Book Review: 50 Shades of Grey

I just finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. If you haven’t heard of this book yet, I don’t know where you’ve been! 🙂

It’s been a top selling book since it came out a few months ago and is the number one book for book clubs across America. Part of it’s popularity is sprung from the scandalous content. A young woman, just graduating from college meets a slightly older man who is the epitome of success with his business. He introduces her to his secret of BSDM. That’s pretty much the entire plot right there.

This is not a book I would usually read – just not my typical genre. However, as I am in the writing industry, I make it a point to read the top sellers. Plus, I was intrigued. What about this book is driving the consumers into a frenzy? So I got a copy and read it.

My first impression was not too flattering. I am not impressed with lead female characters who are clumsy, and think they’re not pretty while every male they happen to come into contact with seems to lust after them. It’s a very unrealistic personality, in my opinion. Plus, even the most beautiful women don’t have every man they meet fawning all over them. I can’t explain why, but that little detail is such a pet peeve of mine. (Maybe because that personality was glorified after Twilight came out…)

Moving on. The more I read the book, the more I felt like I was reading a different version of Twilight. Girl meets guy that she is almost obsessively drawn to, he seems equally drawn to her. He reveals his big secret and she can’t tell anyone while their relationship hits all kinds of highs and lows. Just replace the big secret of vampires with BSDM, and there you have it.

While saying this, I must admit that Anastasia’s character came out more as I read the book. In Twilight, I felt Bella’s character was pretty much the same throughout, and I could see Anastasia growing and standing up for herself as the story progressed.

As I’m sure you can tell, I wasn’t keenly impressed with this book. But I have to admit that there was something about it that pulled me in. (And no, it wasn’t just the sex!) The author wrote Christian Grey’s character quite well. I felt he was dynamic and mysterious. EL James did a wonderful job of only giving out little snippets here and there about his past. It was just enough to have me speculating while wishing for more. It’s what kept me flipping the pages, and it helped me understand how Anastasia’s character wanted to be with him.

One respect about this book that is so different from Twilight was that the content is definitely rated R. I’ll admit that I was a little nervous to read it because of the BSDM, but I felt that it was tastefully done and didn’t push the limits. I think the most eyebrow raising aspect of the book was reading through the contract that Christian wanted Anastasia to sign. I learned all kinds of things I didn’t really need to know, but was glad to find that the characters didn’t actually do half of what was listed in the contract.

Of course, this is book one of a trilogy and the ending was definitely a cliff-hanger. I am invested enough in this story to want to finish book two and three.

So quick recap: Overall, I’d say the writing was good, and that I just wish there had been a bit more of a plot with a more original character. I gave it three out of five stars. While it’s not my favorite book, it was worth reading.