Recap: A bestselling erotica novel that’s taking the female population by storm, Fifty Shades of Grey is, in fact, all it’s cracked up to be. The first book in the adult trilogy tells the story of Anastasia Steele, a naive, inexperienced college student who falls for a multi-millionaire, uber sexual businessman, Christian Grey. They meet when Ana interviews him for her school paper, as a favor to her roommate. But their unlikely chemistry leads to a dominant-submissive sexual relationship that has the two lusting for each other more and more.
For Ana, the kinky and aggressive sex is both frightening, but exciting. And with nothing else to compare it to, she considers his offer to sign a contract to be his Submissive, or Sub. While part of her feels like a sex slave, another part of her just can’t get enough of Christian Grey, who claims and proves to be fifty shades of [messed] up.
Analysis: When people talk about the book — which is the first in a trilogy about Miss Steele and Mr. Grey — the discussion centers on the kinky sex. The book is flying off the shelves, encouraging middle-aged women and housewives everywhere are starting to get their grooves back. But there’s more depth to the story than just sex.
Like any girl would, Ana falls for Grey. The story becomes less about sex and more about her attempt to “change” Christian and get him to open up. It’s what any girl who’s ever dated or liked a “bad boy” hopes to do. So women are reading this book not just to get in the mood, but to see if Ana is the one to finally turn a bad boy into someone good. Can she do it? If she does, there’s hope for us yet! She’s living every woman’s dream — having crazy sex with an older, gorgeous, playful but mysterious man who also happens to be rich.
The author E.L. James is British and began writing the series as Twilight fan fiction, and the Twilight similarities are evident — the controlling boyfriend, the innocent girlfriend, Ana’s nervousness and tendency to bite her lip like Bella. But just because it began as Twilight fan fiction doesn’t mean it should be a turnoff if you’re not a Twilight fan. If anything, the oddball writing is the book’s biggest flaw. James uses dumb phrases repeatedly, “Oh my!” and dictionary words, like bemusing. (Just say confused!) Also, Ana is a college student and doesn’t own her own laptop. Come on, E.L. James. What college student doesn’t have a computer or an email address?
But the sex, love, and lust are more than enough of a reason to look past the silly writing and get in the mood with this book.
MVP: Christian Grey. So complicated, so mysterious, so desirable. He’s every girl’s dream man, and yet, he’s the absolute worst boyfriend. As much as I hate him, I love him — again, a feeling that every woman has felt at one point or another.