Fifty Shades of Grey book 1 - erotic fiction by Vintage Books - review by Princessfi

Fifty Shades of Wrong

Although the hype surrounding it may excite you enough to run out to your local bookstore RIGHT NOW, I hope that you will reconsider. If you do read the book, I hope you will consider the fact that it does not accurately portray the BDSM lifestyle or relationships and take it at face value - a romance novel.
Incorrectly portrays BDSM
Boring sex scenes
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review

About author

I thought the author, E.L. James was similar to the author of the Twilight novels, with some kind of fantasy, portrayed through unrealistic novels, even of their genre. She's a middle aged woman and this is her first published novel (followed by Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed). It's funny that I commented on the books being similar to Twilight novels, because as I delved into the internet for reliable information on the author, I found a few sources claiming that she wrote the novel originally as a fan-fiction for Twilight! The similarities are, as I mentioned, apparent. Her writing skills are certainly not up to par with what you would expect from a New York Times Best Seller. Fifty Shades is an incredibly popular novel that has gotten incredible media attention, is flying off the shelves in all kinds of bookstores, including Hustler(!), and even had a skit (making fun of it) on Saturday Night Live.
    • Boring
    • Dull
    • Non-engaging author

Content / Style / Audience

Although possibly an eye opener for readers of "normal" romance novels who haven't delved into the world of BDSM or more kinky reads, Fifty Shades of Grey shows that there is more out there besides Harlequin Romances. However, this book was completely inaccurate in its portrayal of the BDSM lifestyle. I think the book set itself up to appear to have a BDSM-friendly audience, but really it's made for vanilla folks with light-BDSM (at best) fantasies, much like the author seems to have.

I laughed when I saw the novel first pop up in Hustler, flipping through it and scoffing at some of the cheesy lines and sex scenes. Because of this and and the controversy and hype that has surrounded the book since it first came out and became popular, I did avoid picking it up and having a read for quite a while. I did not want to jump on the bandwagon, especially with what little I had seen. But I had hopes maybe I would be proved wrong, so I decided to read it.

The book was not all bad and there will obviously be many readers (and are) who will love the story. The premise of the story is a young college student, Anastasia, who begins interviewing Christian Grey, an entrepreneur. She is an innocent virgin and he a “dominant” desiring a submissive. Of course, as a virgin, Ana knows nothing of the supposed BDSM scene. This book is a detailed story of the sexual experiences that occur between them.

The author describes Ana as an average looking woman who is clumsy, clueless and innocent, and quite comparable to Bella from Twilight. Likewise, Christian is described as a beautiful billionaire, a ladies’ man, who only desires little ol’ Ana, much like Edward from Twilight. She has very poor self-esteem and reflects upon this by the way she describes her roommate as attractive and how guys desire her roommate, making her perfect prey for a guy like Christian.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that the book had been likened to “Mommy porn” by many sources, which definitely seems fitting. (Google SNL “Fifty Shades of Grey” and you will find that the internet is not the only source for this though). Although in the book Christian is teaching Ana all about BDSM, the sex scenes are lacking and even somewhat humorous. The scenes are disappointing for anyone who opened the book hoping for some realistic BDSM play. Likewise, it displays quite an inaccurate portrayal of the lifestyle, as there are many individuals who live lives of BDSM and most would likely tell you it is nothing like this work of fiction. Remarks by Ana about Christian’s desires in the BDSM lifestyle and Christian’s own reasons for delving into it are both irritating to say the least. The story portrays Christian and Ana’s relationship as an obvious abusive one with many “red flags” that should make most anyone run like the wind, but instead the book acts as though those are natural parts of a BDSM relationship. Examples of this are the way he tracks her phone, surprises her in another state by flying there to visit, and even selling her car and buying her a brand new one! (An expensive Audi at that). He tells her how to wear her clothes and her hair, how much she should eat, and they have a generally unbalanced dynamic, even for a BDSM relationship. Control does exist in most BDSM relationships, but certainly not stalking or abuse: these types of relationships are about trust.

The actual sex scenes and writing in general are incredibly poorly written. This is, in my opinion, a nice way to put it. Besides the details of the sex scenes, I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been a journal or fantasy book that the author had kept in high school, much like the way I felt about the Twilight novels. She repeats herself often, both in sex scenes and out. Speaking of the sex scenes, they’re pretty disappointing. Whether or not you open the book looking for BDSM scenes, the scenes are quite lacking. After a couple of times, it seems like the same thing over and over again. It also lacks what you could call “extreme BDSM” with only light elements of the lifestyle. Those involved in vanilla relationships or those who know nothing of BDSM may have been totally wowed, but probably for the wrong reasons.

