 3

Anonymous | July 25, 2012 at 3:13 AM

Ckayyy, I'd definately recommend reading books 2 & 3. The storyline does get more involved and interesting.

Happy | July 25, 2012 at 9:58 PM

I'm blown away by all the hype over a Mills & Boon style boring book that is pronably better suited to horny young teens that aren't actually getting any action. Any one with a decent sex life will find this to be a very lame book, ordinary sex scenes & poorly written. Why didn't I think of this myself....would be laughing all the way to the bank

Anonymous | July 26, 2012 at 5:43 AM

I started reading the 1st book and by chapter 3 was hoping some interesting storyline would form, unfortunatley this was not the case, got bored after chapter 3, anyone who thinks this is a well writtern book book with a storyline must in my opinion have a very boring relationship with their partner.

Anonymous | July 26, 2012 at 8:19 AM

I just read first book in 2 days. No it is not classic literature. It is merely for entertainment and escape. I enjoyed it. It made me turn the pages 50 year old and found it a nice escape.

Anonymous | July 27, 2012 at 12:59 AM

I am of the, apparently fairly unpopular, opinion that there might be more skillfully penned BDSM literature to be found free of charge by the simple means of an inquiry posed to your favored search engine. Features and fictions that, by the means of an uncomplicated process provided gratis by the delightful gentlefolk at, may swiftly be transferred to an e-reader for later review. Do not peruse 50 Shades, gentle readers. 'tis naught but drivel written by an unskilled hand in compare to the exquisitely crafted texts that might be found if one dares to reject the popular notion that this puerile nonsense is even remotely worthwhile.
This is Percy, over and out

Unknown | July 29, 2012 at 12:37 AM

I just now finished the first book (not because I enjoyed it WHATSOEVER, only because it became a personal goal not to let the book defeat me) and anyone who considers that drivel good writing is off their rocker and out to space. It was repetitive to the Nth degree - Ana "flushed" nearly once on EVERY SINGLE PAGE of the book. The characters were abysmally underdeveloped, the plot left something to be desired, and the book read as if it were a screen play, which isn't surprising considering this is the first novel from a former TV producer. Did anyone else notice an EXTREME lack of consistency in almost every single aspect of this book? In every email exchange between the two characters, Ana addresses him both as Sir and Mr. Grey. Then he in turn addresses her as either Miss Steele or Ana. Sometimes she signs off Your Ana...sometimes not. It was confusing and lacked a coherent pattern which in turn made the whole exchange seem unrealistic. It was also very frustrating to have to read about the "inner goddess" as well as the subconscious, neither of whom were at all convincing and both of which got on my nerves only a few chapters in. Ana is supposed to be innocent and klutzy, however she ends up coming off as a petulant child refusing to go to bed on time. Christian takes the role of babysitter. It's pathetic. How this got to be so popular I can only attribute to the fact that it was SO POORLY written and involved some tame BDSM. That's it. Save you money, borrow from a friend like I did if you absolutely have to read this drivel.

Anonymous | July 29, 2012 at 4:29 PM

biggest load of repetitive ludicrous drivvel I´ve ever read!!!!

Anonymous | July 30, 2012 at 10:01 AM

50 shades of Grey is without exception the creepiest male character I've ever read, and I want him out of my imagination RIGHT NOW. Stalking, obsessive, possessive, controlling, humourless men like Grey are not sexy: they're the subject of court cases and restraining orders! Someone write an alternative version. Its not even titillating....using such statements as "he placed his finger on my sex".... he did what?! if i never hear about lip biting again it'll be too soon. Boring booook!!!!

Anonymous | July 31, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Love it!!!!

Anonymous | July 31, 2012 at 3:48 PM

As a survivor of a sexually and physically abusive relationship I find this book abhorring and cannot believe that women of today are reading this disgusting rubbish.Wish I had not wasted my money

Anonymous | July 31, 2012 at 11:56 PM

After reading some of the comments on here I'm glad I'm not the only one that by book 3 found Ana to be rather annoying. I've actually stopped reading for the moment. Loved book 1 & 2 - bored and frustrated with book 3.

