I promised myself I would not read these books when they came out. They sparked a lot of media attention and with the exception of Johanna and a few Sydney Sheldon books, I have had no experience with written porn. (As I assumed they would be).
The characters are likable and easily identifiable with – a shy and mousy literature student and a rich and narcissistic billionaire. I’m kidding – just the student is likable. Anastasia Steele. Even from the name I keep thinking “porn”!
The surprise came when the book turned out to be more of a romance story with an overjealous kinky boyfriend than a BDSM book as it was advertised.
The romance between Anastasia and Christian Grey is sweet, dazzling by her innocence and incandescent with desire / need.
She falls in love with him and he falls in lust with her. He needs to dominate her (as he puts it) but all I could see was just a guy showering his girlfriend with gifts while showing her how to please and be pleased in the bedroom. I would say that without the aspect of love from his side, this relationship was more of a luxury escort seeing her rich client.
Why? She did accept a car as a gift from him and even she knows that these gifts come with strings attached to them.
I stopped reading mid-way through and I was startled to discover I knew why the fuss was all about. It’s about meeting expectations of the reader. And E.L. James knew exactly what the target audience was: bored wives, women over 40, housewives with plenty of time on their hands and a tired husband who does not pay attention to them as they needed him to.
50 Shades of Gray offers a great escape from the mundane life (much as any good book would do) while presenting the avid reader with:
- a handsome (super sexy) millionaire
- a horny boyfriend that never seems to get enough
- a lip-biting innocent girlfriend ready to be ravaged by the big bad wolf
- the girlfriend’s origins must be common (see Bella in Twilight)
- the girlfriend must be smart – no-one likes a blonde bimbo as the main character
- the girlfriend’s thoughts must be visible throughout the book (so that the reader can assume them to be their own and let them be pulled in)
- a weak love triangle (Jose, her friend – poses temporarily a threat to the possible relationship between Anastasia and Christian)
- an unforgettable ex (Mrs. Robinson for Christian) that would make the main heroine jealous over an invisible person she cannot fight (see Rebecca)
- a jealous and possessive boyfriend that keeps a woman’s heart fluttering.
- the boyfriend must be classy – with a knowledge of wines, foods, cars and helicopters. He must be well traveled and bedazzle the young maiden with his experience / wealth.
- the boyfriend must have a dark secret that the girlfriend will try to fix (as it is in all human nature) and then she will fail miserably as some people cannot be changed.
- the breakup
As you see, this recipe for romance has been used in many books so far and the only difference between 50 shades and the rest is the descriptive sex scenes. Very descriptive. I would rate them a 10/10 but not being an erotica reader, my vote might be changed in the future when something better comes along.
“Turning to face him, I’m shocked to find he has his erection firmly in his grasp. My mouth drops open. ‘I want you to become well acquainted, on first name terms if you will, with my favorite and most cherished part of my body.'”
Overall Rating: 4/5
Favorite parts: The seduction, the cat and mouse game, the hot sex scenes
Least favorite parts: Christian Gray is too much of a deranged psycho for my liking. Any decent girl would have had a million red alarm signs go out in their minds at the mention of a non-disclosure agreement and signing a contract for sex.