One good aspect, as I briefly mentioned earlier, was the way that the author used the phrase “inner goddess” to imply correctly that women do have desires and may have fantasies or kinks and different ways to express themselves sexually than the way society may imply is appropriate. And it’s certainly okay for women to express that they have these desires and want them to be fulfilled!
  • Who / How / What
    [ ? ]
    Who might this product be best for? How is it best used? What are the best circumstances or situations for using this product?
    • Couples
    • Moms
    • Women
  • Where
    [ ? ]
    Where / what types of places can this product be used?
    • Home
    • Public
    • Work
  • General
    [ ? ]
    Other tags that are useful and descriptive for this product.
    • Erotica
    • Fiction
    • Humorous


Luckily the book is quite discreet, with a cover and title that don't give much away; it makes for easy reading pretty much anywhere, save for the fact that most people are now aware of the book's title and contents. The book itself is sturdy, a regular ol' paperback, not falling apart at the seams!
    • Discreet cover
    • Soft cover


I wouldn’t suggest buying it or spending your time reading it, as there are many, many other erotic novels worth the money and the time, including other BDSM novels. However, if you’re looking for a normal romance, you might not be disappointed by it. If it weren’t for the hype, I personally think many people wouldn’t have been as disappointed as they were, especially those involved in the BDSM community or at least those who enjoy a good BDSM story.

Sure, there were a couple lines or scenes that got me a little turned-on, but nothing near other stories I’ve read in books or even online by unpublished authors. I am curious if the other books will be of the same nature. I personally found the abusive relationship condescending and offensive. I would not have been happy if I were Ana, but offended and would have stood up for myself. It seemed unnatural to me that it just so “happened” to be some rich, gorgeous guy who was so into becoming her dominant and “treating her like a princess” (though really, he abused her). It was certainly NOT inspiring in any way.
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Do you like this review?
  • potstickers
    Thanks for this review! I hope everyone realizes this poor excuse for a book needs to be burned.
  • Princessfi
    Agreed! And you are very welcome.
  • K101
    Really nice review! I have heard that a lot -- that this sheds a somewhat negative light on the BDSM world. What a darn shame, especially considering the book is going to be available in hotels now, replacing the bible. I kinda think that's a bad idea to have this book so out there since so many people are totally getting the wrong idea of what BDSM is. I suppose it's different for everybody, but people are not exactly happy with how it's portraying the lifestyle, just as you said. So that does worry me. I wonder if the author had any experience prior to writing this, or perhaps they have a negative outlook on BDSM themselves and therefore, people are seeing that when they read this. Either way, I won't be reading it. I'm sad to hear that this was an all-hype based kind of book. It really turns me off about the whole abuse thing. Ick!
  • Vii
    I think the only positive outcome of this novel is that more people are exploring their sexuality, although it's probably not a good idea to follow the book's example.
  • Princessfi
    I agree with the both of you thoroughly! I doubt she had any experienced, based on the content of the book. Maybe she got manhandled or spanked a couple of times and thinks that's BDSM?

    And totally - like I said, opening women's eyes to that is a great thing in my eyes, especially as an erotic writer (not published - for fun)
  • Princessfi
    I agree with the both of you thoroughly! I doubt she had any experienced, based on the content of the book. Maybe she got manhandled or spanked a couple of times and thinks that's BDSM?

    And totally - like I said, opening women's eyes to that is a great thing in my eyes, especially as an erotic writer (not published - for fun)
  • Mascara
    I love this book
  • Jujubee
  • Sureshot
    Thanks for the review! As a bona fide twilight detractor, I now have a reason to not read these as well!
  • dirtygrrrl
    Crappy book and crappy writing There are way better books out there
  • Princessfi
    Thank you!
  • heather-mooney
    thanks, great review
  • hybridinsurge
    Thanks for the review.
  • MissBean
    Thank you for this review!!! I can't begin to express how many times a day I have to explain to someone why this is not a good example of erotic literature, or just literature in general.
  • Princessfi
    Thank you guys so much!
  • Passionate Mandi
    Thanks for your review!
  • dsumrow1
  • EdenUser
    Thanks for your review!
  • Princessfi
    Thanks for reading x
  • Terri69
    Great review! Thanks!
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