I also want to ask - does anyone else find that the fact that Ana meets a man and changes him in a matter of weeks more disturbing than the actual (very light)BDSM???? It isn't ok to show that not all sexual relationships/tastes are the same but it is ok to hype the fairytale about changing/fixing someone in a matter of weeks??? Really??? It is just a book that plays to peoples fantasies - whether that is being tied up or finding a rich frog and turning him into your fairytale Prince. As you can probably tell mine is the being tied up part - the fairytale part I find much more offensive!!!

As a side note : Consensual BDSM at a legal age is very different to abuse, personally I think the key difference to remember between the two is that as soon as a safe word is used whatever actions are being carried out are stopped. In an abusive relationship this would not happen. Also people read the second book - you'll soon see that the relationship is far from non-consensual and evolves into something that doesn't come close to the outlined relationship in the initial contract.

Heather | August 1, 2012 at 9:34 AM

That is a very good point, and I hadn't considered that before. You're right how can an abused child like Christian Grey be "fixed" in just a few weeks. Yes, you're right. This is much more dangerous than any consensual BDSM relationship.

Great point! Thanks for your comment. Heather

Anonymous | August 2, 2012 at 6:05 AM

how to write 50 shades, 50 whatever... one, spend five minutes researching s and m, two, read a couple of english classics and type a few quotes into ones own book, three using newly acquired knowledge of "kinky fuckery" write approx three graphic sex scenes, four, use phrases ,ie linen shirt and black jeans, i bit my lower lip etc repeatedly throughout text. Combine all of the above. Whenever a "plot" appears it may go somewhere quickly finish it off by cut and pasting one of the three sex scenes and just for good measure get the "stars" of the book to tell each other how marvellous the other is and how they can not possibly live the rest of their days without their beau despite only meeting approx 3 weeks ago. If this trilogy of rubbish is made into a film why Angelina Jolie would want to play such a pathetic wimpering creature as Ana Steele is beyond sense....

Anonymous | August 2, 2012 at 9:07 AM

I'm glad that people who admit to not liking reading are reading these books, but come on. Seriously?! These frigging books? It's like feeding your toddler McDonald's every day and being proud of him for eating like a big boy. The characters are shallow and uninteresting. The plot is... stupid; just stupid. The erotic scenes are flavourless and inauthentic. There is nothing good for anyone in these books. I feel dumber for having read any part of them, and pity for people that I see carrying a copy. I want the half an hour I spent reading this crap back, plus an extra hour for my trouble.

Anonymous | August 9, 2012 at 1:50 AM

I believe that this book is amazing. Its well written and the repetition only helps to set the atmosphere and enhance the book. Good read but not for everyone.

CoyoteBlond | August 9, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Personally I found it tame. I did find the Anastasia character to be too whiny, droll and OH this and OH that. Do ridiculous women like that truly exist? Because.............

Anonymous | August 9, 2012 at 10:44 PM

spelling the word come is wrong in the book it should be cum!!!

Anonymous | August 10, 2012 at 11:11 AM

No, I am sure not all women would like to have a Christian grey in their lives. Jeez, a controlling stalker that enjoys abusing women is sexy? I have lost respect for women here. I am glad I didn't buy the book, becAuse I am in no way supporting glorified child sex abuse and women's sex abuse, and see it become sexy! As for the quality of the book, it is so poorly written , repetitive and boring, I couldn't force myself to read it completely. Boring and very unsexy!

Anonymous | August 10, 2012 at 1:36 PM

I started reading the books this week. My relationship has been on edge lately due to my husband having some mental issues himself. A friend told me about the book and I should read it. I had heard about the hype and not sure if I wanted to read it since I was told it was mostly about s&m. Not my kind of thing really. But after reading the first I got myself really emotionally involved with the characters. It opened up my eyes about myself and how I'm not self aware of myself or my sexuality. The way that Christian gets her to open up really opened up my eyes. My husband and I discussed the book as I was reading it and it opened up things for both of us. We are like newlyweds all over again because I am able to open up. After having 2 kids your body changes and so do the things that once use to turn you on. Finding the right things to explore yourself again has been amazing. To have my husband back and be "completely mine" as Christian would say is a great feeling. This book has saved my marriage. I have looked at this story with the underlying tention that is under the sex and the relationships and I can feel the heartbreak and such with both characters. I have never been in this sort of relationship but having being tramatized as a child such as Christian I can so relate. This story has more personal feelings under it for people that have experienced something like this. Yes the repetition and nagging is a bit annoying. I like that she finally starts to speak her mind towards the end. I don't think a lot of people are realizing this is her first relationship and first sexual relationship as well. A girl can be a bit nervous and still be gitty for the guy too. I do see that this book is for young adults mainly. If you don't like the book put it down and never read it again then. Don't complain about it over and over. I think people need to read it completely and understand the underneath of the story and not look at all the sex and erotica of it. I did like the 1st bath scene where he asked her fuck his mouth and yet instead of giving him that pleasure she goes down on him. That was a great twist, if only she would have done more twists instead of the same ol stuff through out the book it would be interesting to keep going on with the sex scenes as well.

