Fifty Shades of Grey by J L James
Book & Movie Review
Book & Movie Review
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When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.
This book is intended for mature audiences.
Published & Release Date: Random House, May 25, 2011
Time and setting: Washington and Oregon
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Heat Level: 4 Scorching Hot Flames
Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns
Warning Spoiler Alert!
Recently I went to see the motion picture, Fifty Shades of Grey and since it was a few years since I read the book, I decided to download the audio version and read/listen to it again. While I know there has been a lot of controversy over the merits of the movie, I feel they did an excellent job of getting the essence of the story told in a very tasteful way. I think one thing most people will agree upon; one either loves this book/movie or hates it.
I am not going to do a synopsis of the story because one would have had to live under a rock for the last several years to not have a good idea of what this book is about. What I want to do today is discuss my feelings regarding the book and the movie.
When I read it the first time, I found the story so compelling that I did not pay much attention to the mechanics of the writing, even though I had read several negative reviews. This time around, I did notice a few of the things that others have mentioned. While there is quite a bit of repetition—lip biting and using the word smirk and so on—it is not enough to take away from this dynamic story. I particularly enjoyed the crisp dialogue between the pair.
Some of the reviews expressed extreme negativity regarding the BDSM scenes, going so far as to say that the only difference between the story and abuse is the fact that Christian is a billionaire. Since reading this book, I have now read quite a few other books with the BDSM component. What these characters do in the ‘red room of pain’ is vastly different from abuse. BDSM is about total control…that is the big difference. In an abusive relationship, it is about anger and a total loss of control.
When Christian uses the belt on Ana, he clearly lets her know that he will give her six lashes, fully expecting her to use the safe word if it is too much for her. He does not understand that Ana has already fallen so much in love with him, that she thinks that if she stops him, he will end their arrangement. Along with that, it is her first time to participate in a full BDSM scene and Ana is far from a submissive who truly wants her Dom to punish her, knowing that he will take care of her when she reaches sub-space. Christian has never explained about sub-space so Ana does not give Christian time to administer this, which would have brought her back down and let her feel his care and concern for her. Christian is so shocked by her reaction that he is paralyzed and does not do what a Dom should do.
Christian does not understand her reaction and why she does not use the safe word. This is his first time with someone who has not been in a BDSM arrangement before, and he did not understand that he should have explained about sub-space. This is a critical piece of information that Ana did not understand. Christian is totally at fault for Ana’s reaction, and while she does not know it, she has already realized that he has no understanding of empathy, which is key to why all this happens. Because Ms. James does not address the component of sub-space, I believe that is the reason she has the BDSM community up in arms. Of course, since I am not in the lifestyle, I can only surmise.
Christian Grey is such a complicated character with so many layers to peel away. I can easily see why it takes three books to tell his story and what a story it is. I have always loved a tortured soul, and Christian is the most tortured soul I have ever come across to say the least. My heart ached for him from the very beginning, even before I knew much of his story. No one could be that much of a control freak and not have deep-seated wounds they want to hide from the world.
Anastasia Steele is one of the most innocence and naïve characters I have ever read of in a contemporary novel, but there is something so endearing about her that I fell in love with her from the beginning. I found her a refreshing change from many of the heroines today, especially in an erotic romance. I realize many will disagree with me, but I loved her subconscious, and especially her inner goddess. They add a bit of much needed humor to this very dark, erotic tale. Yes, on the surface, Ana may appear very biddable, but underneath, she is far from it. In fact, she actually has steel for a backbone. By the way, I feel that Dakota Johnson totally nailed Ana’s character, and she had me glued to the screen from the first scene.
If by chance you have not read Fifty Shades of Grey and now want to after watching the movie, I suggest that you have Fifty Shades Darker at hand, since it picks up where this riveting story ends. Personally, I could not read this book fast enough, and I also consumed the other two books in this series the first time I read them. I am trying to take my time this time around, but without much success. Happy reading!