Fifty Shades of Grey, by EL James
I have a pretty open mind when it comes to popular fiction, so I decided to check out this book. Not really a review, I’ll just write my thoughts as I go. I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum for anyone who hasn’t read it. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that this novel contains pornographic smut, though. That’s something you should be aware of if you are thinking of picking it up. (Edit: In retrospect, it occurs to me that not everyone will agree with my interpretation of what is and what isn’t a spoiler regarding the events in this story; therefore, be warned.)
Chapters 1 to 8 – brief impression
So far, I can’t say I’m that impressed with the love interest, title character Christian Grey. Besides his minimal personality traits of being controlling and mysterious, he’s kinda creepy, isn’t he? Kinda reminds me of Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman character from AMERICAN PSYCHO. Even in the early scene in the hardware store, I could tell what he was getting at with his purchases, and I thought it was creepy. I mean, he and Anastasia hardly know each other, and here he is stalking her and vaguely suggesting that he’s thinking about her sexually. The only thing that makes it okay is that he’s so freaking hot and she happens to be attracted to him too. Had he not been so hot, it would have just been gross, and creepy.
As it is, she doesn’t really know much about him, other than that he’s so hot. This being a book, I just have to literally take the author’s word for it that he’s so hot that nothing else matters, and I’m frankly not that convinced. Actually, neither of the characters has much personality so far. It seems like any chemistry they have is purely physical.
It isn’t all bad, though. Aside from some overused plot devices that I see in anime twice a week, it’s been an easy read and there have certainly been some amusing parts.
Chapters 9 to 16 – brief impression
Well, I’m relieved to see that Anastasia is asserting herself a little bit now. I also like how her subconscious sometimes calls her a “ho”. It appears that she does have some self-awareness about her situation and she’s wondering if a physical-only relationship can really be enough.
Hmm, it looks like she’s going to accept the contract that’s going to sign her freedom and self-respect away. I was hoping she would reject it. Force him to play by her rules. After all, the conceit is supposed to be that she believes (and he believes) that he’s not capable of love, and so this contract is the only way she can be with him. But already I don’t buy it; there has been plenty of evidence to the contrary.
Chapters 17 to 24 – brief impression
In previous chapters, they touched on “creepy” and “stalker”. Now there’s finally some mention of “love”. Otherwise, not much development here.
Chapters 25 to 26 and final impressions
Anastasia makes her decision and it happens pretty suddenly. Well, as anyone knows, it’s not really the end. There are two more books, and their blurbs seem to give a lot away, actually.
Not that that matters, though, since many of the plot developments in this book were heavily foreshadowed anyway. What I mean, is that suspense is not an important element to the story. And while it frustrated me that some things were telegraphed so early on (and Ana was so clueless), I guess I shouldn’t take it so seriously, since the plot exists mainly to justify the porn.
Apparently, some readers have complained about the author’s limited vocabulary. That didn’t really bother me. I didn’t expect, or want, this kind of book to be high art. If I have any criticism, it’s with the dialogue; some of the words/phrases that the characters spoke didn’t sound that natural to me, not American enough, maybe? Just reading it (as opposed to hearing it) wasn’t too bad, though.