Anonymous | August 12, 2012 at 6:04 PM

My husband is a Christian, I am an Anastasia. Its a fantastic world for us, not for everyone. Being in an DS or BDSM relationship is purely consensual. The torture done is not abusive physcially or mentally IF the partners are honest with one another. Everyone has a limit to set, hard and soft, and safety is #1 because you don't want to break your toy (aka the submissive)! My husband glanced over my shoulder a few times as I was reading and said "why don't you write a tell all type book" and I'm seriously considering it. This book isn't really fiction, not when they are in their D/S roles.

Anonymous | August 14, 2012 at 10:03 AM

This book is definitely entertaining although it's a little repetitive. The relationship between Ana and Grey is intense but sick. He enjoys beating women and has some mental problems related to his childhood. Many people didn't like it because of that. But to me it was an interesting read. I think there are many couples like that in the world (unfortunately I might add). As for the BDSM part, Grey doesn't seem to be a real Dom. He's into BDSM because he likes hurting women, and not because he's very found of this lifestyle. Actually he doesn't even know another lifestyle in order to be able to make a choice or a comparison. There are many readers who said that the book gives a bad example to girls and so on.. But hey, it's fiction...and it's aimed at people who are over 18. A novel doesn't always have to hold moral messages (if you believe that, than de Sade (who lived in the 18th century) is definitely not for you)

Courtney | August 14, 2012 at 7:08 PM

This book is basically Twilight, 12-year-old fanfiction. It's HORRIBLE. Reading through it, I saw countless times where she used words that she probably did not understand the meaning of and only used them to make her look smart. Oh my god. If you want to read good porn, then you could LITERALLY find better porn on the internet.

rosannepm | August 16, 2012 at 5:08 PM

This is without a doubt the worst book I have ever read. The fact that this book made it to the New York Times Best Seller list is a sad commentary on our society. The female character was one of the dumbest women I've ever seen in a modern day book. The sadistic male character was actually more likable and how disgusting is that? I literally got nauseated during much of the book. "Later's baby?" I suffered through the sex scenes in desperate search of some semblance of a plot. Are women so desperate that they would tolerate anything for an orgasm? There a billions of hungry people all over this planet and this author is going to get rich off this scum. What a tragedy that is. Then I guess she will have a Niemen Marcus wardrobe, Jimmy Choo shoes, Macbook pro, an Ipad, ipod, private jet, yacht, penthouse apartment etc that her character does as this is what she actually values. How sad the decline in Western civilization that this is what it values. I got this book free from the public library via Kindle not knowing what it was about just that it was "popular". Disgusted that this is "popular" summer reading.

Billy Boy SA | August 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Well, I have read many comments above about the books, and I must say that, not having read them, I have other interests. Having been married for 15 years, and with children, our sex life has become mundane and erratic. Noew that my wife has started reading the first of the Trilogy, I am truly hoping that it will put a spark back into our sexual relationship. There are insufficient books that relate sexuality from different angles to the sexes, that may create a more varied perspective on how to keep marital sex exciting to both parties. I often hear "the boys" speak of their irritation at the infrequency of sex in their marital relationships, whilst I hear "the girls" speak of the fact that the men are never satisfied with what they get. Well, as a red-blooded male, my sex drive is as strong as ever at age 42, so how exactly does a man "contain" himself if he is merely to fiy into "her sexual regimen?" If it were not for the fact that I regularly "take matters into my own hands," I would be another statistic - An unfaithful "bastard husband" that has cheated on his wife. I just wonder if the wives ever look back at the number of times the willing husband was seeking greater sexual intimacy, whilst she just brushed him off. I sincerely hope that the book(s) just happen to strike a nerve or two, and that this has some positive effect on our sex lives.

