I read 50 Shades of Grey several months ago. And I did not read it, because I’m a pervert (though I do not disclaim being a pervert — LOL!). I actually read it, because everywhere I looked and listened, I could not seem to get away from that very intrusive title…that title that seemed to somehow find its way into conversations and discussions.
The story was a huge hit, and no one could dispute that. The author of this mega literary hit, E.L. James, no doubt, knocked the ball out of the park! She achieved the very same literary success that I am currently trying to achieve. So I wanted to know how she did it.
First, I researched the title. I found out, strangely enough, that the original story was written as fan fiction for the movie Twilight. And if you watch the movie and / or read the book, you can clearly see some interesting parallels between certain characters in both stories. Okay, so the writer created an X-rated version of Twilight, and the snowball rolled downhill from there, getting bigger and bigger, until it hit the reading public, leaving all of us feeling all but cold, wet, and shivering…probably more like hot, wet, and sticky!
Next came the hard part, reading the novel without getting a boner or two. Geez! This was the first full-length erotic writing I ever brought myself to finish. Sure, there was enough filth in that novel to possibly make even Paris Hilton blush. And God forbid the person who suggested the book to anyone in their Sunday school class (if lightning didn’t come down and strike the person then and there, turning them into Sunday lunch!).
But the story, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, is very alluring. A huge reason for this is because of James’s ability to craft such wonderful characters, whether from her own imagination or just mimicking certain characters from the Twilight story. We have Anastasia Steele, a love-starved virgin; who meets a mega billionaire, Christian Grey, who is normally very stand-offish to most individuals he meets. But somehow, he finds himself drawn to her and pursues her relentlessly. He draws her into an extremely lustful existence, but she finds herself wanting more and more from him. He seems to hint that he can give her more, so long as she is willing to give in to his wild and extreme lifestyle of kinkiness so bizarre that he has her sign a non-disclosure agreement to not reveal anything about it.
Yes, 50 Shades is a love story that has no love shared between the characters, at least not mutually anyway.
I’ve probably already revealed too much about the story already for those who have not yet read the book and may or may not have been planning to do so. So I will go ahead and conclude this review.
My wife and I just recently went to see the movie for our 14th Anniversary. I have to say that the movie was laughable when compared to the book. Not because of any particular actor or director’s ability to perform their craft with the utmost precision (Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson did an amazing job of acting out the characters of Anastasia and Christian respectively!); but mainly because of the fact that there were so many deeds and misdeeds left out of the movie that had blatantly stood up between the pages of the book like an Irish hard-on in the middle of an English church sermon! It is clear that the makers of this film wanted to maintain an R-rating. In order to make this film exactly as it was in the book would create another type of movie altogether…a porno film!
I personally liked the film better than the book due to my Christian sensibilities (though I’m sure some of you are questioning that sensibility being that I read the book in the first place, knowing that it was extremely erotic!). If I felt as though I needed a bath after watching the film, then I certainly would have needed to be carbonized like Han Solo after reading the book! I strictly read the book as homework to see how the writer had managed to become so successful with it. I learned she did it through witty characterization and through lavish use of sexual content. After all, sex sells in today’s entertainment industry, be it movies or reading!
I’ve even decided to seriously consider using erotic scenes in An Interstate Ghost Story: The Girl on the Highway, the novel I am currently writing. But it was written in honor of the American state trooper. So I will only do so if it can be done in a manner that does not cheapen the honor offered them by this novel’s writing and publication. If I DO decide to do so, it will only be in a couple or a few scenes.
But — back to finishing my review! I give the novel 3.5 out of 5 stars, and the film 4. Fifty Shades of Grey is more or less the love story that never was. I’ve heard that the next two novels have possibly different outcomes. But these are not my types of books to read as I prefer action and horror over romance and eroticism.