I am going to be straight up and admit that I have broken total protocol here. I have a strict rule that I never ever review a book until I have read it to the end but due to the mass hype of this book I felt that I needed to share my views despite only getting 3/4 of the way though it. In case you have been living under a rock for the last few months you would have got the gist of Fifty Shades but I will give you a rundown anyway. Fifty Shades of Grey is a trilogy written by E L James who was inspired by the Twilight series. The book is about 22 year old Anastasia Steele, an innocent graduate who embarks on a torrid affair with Christian Grey, a slightly older gazillionaire. Ana is a virgin in contrast to Grey who is a worldly and mysterious character with a dark past. Before they start their ‘relationship’ he insists that she agrees to be submissive to his demands which includes eating and dressing how he wishes and submitting to a series of BDSM acts. Fifty Shades is basically fan fiction (a term I was unaware of until I came across this book) which is defined as a novel based on characters written by fans of the original work. The first books was self published by E L James last year with Fifty Shades of Darker released a few months later and Fifty Shades of Freed published earlier this year. The first title was picked up by book bloggers and created a huge following and pretty soon it was on the New York’s bestseller’s list. However, it was really when the third part of the book was released last January that Fifty Shades really began to draw attention. I remember it was trending on Twitter for several weeks and I was asking ‘What the hell is Fifty Shades? This led to the books being picked up Arrow with a re-release in April and that was when everyone went wild for Fifty Shades and since then it has been non-stop. To date the book has sold 31 million copies worldwide and is the fastest paperback of all time, outselling the those twee Harry Potter books.
So me being the nosey madam that I am attended the E L James evening where I snapped up a copy of the book. At first I found it a relatively easy read but one thing that stood out was how wooden the characters were. Ana is just meh, dull as dishwater and I cannot warm to her at all. As for Grey, well talk about a befitting name; he is just sinister and not in a good way. For me to enjoy a book I need to have strong feelings about the characters in a book whether they are good, bad or downright mad. Sadly I could not engage with Ana or Grey but still I persevered. Why you may ask? The way I saw it, 31 million people can’t be wrong. I came to the conclusion that it must be me and that I was not concentrating hard enough which is why I was missing the great art in this book. Nevertheless three quarters of the way in I finally threw in the towel. This book is just bad. You know that feeling that you get when you are on your way home and you have a really good book to look forward to. Well that was not the same with Fifty Shades. My main gripe is with the writing. A good story teller is someone who can take you to the scene they are depicting and E L James fails on this count. Descriptive the book may be but it has a really sterile tone to it. I won’t take anything away from E L James’s phenomenal success – I think she has amazing potential as a writer but Fifty Shades of Grey was still at the raw stage and the book needed a lot more development before it was pushed out onto the bookshelves. Also the sex scenes are really not that sexy. There was no sense of passion at all and the BDSM scenes were completely over the top and at times comical. At times I actually laughed out loud. Everywhere I go I see women reading this book and it is just flying off the shelves but I wonder just how many people actually love the book? A lot of people I spoke to admitted that they had skipped quite a few pages – well that’s not really savouring the book as far as I am concerned. I have a feeling that the popularity of the Fifty Shades might be pure hype. Still it’s great to see people talking about books and in an era where people are obsessed with iPads, laptops, digital TV and mobile phones I think it is pretty amazing the way E L James has caught the imagination of women around the world. The ripple effect has been enormous; it’s made erotic fiction more acceptable and no longer a taboo topic and Ann Summers are doing very well out if it. As for me my dip into the world of Fifty Shades was brief and is very much over. Life is just too short and I just have too many other books tor read. I am off to read Bared to You by Sylvia Day.