I finally caved and read the Fifty Shades Trilogy after hearing all the hype, both good and bad, so I could determine which team I was on. I warn you, this is a very blunt post with spoilers about the first book (the other two to follow), so stop reading now if you don't want to hear it! I will keep the material PG-13, or R at it's worst. Please keep in mind that these are my opinions and I am entitled to them!
Fifty Shades of Grey
Oh boy, where do I start with this? Anastasia is a typical college girl, 21 I believe, lacking confidence (why play on the self-esteem issues girls have in current society, really?), hasn't found anybody of interest yet, enjoys the company of her friends, and is preparing to graduate. By a stroke of fate, she is coerced into interviewing Christian Grey, who is essentially every 18-year-old's fantasy. Fantastically handsome, disgustingly rich, surprisingly philanthropic, predictably perfect abs, unavoidably large "member", and simply orgasmic based on the reactions of women around him to his ego that's oozing of sexy confidence. The weirdest detail this author dwells on via Ana's mind is his long fingers. What the french toast is that about? It grosses me out every time that pops up in the book. Is this a "you-know-what-big-hands-mean" reference, again skirting back to an 18-year-old's fantasy man? Ugh.
Anyways, Ana is of course flabbergasted by Christian (OK, I can relate to that, I mean my husband is ridiculously sexy and I remember the nerves when first meeting him) and completely in awe of his eyes which seem to change colors of gray with his mood, hence the title of the book. When he starts to pursue her, she doubts his advances and also sees hints of his controlling nature right off the bat. Her BFF Kate recognizes those signs though and is concerned about Ana and I wish I could throw on a cheerleader outfit and scream "RUN, ANA, RUN!" along with Kate because I can see where this is headed. Welcome to Guy-With-Issues-Girl-Wants-To-Fix-Ville. Excuse me while I throw up in my mouth a little.
Christian warns Ana he's no good for her but even that doesn't send her running for the hills, in fact she ends up at his place and he has her sign some sort of zip-lip agreement, where she can't discuss their "arrangement" (because of course he told her outright he doesn't "do" commitment and relationships, why wouldn't she be obsessed with this guy, right?) with anybody. She signs without reading *smacks forehead* and he brings her into a Red Room of Pain, as she begins to call it. Christian is a Dominant in an BDSM world, and has all sorts of contraptions he uses for sexual pleasure. Instead of clubbing him over the head and running for help, Ana hangs around and decides she wants a glimpse of what Christian's hobby is about, and soon it's disclosed that she's a virgin. Talk about a born-freak. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, Christian fore goes the kinky gadgets and takes her virginity, calling it "vanilla"...
Enter huge issue I have with this book...the timeline. Basically, it feels like this chick has known him for a week or two at the most and already she's signing agreements, up for weird sexual encounters, obsessed with the guy falling over herself (literally), and doesn't object to losing her virginity to him? Oh. My. God. *double smack* Where's the chase? And I don't mean stalk-me-for-a-week-and-I'm-yours...WOW (and yes, anything can be hyphenated). He finds out where she lives, tracks her phone, and knows way too much about her magically. With his stinkin-richness, he takes her in helicopter rides, out to expensive meals, and even buys her a brand new car as a "graduation gift". Sheesh. Well, at least he tried in his own way, right? Is this what is wooing women all over the country...some rich fella spoiling someone he wants to dominate? Puh-lease. Give me some substance in a relationship.
After all that nonsense, Christian offers up a contract regarding their sexual relationship and Ana discovers that it's BDSM (I'll admit, I had to Google it to see how far this crap went and man alive this is insane...definitely 18+ OBVIOUSLY, you have to be stark crazy, too) and extremely intense. With him in the Dominant role and herself as the Submissive, she actually considers this heavily. WHAT? There are rules about eating, sleeping, working out, wardrobe, and behavior. My goodness. Now regardless of his striking good looks (according to her fairly ridiculous reaction and near "O" EVERY time she sees him), a contract of that sorts is plain insane and NOW is the time she should be running for the hills. But does she? Nope. She is so infatuated with this guy she actually considers it, but at least she makes notes...no to this, OK to that, compromise this...
She finds out that his introduction into the BDSM world was through a friend of his adopted mother's (his biological mom was a crack whore and her pimp abused him which is why he has a "no touch" rule...yes he has a therapist) when he was 15 years old. Disturbing. His Dominant earns the name "Mrs. Robinson" per Ana and appropriately she is disgusted but it gives her reason to pity Christian, as any person should with that situation.
The main dislike - aside from the poor writing - of this book is the depth of the characters. Christian is obviously a douche about commitment and love, and Ana is completely starstruck by him. I had this problem with the Twilight books too, I don't think it gives an accurate or safe description of love. Control, jealousy, and serious baggage are not safe. I mean, yes, everyone has their issues, but when a contract is presented and it's apparent this guy is a sadistic SOB never mind the safe words and promise not to hurt you physically, that is a huge emotional strain.
And what's with the twice a day sexual encounters? Every time they walk into a room together they get it on and to top it off it never lasts very long. You'd think with his experience he would have some stamina. I know this is supposed to be an erotic novel and it's fantasy, but who wants a horse to be worn out at the first turn of the race?
Another annoyance: the reference she makes to her inner goddess constantly...particularly when she "performs a triple back flip tuck and roll" type deal. How is her inner goddess so athletic when Ana herself trips over everything in sight? Come on. *dares to rolls eyes in defiance of a twitchy palm* If the author had used that line once in the series it would have been fine. Whatever. Great, Ana was excited at one point. But no, she chooses to revive it with a new athletic ability nearly every other chapter. It's old, seriously.
SPOILER ALERT. Ana finally wants a taste of what Christian is about. So, he pulls her into the Red Room, angry as hell and belts her. She doesn't use the safe word but is completely horrified that he would want to hurt her and punish her, and the fact that he needs to do this for pleasure FINALLY sends her running off. I mean thank God! The book ends with her hugging a deflated balloon representing his helicopter. Since there are two more books to the series, I seriously doubt their "relationship" is over.
All in all, I will continue reading just because it's such a prominent topic right now and they're easy reads (I mean the author uses the same descriptions, phrases, and metaphors throughout the entire read...maybe with all the money she's making from the sale of these books she can invest in a flippin' thesaurus); however, I don't like this book. It's the same thing over and over again: his mouth in a grim line, touching his lips, gaping at each other, his carnal instinct, her flushing (her face, not the toilet), looking at her twisting fingers, gasping, hissing, growling, whispering, same description every time for the explicit events...the list goes on and on and on. I have no intention of reading it again (whereas I'm already on my second run through the Hunger Games trilogy in a month) and won't recommend it to anybody. I don't understand the hype of it all, the claims that it will spice up anybody's sex life or cause a "Fifty Shades of Grey" baby boom...but we'll see what the rest of the trilogy holds.
Did you read it? What did you think of it?