**Warning: Spoiler Alerts in this post**
When I first heard of Fifty Shades of Grey, I was immediately intrigued. Being a Danielle Steele reader, I knew this book would be right up my alley. It sounded like a steamier, NC17 version of her books. I am also a pop culture nut. If someone is talking about the latest show or fad, I am on the bandwagon faster than you can snap your fingers. I like to be in the know. I find the show Dancing with the Stars boring, yet I read about the show weekly so I can keep up in water cooler conversations. It really is a sick obsession.
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book. Unlike most women, I was not embarrassed to read it. I had no need to wrap it in a paper bag to hide the cover or act like I had never heard of the book. In fact, I have talked about it a lot, much to the dismay of anyone participating in the conversation. I don’t understand why sex makes people so uncomfortable but that’s another conversation.
I finished the book a few weeks ago. And just like the Twilight series, I am developing a love/hate relationship for the story and its characters. The book is about Anastasia Steele, a young lady on the cusp of graduating college with aspirations of a career in journalism. When her roommate, Kate, the yearbook editor is unable to make an interview with the renowned, elusive multimillionaire Christian Grey, she sends Ana in her place. Ana begrudgingly obliges and heads to Seattle for the interview. It is here she meets Christian Grey, the most beautiful man with deep auburn hair and gray eyes. His beauty mesmerizes and silences everyone that meets him, including Ana. She stutters through the interview, yet impresses Christian. He is as equally mesmerized by Ana, as she is by him.
When Christian invites Ana to stay for a tour after the interview, she politely declines missing a blatant cue that he is interested, which becomes a common theme in the book. Christian stalks Ana throughout the story and is borderline obsessive, yet, Ana is always insecure about his feelings. This insecurity stems from Christian’s dark secret – his need for a dominant/submissive relationship. He entered his first relationship at the age of fifteen as a submissive to a forty-year old woman. While he sees nothing wrong with the fact he was sexually abused, and in fact praises “Mrs. Robinson” for saving him, Ana, as well as myself, is very disturbed by this discovery. After six years as a submissive, he moved on to become a dominant.
Ana wants more out of the relationship. She doesn’t care for the contract outlining rules, such as what she can eat, what clothes she can wear, when she will workout and what she can’t do – make eye contact or touch Christian unless given permission. If she does not follow these rules, she will be punished in the form of spanking, sexual teasing or some other form of torture and pain (but let it be known it won’t leave a mark).
Ana is not a good rule follower and therefore is constantly being threatened by Christian. He gets off on spanking her and while she does too, she doesn’t like it. It confuses her to find pleasure in something that is painful. She wants a normal boyfriend that doesn’t spank as a form of discipline. Seriously, who wouldn’t?
The character development in the story is lacking. The whole time I wanted to know more about the characters. I needed more information to understand their ticks and nuances. What made them who they are today? Because of this lack of character building, the characters became unlikeable. But while I found Ana mildy annoying throughout the book, I did identify with her. I know what its like to want something more in a relationship. It never mattered how much the guy told me he didn’t want anything more. I always chose to ignore it and acted crazy instead. This is exactly what Ana does. She repeatedly asks Christian why he doesn’t want more even though she knows the answer. She cries a lot. She is clingy, confused and a wreck. She is a stereotypical girl facing rejection. And quite frankly, it’s hard to read.
Christian is equally as annoying. He’s stand offish, strict and cold. Plus, his sexual prowess and endurance is unheard of, which is why I think the book should be filed under fantasy instead of fiction. The first time he made Ana come was simply by tweaking her nipples, followed by a vaginal orgasm, in which he simultaneously came. A few minutes later, they are at it again both coming quickly. They do it a lot in the book, and I mean a lot. It really is the allure of the book. While I find this part of the book mildly exaggerated, it was fun to read those parts. After all, the steamy parts are what makes Danielle Steele books so great too – that and the awesome soap opera plots.
The story ends with a cliff hanger. It really is genius to do this because as much as I was underwhelmed by the book itself, I can’t wait to read the next one. I am hoping EL James redeems herself by giving me the information I am craving. I want to know, who is Christian Grey and why is he so crazy?