Backstory Book Review: 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I heard so much about 50 Shades of Grey that I had already decided I didn’t want to read it. If everyone was reading it, I could get the jist of it from them.

Yeah, right. First, the subject seems to make people unable to articulate what the book is about. It’s an adventure into BDSM. For those who don’t know the acronym: Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, Masochism. And if you don’t know what any of those words mean, go ahead and look them up. I’ll wait.

I had to tell you that to finish the backstory. Four people in the office were reading the book. When I asked what it was about, they just couldn’t seem to form the words to explain it. Maybe the idea of talking about sex at work made them uncomfortable. Maybe I’m just way out there in that aspect of my life. So believe me when I say that when I finally broke down and read it for book club I was kind of… let down.

Let me explain. I read the Sleeping Beauty trilogy by Ann Rice (written under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure). The first book, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, is significantly more graphic than 50 Shades of Grey. If you need a comparison, 50 Shades is a Harlequin Romance novel compared to Sleeping Beauty. When someone was finally able to give me a small hint about 50 Shades, I thought it would be along the same lines. Not really.

50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James

The story is about Anastasia Steele, virgin and student at WSU, meeting Christian Grey, billionaire and BDSM lifestyle veteran. Ana and Christian embark on a sexual journey that makes both of them learn what the word compromise truly means.

Referring to my Sleeping Beauty reference, I gave the book 4 stars because the writing got right to the point. There are some references to other aspects of Ana’s life outside of Christian and provided a good balance considering she did have Harlequin ideas of love and sex. I enjoyed James’ writing style, especially as it pertained to Ana’s frame of mind.

That same writing also left me with a lot of questions about Christian. James tells so much about Ana, but only skims Christian’s surface. It’s almost as if the reader is also a submissive and has to trust James. Hmm. Maybe that’s the point. Or maybe it’s explored in further detail in 50 Shades Darker or 50 Shades Freed (yes, I will read all three books). Maybe I’ll change my rating after I’ve finished the trilogy.

I suggest  everyone with a sex life (or dreams of one) read the book though. If nothing else, it gives you a different perspective than the one you may be used to. And who knows? Maybe it’ll bring a little edge into the bedroom. A few restrains never hurt anyone.

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