The novel that everyone has been talking about is finally making it onto my site. What is everyone so hyped up about? This novel has received just as much criticism as it has raving reviews. So I’m going to lay it out for any of you who have been wondering what the deal is with this trilogy (yes, there are two more books after 50 shades). E.L. James is a novelist who came out of the woodwork and whose writing has spread across the globe like wildfire. But why?
The main character of the book is Anastasia Steele, a college senior with no sexual experience who works in a hardware store. She is wholesome and innocent and unpretentious. One day her roommate asks her to interview a millionaire entrepreneur named Christian Grey for the school newspaper, and she is shaken by the attraction she feels towards the sexy and intense businessman. When he later appears at her work, she begins to realize that his feelings for her may be more than idle curiosity. Ana doesn’t know what to think of the interest she is getting from Christian, but he soon makes his expectations clear.
For lack of better vocabulary, Christian wants Ana to be his love-slave. She would have to sign a contract agreeing to be his “submissive” partner for a given amount of time, during which he would be given freedom to explore his every sexual whim with her. He will maintain her in every way imaginable during the time period, and she will be rewarded in many ways, both with tangible and “less tangible” rewards.
Ana is at first appalled, then intrigued, then finds herself participating in experiences she never would have dreamed of…Including bondage and Sadism/Masochism and a number of props and sexual toys designed to drive her wild. But can this type of arrangement be enough for her? What if she wants more than a contractual relationship? What if she wants a real boyfriend? And who is Christian Grey, really? He has a dark past which he will not share with her, and he keeps tabs on her with a vigilance that some people would consider psychotic. Yet she finds herself drawn to him.
The criticisms of the book usually mention the limited vocabulary used, the less than impressive writing of the author, and in large part, the generally unhealthy nature of the relationship between the two main characters that many would consider less than ideal in the realm of romance. This is all true. However, there is more to this novel if you stretch your point of view a little.
First, love is not always healthy, and sexual obsession isn’t always healthy, either. This book portrays a darker side of human relationships and doesn’t pretend to be a flowery boy meets girl and baby makes three kind of story. Second, this book is mainly about sex, and not the romantic walks on the beach kind of sex-the kind of sex that involves battery operated toys and riding crops-are we really going to criticize it on a literary level? Because frankly, I have yet to read erotic literature that I would deem an amazing example of language and writing style. (If you know of a novel or author, please don’t hesitate to post it in a comment on this page). So this book is about a man and woman who have a less than ideal and slightly unhealthy relationship, who like to have kinky sex and are working out the rougher edges of an unorthodox relationship. It is what it is. If you think you would like to read it yourself, be sure to pick up Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and decide for yourself if it’s worth reading-the rest of the world seems to have broken into a love/hate segregation.