Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Oh boy how to start this review… I honestly don’t know. Because this book is anything but good. The writing style is horrid, the storyline is shallow at best and yet I devoured all three books in record time. How can something so bad, still be so good? Ironically that’s also the crux of the story in E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.

For those who have been hiding under a rock and don’t know what the story is about, I will start with a short synopsis. The story depicts the relationship between 21-year-old college student Ana Steele and 27-year-old multibillionaire enterprising mogul Christian Grey. It all starts when Ana’s best friend Kate gets a nasty case of the flu, leaving Ana to visit Mr. Grey for an interview for the student paper. After that first meeting Ana’s world is turned upside down. She finds herself falling in love with the dark and mysterious Mr. Grey who claims he is not much of a ‘hearts and flowers’ kind of guy. He couldn’t be any more right: Mr. Grey is into BDSM and likes it rough to put it mildly. Yet, even when Ana finds out she is more than intrigued and agrees to trying to be in this relationship. The catch is: she’s never been in a relationship before and what’s more: she’s a virgin…

From that moment, a whirlwind of situations occur. All within the time span of a few months, Ana goes from losing her virginity, to walking out on her first love, to going back to him, nearly getting molested by some other guy and nearly losing her now returned lover in an accident to being kidnapped, getting married and having an unplanned child, and ends up living happily ever after. (though not exactly in that order).

Hm. The storyline is shaky at best. The course of events are unrealistic. The development of the relationship between Ana and Christian is frustrating and apart from Ana not a single character is given enough space to be fully developed. The language is repetitive and annoying. There are mistakes in the storyline. And after the first book the explicit sex scenes which the books are famous for become boring. Yes. Boring. Why? Because every single one is played out in the same way. Okay events change, but there’s always the same cycle. And yet…

I was drawn to this book because I heard so many people raving about it. I bought the book in the States, having vaguely heard of its link to a Twilight fanfic called Master of the Universe. In that fanfic, Edward and Bella aren’t vampire and infatuated highschooler but Edward is into BDSM and Bella is his reluctant yet wanton Submissive. I read that fanfic back in 2009 when I first discovered Twilight. I lost track of it when it was moved from to some blog and hadn’t given it much thought. But the fact that these books are by the same author of the fanfic and the story is based on that fanfic and thus on Twilight explains a mighty lot.

Fanfiction isn’t exactly known for it’s high standards of fiction. Yet, it can be highly entertaining. Brainless entertainment. And that’s exactly what these books are. It took me some time to get into it. The writing style put me off for most of the first book and having read Twilight AND the fanfic didn’t help either. It took a while before I forgot about Edward and Bella and got into Ana and Christian. Once I got going though, I couldn’t stop and I literally raced and dropped everything to purchase the second and third book. I finished them in 3 days, despite work. Why? I wanted to know. I wanted to know what is wrong with Christian. I wanted to know what would happen to Ana’s boss and I wanted to know how Ana would cope with all the ridicule this time.

If you want a story that is well-structured, full of characters that you’ll grow to love, and that makes you wonder about the more intriguing parts of life, than this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a story that is a breeze to read, always pushing you to read one more chapter and is like a soap opera but in a paper version, than go ahead and delve into it.

12 responses to “Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey”

  1. Could not agree more with this review.. I had the same thing happen to me – could not stop once I got started.. But I have to admit, by the time I got to the 3rd book, I was having such a hard time – that writing was just so disastrous!! It was an effort to read! But the best part about these books is all the parodies and blogs dedicated to reviewing these books.. The ones with gifs never fails to amuse me! And the parody “50 shames of earl grey” is too funny!

    • Will have to check out those parodies! And you’re right: the third book is tedious. It gets better once Christian fesses up about things but that’s near the end.

  2. I’m still reading Maaike (it’s been on my bookshelf for months and I started it once but I haven’t found the time to continue) , but so far I definitely agree with you. There’s not much to the story and the style is basically non-existent

  3. Boeketreeks dus met veel seks en vooral een goede marketing…
    Call me Mr. Unadventurous, but I think I’ll give it a miss this once’ 🙂

Leave a Reply

Powered by