Shades of Grey Series E. L. James ...a review


E. L. James appears to be an innovator...taking the typical romance novel a whole escalator ride above the normal "vanilla" sex (to use her terminology) that most readers of this genre are familiar. My assumption, as this is not my typical choice in reading material, is that most romance novels do not include "relationships" that incorporate dominant and submissive scenarios. However, my only experience with romance novels is very limited so I can't even say that with confidence.

What I can say is... Marian Keyes is a very good writer of "women's literature". She writes with so much wit that she is easily the only "romance novelist" I've ever truly taken the time to read, and enjoy. She not only creates such wonderful male characters that upon finishing each novel it has been hard for me to say goodbye, she creates a realistic plot that a normal girl might find herself in. I imagine that this would be the goal in this type of novel. However, my limited experiences have instead introduced me to seriously outlandish stories and characters that are so completely unrealistic and unbelievable, they are not worth my time. Plus, I don't typically read novels for the kind of pleasure they are believed to evoke.

E. L. James is not a horrible writer. She might actually be another standout in the genre. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few occasions in which I had to pick up the dictionary to clarify word use. Admittedly, I wouldn't have expected this since most people are not picking up books like this to elevate their vocabulary.

Fifty Shades of Grey -book 1 of the series- began so completely promising that I thought I had seriously been missing out on a whole genre of literature, let alone a subculture of our society, but as the relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey developed throughout the series, I couldn't help but question how unrealistic their match was. Maybe it is because I could never, ever, ever, envision myself in a relationship where a man told me: when to eat, how to dress, when to drive, when I could work, when and how I spent time with friends, and in general, how to act- just to show how much he "cared" for me.

In the first book, "Fifty" or Christian Grey, appeared as this dark, but charming; successful but not snobbish; motivated, but not unkind man...an intriguing character. As the series progressed his quirks became more prominent and his need to control Ana became more annoying. It seemed as if his only good qualities left were his looks, his money, and his um...sexual prowess, which supposedly-at least with the first two, Ana was not interested in.

His controlling behaviors always caused a fight while Ana supposedly fought for her independence with each battle. But really, each argument ended with her apologizing for doing something that she knew he wouldn't "approve" of. Please. By the end of the series I wanted to roll my eyes in hopes that someone would slap the shit out of me for continuing to read the series. Argue, makeup (wink, wink), argue, makeup, argue, makeup- add in some crazy, completely inauthentic, suspenseful twist- and that is basically the gist of books 2 and 3.

The series could have been one great book. I was disappointed so thoroughly in books 2 and 3, that I began skimming the dirty stuff just to get through it. And yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds. To be fair, as I've mentioned before, this is not my favorite literary genre, and this probably had some influence on my overall opinion.

Read book one...stop there.


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