Sunday, July 1, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "Fifty Shades of Grey"

Fifty Shades of Grey
by E L James
Copyright 2011
Vintage Books
Adult Fiction

After the week I've had, I really need to get back into life and be able to focus on something good.  And I'm happy to say, I read a book recently that I can definitely call GOOD (although there are probably some out there who would disagree.....)

I don't usually read the trendy books (Harry Potter? Nope.  Twilight? Naw.  Hunger Games?  NEVER!)  But I finally broke down and read Fifty Shades of Grey.  I read a review of it somewhere that called it "mommy porn", but I didn't really realize the exact level of the sexual content of the book until I was somewhere in the middle of chapter six.  And maybe it's because I don't usually read romance novels that I was somewhat shocked, but YOWZA!  

Okay, so let me go back to the beginning.  Fifty Shades is about a young soon-to-be college graduate, Anastasia Steele, who meets an up-and-coming business mogul, Christian Grey.  The chemisty between them is instantaneous.  After running into each other on a few occasions, he asks her out.  But the date is anything but typical.  Christian, it turns out, has certain, ummmm......shall I say, proclivities? that soon come to light.    So while Anastasia is overcome by her desire for this man, she is hesitant because of the things he is particularly fond of in the bedroom.  Things related to leather.  And blindfolds.  And paddles.  And chains.

As Anastasia and Christian become closer, the differences between them become more apparent.  The story pulls them closer together and pushes them apart.  The author does a great job of drawing the reader into the relationship of the two main characters, while at the same time throwing in some pretty detailed sex scenes. 

I realize this is going to sound unbelievably cliche' (given the "I-just-read-it-for-the-articles" excuse that guys give when they're caught with a Playboy), but I really enjoyed the story of the emotional drama and tension between the main characters more than the sex stuff.  Anastasia struggles with the idea that in order to have a relationship with Christian, she has to accept things she previously would have deemed unacceptable and she just isn't sure she can do it.  And Christian struggles with the idea of having a relationship that isn't JUST about the sex with someone. 

For my friends who don't watch R-rated movies: Sorry. I just cannot recommend this book to you.  I would definitely rate this book far above an R rating.  There is talk about making it into a movie but, frankly, I'm just not sure how they will do that without having at least an NC-17 rating (maybe lots of dark rooms with the impression of things happening without actually showing it?) 

For everyone else: As long as you are comfortable with sexuality, I can definitely give this one a recommend.  I enjoyed most of it.  My biggest complaints were related more to the believability of the book.  For instance, the story is set in Seattle with the characters supposedly native Washingtonians, but the dialogue occasionally includes words like "bloody", "crikey", and other phrases that no red-blooded American would ever be caught dead saying.  They also at one point eat "biscuits" (crackers).  And the main female character has a strong fascination with tea (Tea?  In Seattle, of all places!)  Do you think the author "might" be British?

It was definitely an enjoyable read, though, and I now have the second two books of this trilogy in my queue at the library.  Four bookmarks from me.

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