Fifty Shades of Grey book 1 - erotic fiction by Vintage Books - review by Bex1331

This Book Made My Inner Goddess Cry

For someone who isn't a fan of romance novels but likes some good old fashioned erotica this book was a dud. For someone who does like romances this book may entertain but will not stand out. Unfortunately I was hoping this book would help make the BDSM lifestyle more understood but instead it seems to just feed into the stigma that those involved are somehow damaged.
+ Decent sex scenes
+ Holds your attention
+ Emphasizes compromise and communication
- Cliche
- Poor representation of BDSM relationships
- Repetitive writing style
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
Fifty Shades of Grey has become a phenomenon with housewives across the country but unfortunately I'm afraid it does not deserve the hype that surrounds it. It was first published in 2011 by The Writer's Coffee Shop and and penned by the budding author EL James. It is the first in a series of three books chronicling the heroine Anastasia Steele's exploration of BDSM as led by the handsome and very rich Christian Grey. The story of their relationship is unexciting, it's your basic formula for a romance novel, bordering on the cliche, such as can be found in a $6.99 harlequin novel, it's the inclusion of the BDSM component that made this novel stand out on a shelf full of carbon copies. I must admit, I am not a fan of romance novels, although I do enjoy my share of erotica, and I only picked this one up because of all the hype, unfortunately, despite my low expectations I was still disappointed.

When I picked this up I had heard all of the typical hype about how exciting, kinky, and over the top this book is, but if you are looking for serious BDSM erotica, as I expected, you won't find it here. The sex scenes are mostly vanilla, with some minor spanking or holding down. There are only three scenes (plus one very short dream) that take place in what Ana refers to as the "red room of pain" (Christian's dungeon, which by the way is a kinksters dream), and even they are relatively tame. Although some of the scenes were enough to get me a little riled up (which is admittedly pretty easy to do) they don't stand out by any means.

The character development was interesting, and since she only really focused on the two main characters, she was able to spend quite a bit of time focusing on them. Unfortunately I found it really hard to connect with Ana (from whose perspective the story is told) which made it quite difficult to enjoy the story. As the story begins Ana is about to graduate college, yet still has the innocence of a child, or a fluffy kitten. She is a virgin and has never even had an impure thought about another person (no one felt quite right). She is endearingly klutzy and insecure and completely oblivious to the fact that she is beautiful and every guy she meets is vying for her affections. All of this is until she meets Christian Grey, the confident, sexy, multi-zillionaire, who instantly falls in lust with her. It isn't until deeper into their relationship that she learns that he's not so perfect himself and has some serious emotional baggage to contend with.

Can they get past it all to make it work? Does this sound cliche enough yet?
To be fair, I don't love romance novels as I said earlier so I may be a bit more sensitive to the cheesy storyline, but there were some things that I feel would be a problem for any reader.

First, EL James' writing is mediocre at best and repetitive at worst. I thought about counting how many times she uses the words "oh my" to describe practically everything Christian did, but then I realized I couldn't count that high. There's also Christian's long fingers, those pants that hang off his hips just so, and Ana's inner goddess' dancing that all become a bit tiresome after a while.

Worse than this is the way that the author handles the BDSM themes. Before reading the book I was glad that it was at least getting the word out there about alternative lifestyles but after reading it I am sincerely disappointed to hear that people are actually getting their information from this. EL James writes as though BDSM is not only the secret life of a wealthy business man but also the byproduct of his tragic youth. Christian is treated as damaged, as though there must be something wrong with him for enjoying this lifestyle. It is even said that he treats it as a therapy and there is no discussion as to healthy ways to enjoy the joys of dominance and submission. Instead of opening doors to a new lifestyle for people she instead plays into the typical stereotypes that surround it.

Despite this the book does have it's good points, the topics of discussion and compromise are discussed thoroughly which are obviously important in any BDSM relationship (or any relationship at all for that matter). The author also does a decently good job at describing what it is like for Ana, a woman discovering this whole lifestyle she never knew existed. I feel like this is part of why the book sells so well, because this is something many people can relate to. Unfortunately she approaches it with fear and judgement, then compromises all of these beliefs putting herself in increasingly uncomfortable situations simply because of the lust Christian awakens in her. Not exactly the best role model.

Overall, I don't think this book is worth reading if you're looking for anything innovative or sensational, but if you are looking for a simple run of the mill romance it actually isn't bad. Something about it was able to keep me hooked, I think the book would actually do much better if it wasn't for all the hype building it up to be so much more sensational than it is.

Also a spoiler free note on the ending: it sucks, don't finish it without having the second book nearby to continue reading, I bought all three at once so stay tuned for my next two reviews!
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My Fifty Shades of Grey book 1 tags
  • 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?
    • Bachelor/ bachelorette party
    • Bdsm
  • Where
    [ ? ]
    Where / what types of places can this product be used?
    • Anywhere
This review was edited by
  • Woman China Woman China
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  • Edited reviews: 351
  • BbyL<3ve
    thanks for the review, i really need to get this book now!!!
  • calliope
    love the title thanks
  • Undecided
    Thanks for the review
  • Love Perpetua
    Great review, can't wait to read the next two!
  • jaybaybay79
    Loved the story, but the writing was definitely substandard.
  • smlove
    Very thankful for all the honest reviews this book is getting.
  • duff
    very useful
    but ima pass
  • EdenUser
    Thanks for your review!
  • Huff
    Great review, thanks
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