* If you’re a fan of Ms James, please don’t read any further as I don’t wish to offend anyone. *
Anastasia is a 21 year old virgin who is finishing up her senior year in college, at the end of which she hopes to get a job at a publishing house. As a favor to her best friend she takes over her assignment of interviewing 27 year old wealthy entrepreneur, Christian Grey. Despite a rather strange and uncomfortable meeting, the two develop an attraction for each other. The problem is for Ana, there is a lot more to the enigmatic Christian than meets the eye and their relationship does not progress smoothly. The question is: can these two make the compromises that are necessary to make this relationship work?
I first reviewed Fifty Shades of Grey for the blog of the library where I worked, when it was first published in 2012. After that, I intended to banish it from my mind, and pretend I never heard of it. So why, you may be asking, am I revisiting it now? Well, with the movie coming out for Valentine’s Day, I recently forced myself to re-read it thinking that maybe I was wrong. Perhaps I was just in the wrong mood when I read it three years ago and was overly harsh. I’m sorry to say, it did nothing to change my mind. No, I’m sticking with my assessment that this is one of the most poorly written, over-hyped books I’ve ever had the misfortune to read. It has nothing to do BDSM or Erotica, as I’ve read other books with these themes and have enjoyed them. My dislike is aimed at the juvenile repetitive writing and overwhelmingly grating characters. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the story behind the trilogy, this originally began as “Twilight” fan fiction. I don’t really get this as it doesn’t remotely resemble Stephenie Meyers books, unless you count that the characters are even more annoying than Bella and Edward. The only positive thing I can say about the book is that it has a lovely cover, and it does move fairly quickly. The latter is due mainly to the fact that about halfway through the book much of it turns into a series of emails between Ana and Christian, thus taking up much of the pages. The plot is boring and predictable, and you can see the “cliffhanger”ending coming a mile a way. The characters are equally dreadful. Ana is incredibly immature, even for her young age. She could give lessons in moaning, whining, vacillating, and being self-centered to Bella, and that’s really saying something. Christian is an emotionally bereft narcissist, and despite his wealth and good looks had me astonished that anyone would be attracted to him. He also has this whole creepy stalker vibe going on. His description as the so-called “Dominant” just isn’t believable. We’re supposed to buy into the fact that he has this incredibly strong, magnetic, and domineering personality, yet he’s completely undone by fairly mundane things like Ana wearing his underwear. Seriously? For a book being billed as erotica, there just isn’t much passion going on between these two. I actually found myself yawning through some of the supposedly steamier scenes. What really drove me crazy though is Ms James’ rather limited and repetitive vocabulary. Words and phrases I NEVER want to hear again:
· “Holy” anything
· “Oh My”
· “Laters Baby”
· “Inner Goddess”
· “My subconscious”
There are probably others that I’ve blocked out. At the rate Ana kept referring to the last two on the list, I was becoming convinced that she was suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder! These words/phrases appeared on practically every single page! What happened to the editor for this book? I honestly cannot think of anyone I could recommend this to. Who knows. Maybe the movie will be better. In the meantime, for anyone who is new to this genre, Fifty Shades of Grey is not the end all and be all of erotic literature. There are so many better authors out there such as: Emma Holly, Sylvia Day, Shayla Black, and Sophie Morgan, just to name a few. Embrace your inner goddess and try some of these!