I highly commend the writer for having tackled a subject in a manner that seems to at least have managed to get a few tongues wagging amongst the women. Perhaps it will serve to save a few ailing sexual relationships by providing women with a new perspective of what men sometimes want but find themselves unable to explore, to the mutual detriment of both parties. Girls, wake up and realise that your partners want you, want you physically, and that we love you regardless of your personal hang-ups and flaws. If only you women woukld be able to get into our heads, relationships would be so much stronger. My wife is gorgeous, despite the fact that she feels taht she needs to shed a few pounds. I crave her daily, and have her occasionally - It's all just absurd!

Heather | August 22, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Well thanks for your comment Billy Boy. I've had a few comments from men, but not this long.

I'm so happy that you've raised poor body image as a source of sexual insecurity. Many women would say that you have hit the nail on the head. Women are bombarded with messages in the media and people that they are not thin enough. If there were more men speaking up about this issue like you just did, I'm sure we would see a spike in many a woman's libido.

Thanks for your comment. Heather

Anonymous | August 27, 2012 at 9:17 PM

I felt that the books were too predictable and that the female
character was inconsistent. I also felt like I was reading pretty woman meets gone with the wind meets sex in the city. Also if you go into BDSM chat rooms it is almost word for word what you read in there. The author admits she did her research mostly online.
I shudder to think the agony this girl would have been in to
lose her virginity that way. It was horrific!

Anonymous | August 28, 2012 at 8:27 AM

I must be missing the point somewhere. I would award 50 shades first prize head and shoulders above any book I have read (which must be in the 1000s by now)for being poorly written and researched and I've never come across such a submissive dominant before. I am totally surprised that anyone would take this book seriously on any level. Maybe I'm going to wake up and find I've been dreaming. After finishing it last night I immediately walked into my kitchen, opened my flip top bin and tossed it in with the rest of the rubbish.

Anonymous | September 6, 2012 at 10:56 AM

A friend lent it to me.
I am glad I did not pay for it.
It is the worst drivel I have ever read.
I forced myself to read to the end to be fair to the author....I should have spared my brain cells!
It sends so many wrong messages that I am still in shock! Apparently having money and being good looking allows you to be an abuser, stalker and be reward for it with a brainless partner.
The "heroine" gives women worldwide a bad name!

Anonymous | September 19, 2012 at 9:00 PM

No, all women would not want to have a Christian Grey -- an abusive stalker -- in their lives. And if all men read this book and thought that was what women wanted, we'd be back to living in the 19th century. How can anyone think this sort of thing is erotic? It's abuse.

Anonymous | October 9, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Ever tried looking under your lashes at someone? Makes you look like a weirdo - try it. James latches onto a phrase and likes it so much she repeats it ad nauseam - it annoyed the hell out of me. You want a good trilogy try the Millennium Trilogy, it's got sex, intrigue and it's very well written even though it's been translated from the Swedish. But credit where it's due, she found a need in the book market and filled it and it has paid handsomely, I think of lot of nay-sayers are secretly wishing they'd thought of it, done it, first. I just feel sorry for her children....I hope they're not still at school. Can you just imagine????????

lilolme1970 | October 19, 2012 at 9:53 PM

I have to admit that I feel like the minority when I say that I didn't care for the book. I didnt feel it was greatly written like everyone else, and I don't care for S&M, I think it's abuse.

Anonymous | November 14, 2012 at 7:22 AM

This is an atrociously-written wank-fest, which should be titled '50 Shades of Grim'. Boring, predictable, vacuous. Much better written erotica widely available if that's what you're after. It's obviously the result of strategic marketing rather of any literary or erotic value. So it's an e-book, and your point is?

Unknown | November 25, 2012 at 10:21 PM

I read 50 shades when it was originally fanfic, I'm still surprised it got such a large following because there really are a lot of other writers on that site that blow her writing out of the water and that's all up for free to read! Ah well we all like different things. Has anyone heard of or read that new ebook "fallen crown?" It's all I'm hearing about lately but I'm a little skeptical about buying it just yet I'm going to get it off my friends kindle first

Anonymous | December 1, 2012 at 10:35 PM

I apologize on behalf of all women for the atrocity that is this book and I hope that the people reading it will have the common sense to know that THIS IS NOT WHAT WOMEN WANT/HOW MEN SHOULD ACT.

