I'm gonna be honest ... the only reason I picked this book up is because it's so controversial and I can't be left out of the discussion. I have to know what everyone is talking about. So I picked it up. Oh, and this review may contain spoilers ... you've been warned!!
I was fully prepared to be completely disgusted and disappointed in Fifty Shades of Grey ... it didn't turn out that way. It's actually a really good story. There are two (well, more than two, but I'm just going to talk about two) misconceptions in the book and I wanted to cover and dismiss those real quick and get it out of the way.
1. This book is NOTHING like Twilight ... it's similar to the fan fiction that was written ... very similar in places. Some people wrote in their reviews about Twilight and insinuate that this is so much like it that I was kind of expecting some sparkly dudes and that never happened.
2. adverbSEXnounSEXadjectiveSEXnounSEXverbSEX ... there isn't sex on every single page, it just isn't in the book like that. Yes, there are some sex scenes (quite a few) ... but I didn't think that there were more than any random romance novel. It's not even dirtier (which is what I expected since I've never read "erotica" before) than a regular romance novel.
So ... 50 Shades of Grey ... crazy good book. I didn't think that it would really capture my attention. I had my Nook in my hand, ready to chunk it at the wall when FSOG got out of hand. But I didn't have to do that. Eventually, I lowered my hand down from the launch position and had a "my precious" type of situation going on - no one was going to touch my Nook or separate me from FSOG. Finally, after seeing myself in the mirror with crazy hair, unwashed clothes and a gaunt face due to not eating, I released my hold on the book. Just kidding ... that didn't happen, but that's what it felt like.
James is an interesting writer - let's talk about the two main characters for a moment.
Ana's character is sassy and spunky ... but at first, only in emails to Christian. Ana would lose her voice when around Christian (ladies, we've all known a man that has just taken our breath away and made it difficult to function around him), but when she was emailing him, she'd get some cojones and speak her mind. And she'd speak her mind in a way that was hilarious and I could almost see myself typing some of those emails, hitting send and then being freaked out by what I had done. Ana also has some dialogue with the voice in her head (haven't we all heard that little voice telling us to do or not do something?). There were reviews that bashed the author because of the voice in Ana's head and I didn't think that it was weird at all. In my mind, Ana was a pretty typical 21 year old. She's a wholesome college student who works her butt off to finish college, supporting herself and (gasp) a virgin - these days, it feels like a 21 year old virgin is like a mythical creature that no one believes exists.
Christian. His character ... man. He's messed up. Not because of his sexual "needs" but because of his past. That's a little further into the book but James has written it so that you can tell something weird is up with him, you just don't know what. Now, not that I'm saying his "needs" or tendencies aren't messed up - in my mind, they are. But James writes it like she should - Christian is a man who thinks that his taste in the bedroom is completely normal. I think that it would have ruined the book if James had written it so that he was ashamed of himself or trying to hide who he was. Christian is a 27 year old entrepreneur that is confident, suave, demanding and set in his ways. To me, I think that he could have been written a little older and it would have fit him better ... but with Ana's age ... I think that it would have started to get creepy with the male main character being in his 40's.
All in all ... a great story. Here's my challenge to anyone who is on the fence about reading this book. Get it, take it home, read the first 50 pages. If you're not hooked by then ... then put it down. There's no sex in the first 50 pages - James is really just setting up the story at this point. Those first 50 pages is what hooked me. The story line was great, the sex takes a backseat to the "meat" of the story ... no pun intended, by the way.
Will Fifty Shades of Grey convince me to read more erotica? HELL NO. It's just not my genre. But will I read the rest of this trilogy? Hell YES. I'm getting started on the next one right now. Geez ... so glad I picked up a book just so that I could get into the controversy conversation!!