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February 19, 2024

Fifty Shades of Grey: Book Review

By Lydia Manx

Only Fifty Shades?

Spoiler alert -- there are some things revealed here that may make you either vomit or groan because I gave you information that may ruin your reading -- but honestly, if you are popping in to read this after the book was published four years ago and read world wide along with the other two novels, you already know what the story is about -- end alert.

I freely admit I did not buy the book Fifty Shades of Grey. I was the recipient of it during a 'white elephant' holiday party a few years ago, along with a tasty box of truffles. Nobody wanted to be teased and 'steal' my gift. I laughed along with them and shoved the novel written by E L James onto my "desperate" bookshelf.

As readers, we have books that we set aside and save for a rainy day where we can be totally pulled into another author's world. That is the top shelf. The "desperate" books are those friends send, thinking we might like or must read and generally we disdain until we run out of books. Weather is rough, work is too long and can't get free from life long enough to stop off at your local bookstore and pick up the latest novels or gasp it turns out Amazon is having trouble with all the winter weather and the books you carefully ordered are delayed.

So that was how I found myself reading the trade-sized book. Not snowfall, but lack of time -- I mean, where I live the only 'snow' comes with a lengthy jail sentence along with mandatory rehab. That was another drawback. Trade-size books -- not the drugs stuff -- are the size of some hard-cover books, but with a soft cover like normal paperbacks. They don't easily fit in a purse or oversized pocket, so it is a weekend sort of book rather than lunch time. I started out slowly. I wasn't even sure I would finish the book.

The heroine (as she is portrayed almost with a nod to a gentler time like the those written by the Bronte Sisters or other Gothic writers of that era) is named Anastasia Steele and has been living her life her way when sucked into her roommate's madcap idea to go interview an obscenely wealthy man. Enter Christian Grey, a deliciously tempting man that Ana, as she's called, begins to obsess over quite quickly. (By this point I am groaning, and jumping ahead mentally how I'd have my vampires slay them both even after I get into the bondage boy's notions.) He's a broken man admittedly, and uses a pouty face to let Ana keep up the thought she could find his heart and soul. Then he whips out the 'standard' contract. Yeah, the rich dude has a contract to keep his dark secrets and personal obsessions out of the public.

Here's where it swings out of what I was expecting.

My head is buzzing. How can I possibly agree to all this? And apparently it's for my benefit, to explore my sensuality, my limits-safety-oh, please! I scoff angrily.

Just like that I was pulled in to just see how the train wreck was going to derail.

Anastasia does have her fantasy of what Grey is about, but it keeps going sideways as his wealthy overboard spoiling shows a dark side. The broken anti-hero is quite taken with Miss Steele, but wants her to sign away what seems to be her very soul, not just her pure heart. The rich man does some fun little exploratory ventures trying to sway her.

"Stamina, Miss Steele." He narrows his eyes at me. "I haven't had my fill of you yet. Hold out your hands in front as if you're praying." I blink at him. Praying! Praying for you to go easy on me. I do as I'm told. He takes a cable tie and fastens it around my wrists, tightening the plastic. Holy hell. My eyes fly to his.

He doesn't. That pretty much is the betrayal Ana can't give in to as he doesn't listen to her, but figures he'll be able to shape the lover he needs. The book ends with her walking away, which I found pretty cool, but given there are two more books in the series, I doubt she stays away. The study of how women shape their thoughts to fit their world seems to be part of what the author is weaving through her words. I find she has a very strong literary background but at times it is heavy-handed since I already did my undergrad work in English Literature.

I am not planning on buying the other two books, but it was pointed out to me that there is a library nearby and they would have the novels. But if I get to a library, I would have a wealth of novels and books to savor. Time will tell if I give in and see what happens, and once the movie is on cable for free I'll watch to see how Hollywood twists an already twisted tale.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2015-02-09
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