And I apologize to the BDSM community because the fan won't (because that is what E.L. James is, a fan, and NOT an author). I apologize on the way she has depicted BDSM as 1)abusive, 2)something to be "cured" 3)a result of a traumatic childhood.

If this book teaches ANYTHING, it is what NOT to do, in any circumstance, EVER. Anastasia Steele is not a good role model, Christian Grey is an obsessive/possessive abuser, and this book needs to be read. As a guide to what NOT to do.

Anonymous | December 19, 2012 at 7:29 PM

I wouldn't want a Christian Grey, nor did I ever envision myself getting into such a book series, but...I had to see it through the entire trilogy to know that he'd evolved and that she had changed him. Is the writing intellectual? No. But is it satisfying in the same way that junk food satisfies a craving? Yes. I was relieved that this evolved from kinky exploitation and a perverse need rooted in a horrible childhood to a love story.

Charlie K | January 23, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Something is very, BERY wrong with you if you seriously think that? Product placement? That's these books worst problem, here are some others:
Bad writing
Mary Sue And Gary Stu main characters
ABUSE (especially confusing ABUSE and BDSM)
Extremely weird racism and sexism
Not a great romance - there's NO character development and we never see them relate in other way than sex (which is poorly written too - repetitive with a lot of anatomy descriptions and reads a lot like a manual, actually).

Heather | January 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM

All of your criticisms have been dealt with in previous comments. Yes, indeed, 50 Shades of Grey is not literature. In fact, the book's shortcomings are what makes it so interesting.

As for product placement, I read to escape everything, and that includes advertising. Besides, we're all entitled to our own opinion. Thanks bery much for your comment.

Anonymous | February 7, 2013 at 3:53 PM

I cannot wrap my mind around this book. I am 17 years old and i am almost done with the first book. I Honestly have a disgusted feeling. It is a good book so far but what the hell?!
Someone Please tell me it gets better?

Heather | February 9, 2013 at 1:15 PM

At 17, I would have had a hard time getting my head around this too. No, the other books are more of the same. I never got through the third installment myself. If you feel disgust that might be a good indication to stop reading. Our sexuality is a tricky avenue to negotiate, even for women in their 30s and 40s. You want the experience to be good, so if you feel disgust it's your instinct telling you to stop. Thanks for your comment. H

Anonymous | February 18, 2013 at 12:51 PM

I laughed out loud when someone above stated that "maturity is the key" when it comes to reading these books. The characters of this book have the most immature attitudes ever!Besides that, you don't need to be mature to read this, as it is written by someone who writes at a high school level (at best).
I kind of found this book to be somewhat of a disgrace to the BDSM community. I am not part of that community, but am educated about it, and felt that EL James portrayed "kink" in a way that was extremely damaging. Anyone who does any research at all on the subject knows that people don't enjoy kink simply for the reason that they were abused or damaged in some other way. For lots of people in the scene, it is most certainly not a flaw that needs to be fixed, but a lifestyle that is normal to them. The BDSM community as a whole has been reported as being a group of (often above-average in intellect) human beings who are strongly satisfied with their lives in the lifestyle. I think people living the lifestyle every day would laugh at the thought that they needed to be "fixed" or "rescued" from what they're doing. It's a lifestyle choice, and is perfectly normal for those who practice. EL James did the BDSM community a major disservice by not researching the subject upon which she decided to publish a novel, and then by portraying it as something extremely negative and in need of curing.
Sorry, I know this is a rather old forum, but I just read the book and felt like putting in my two cents. :)

Richard Jeanty | March 28, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Sexual Exploits of a Nympho I, II & III by Richard Jeanty is a much better erotic trilogy than 50 Shades of Grey. I don't see what the hoopla is all about.

Unknown | August 13, 2013 at 3:16 AM

Great review!!!!!!!
I am awaiting for the releasing of Fifty shades Movie.and i watch Ian Somerhalder's work it is pretty awesome to see on the screen in 50 Shades Movie

Anonymous | August 28, 2013 at 6:22 AM

Thank you so much for the wonderful book! I finished it a few days ago and cannot get it out of my head. It is pure magic. It was everything I hoped it would be and much more....
Fifty Shades Movie

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