I have had a new obsession recently. It has been consuming my days, and I have to reluctantly admit that my house is not in the condition that I normally keep it in because of it...
Ok! I am not a big reader, seriously. I pick up the occasional popular book - for example, I have read the entire Harry Potter series, the Twilight Saga, and the occasional Nicholas Sparks romance novel. I am pretty mainstream with my books, for sure. I just hate investing time in a book that ends up thoroughly disappointing me... I have been hurt before (thanks a lot, James Patterson...) so it's hard for me to commit to a book unless I have heard or read a fabulous review from someone I trust. And that is exactly what happened on our 4th of July visit back home, when my sister-in-law let me borrow/insisted that I read the Fifty Shades Trilogy.
I asked her what it was about, and she immediately started explaining it as if it were some crazy porno or something. At first I was pretty disgusted and didn't want to take them, but she insisted that I would like them and she knows me pretty well, so I took them anyway - fully intending to let them sit on my bookshelf and collect dust for a while and then to return them.
But the other day my husband decided to pick up a book. One of his favorites - Streams of Silver, the 5th installment of the Legend of Drizzt books. It is not unlike Lord of the Rings from what I gather. Regardless, I sat bored on the couch while he was reading and kept pestering him while he was trying to focus on it. Finally he suggested that I pick up a book myself. I told him I had nothing to read, and he mentioned the books that his sister had lent to me. I reluctantly agreed that I should at least try to read it - I figured that if things got too weird then I could always return them to her and say that I gave them an honest shot.
And to my surprise, I spent the entire day reading it. Then, I finished all 500+ pages by Day 3. Yeah, it was that good. I am now happily reading the sequel, and am almost finished with it. So for all you skeptics out there, here is my honest review of the first book.
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Forget what others have told you, Fifty Shades is a romance novel, first and foremost. Basically, the book revolves around Ana & Christian. It takes you on a journey right from the start of their relationship and forward from there. To my unexpected and pleasant surprise, there was nothing even remotely erotic at all within the first 100+ pages. It was all sweet, basic beginning relationship stuff. It really allows you to care about the characters before it gets into any of that, so that by the time it finally comes around you actually don't mind so much. And don't be afraid, I know that Fifty Shades has a reputation of being a little risque, but trust me - even with the erotic stuff, it starts out totally normally. After all, Ana is a little naive in things herself, and she is new to all things sexual - she does not dive in head first, and thus neither do we.
Christian Grey is a young, mysterious millionaire business mogul who falls for Ana, an almost-college-graduate majoring in literature. We see things from Ana's point of view - she is the storyteller. She is naive and clumsy at times, but she loves old English literature and breakfast tea - she has an old soul and has never really experienced any of the breath-taking romance that she reads about in her novels. Enter Christian Grey, who is full of surprises and secrets - "Fifty Shades" of secrets - and this romance gets very interesting very quickly. But, you must dismiss all those notions you had in your mind about Mr. Grey being a domineering womanizer. He is incredibly sweet and playful, and at times even reminds me of my own husband. You really learn to love these characters - neither one too perfect, and very easy to relate to.
Fifty Shades is set in the Seattle to Portland area mainly, and the feel of the book really exemplifies that. It takes you there. It's a great book to curl up to with a cup of tea because you almost feel chilly as you imagine the hovering clouds in the sky with every page turn.
E.L. James has only written the Fifty Shades Trilogy, and I may not be an accomplished reader, but I still think it is apparent in her writing that she has little experience. Many phrases are used over and over again to describe things, and sometimes the scene can change dramatically in a very short period of time. The most notable time was when a phone conversation took place randomly, and James went through the process of scripting out everything that was said in the conversation, only to have that paragraph end and the setting change completely without having received any pertinent information from it at all. But beside that, she actually has a fun vocabulary that she uses to its fullest extent, which keeps it interesting despite the sometimes irritating and repetitive phrases. That being said though, be wary - this book has a potty mouth, too, which I honestly could have done without.
I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. Don't get me wrong, I am totally hooked. But the inexperienced writing, the fact that there is so much language, and the occasional spontaneous unnecessary story shifts make me need to dock a star. That partnered with the fact that there is plenty of erotic scenes in the book, some of which make me a little bit uncomfortable at times (A little bit! Nothing unbearable, and all based on their affection for each other). But I am completely in love with the characters and the romantic settings - definitely worth enduring some of the writing flaws.
So give it a shot, and let me know if you do - I would love to hear if you agree or disagree with my review. I have also heard that they are starting pre-production of a Fifty Shades of Grey movie. I am sort of excited for that, but I am worried about who they might cast - right now my hopes are on Alexis Bledel as Ana and Matt Bomer as Christian Grey. If you have read the book, who do you think should star in the movie?
Thanks for dropping by! I'm sure I will have another review for you shortly on Fifty Shades Darker - the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey - which I have almost completed. So stop back in for that!
"Laters, baby." - Mr. Christian Grey
"Laters, baby." - Mr. Christian Grey