by: E. L. James
Review by: Alex Frank
Anastasia Steele is asked by her friend, Kate Kavanagh, to interview billionaire, Christian Grey, for the college newspaper. As she literally stumbles into his office, Ana believes the interview could only go downhill from there. Christian Grey is handsome, intelligent, and has a very dominating presence. Control freak is written all over his face.
When the interview ends, Ana believes she will probably never speak to Mr. Billionaire again, but she couldn’t be more wrong. The seemingly failed and embarrassing interview sends the two people into an unexpected and untraditional “relationship.”
Only problem, Ana is not what Christian is used to in his “girlfriends.” Will the unlikely duo be able to last when they each want different things out of the “relationship”, and Christian isn’t willing to give as much as Ana wants?
To be clear, this review will not be kind. This review is not going to say how amazing this book is or how E.L. James is a genius. THIS REVIEW is going to tell you how terrible I believe this novel is, and how I can’t believe people actually like this crap. That being said, if you are a fan of the novel please DON’T READ THIS REVIEW. I say that to you in “shouty capitals” because you will probably not like my review or agree with it, so there is no point to read it. I am not writing this to offend anyone, so please save yourself any unnecessary grief or frustration.
This review is purely opinion based as all of my reviews are and you are free to not agree with them. I actually welcome that because everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. But I call my blog frankfiction for a reason. I will be honest, and honesty on my part is not always kind. Thank you and please take the time to read any of my other reviews that may interest you. I appreciate you as a reader and would like to keep you interested in my work. Have a lovely day.
The warning having been given, let the roasting begin.
I have a laundry list of complaints. First off, if Fifty Shades of Grey were an improv show, the rule of three would have been broken fifty times. The characters were always saying words and phrases over and over and over again. In simpler terms, the diction was repetitive. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I had to read, “down there,” “stop biting that lip,” “we aim to please,” and the like. The phrases weren’t even that original or sexy. Once you read it three times, the magic is over. I’m tired of seeing it. Give me something new.
I also hate to be the one to sounds like a total ass by saying this, but the author’s writing style sounds completely uneducated. I am reminded of a quote by Annie Barrows, “Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.” The language is so simple that I felt a middle school student could have written it in their spare time. The author occasionally attempts to throw in some “big words” to sound smart but compared to the rest of the book, she’s not fooling anyone. Looking up words in a thesaurus and throwing them in your book does not make it higher level writing that engrosses the mind (or good for that matter).
Occasionally, the author throws in some enjoyable wit but not often enough. And most of it I thought of myself during their conversations. Their exchanges became predictable. Most of the story is boring and feels like there is no plot. The entire premise of the story is about following the train of thought of one woman battling with whether or not she wants to stay with a controlling, stalker, emotionally distant man. For as much hype as this book has, I thought maybe there would be something dangerous and exciting that happens. Maybe a kidnapping or murder or something. But, no. Maybe that happens in a later novel, but not this one. There is nothing exciting in Fifty Shades of Grey and E. L. James attempts to grip reader to continue to the second book with “the situation” (no joke, that’s what Ana calls it) at the end. No, thanks. Christian can keep his situation. I’ll take my better books.
Sex is really what this book is all about. Let’s be real. So how was the sex? Less than impressive. Other than the language getting old and sex being totally repetitive in description, honestly it’s nothing new. Fans of the novel talk about how the bondage/dominant/submissive thing is supposed to be hot and new. But I don’t think it’s really that new. I don’t need to read Fifty Shades of Grey to have heard about tying people to bedposts, gaging, spanking, or whipping them. We’ve all seen some reference to that in movies or TV shows. Fifty Shades of Grey=nothing new. The book was just able to get a large amount of publicity because that type of sex preference wasn’t the most open topic of discussion. Now it is, but just because people are talking about it doesn’t mean the author discovered something. It was already there.
I had a paragraph written out in this space about why the sex in Fifty Shades of Grey seems unrealistic, but I quite frankly am not an authority on the matter. I have no experience in the department of sex, so I thought it best to leave this aspect alone. If you are interested to see why I wanted to make a comment on how terribly the sex was written, please feel free to read a sexual passage from the book. I believe you will know what I mean. Consider this, if your writing is so bad that you can’t even impress a virgin…what do you really have going for you?
Then there is Ana’s character. The reader is given a woman who is totally innocent in love and hasn’t felt attracted to any man in her whole 23 years of life. What woman has no desire for men until she’s in her 20’s (other than my lovely lesbian and asexual friends of course)? How is that realistic? Suddenly she is set in the path of a kinky billionaire and she throws herself at him. She could have been an interesting character if she would have at least played hard to get, but no she was about as easy as buying Advil over-the-counter. It just doesn’t take much to get her going when she can come apart with one look. Girl, get a grip! You are a person, not a piece of meat. Act like it and respect yourself. Damn.
Ana has also been placed at the center of a classic romance novel where the woman is supposed to change the bad boy she has fallen in love with. She is also the only one who seems to be able to do it. Simply put, Christian Grey describes himself as “fifty shades of fucked up.” Anastasia Steele is the only woman who can fix what’s wrong with him. The perfect material for women readers to sink their teeth into. But not only that, just like any true romance novel, the sexy man drops everything to be with a fairly plain woman who he develops special feelings for. Those special feelings are not explained and instead just magically appear in almost no time at all. I get men and women fall in love, but these two characters hardly know each other. At one point, Ana even makes the comment that Christian would rather have sex than talk, so they don’t exactly spend their time really getting to know each other. It’s all about the sex, and I think that’s just too damn bad. The book could have actually been good with more development, and less spontaneous (not really spontaneous), (seemingly, but not really) hot sex. That just gets old.
And I thought Dear Mr. Knightley was pretty bad…ha!
Now, I will say this. If you all (my wonderful readers) ask me to read the next book or wish for me to read the rest of the series because you think it will change my opinion, I will. But I’m not going to if you don’t ask me. I personally don’t have much of an interest (as I’m sure you can tell by now), but these reviews are for you. I will set aside my differences on this matter if you are so inclined to send me a message.
As always, thank you for your time. Have a beautiful day.
Overall Rating: 1