Noun (informal, derogatory) a genre of erotic fiction designed to appeal to women
EL James has become the bestselling author of all time on Amazon.co.uk, even surpassing JK Rowling. According to the Huffington Post, “the EU director of Kindle, Gordon Willoughby said: “If JK Rowling was the literary phenomenon of the last decade, then EL James looks certain to take that mantle in the current decade.” I’m actually surprised that Willoughby compared EL James to JK Rowling! They are nothing alike, and I’m outraged that this comparison would even be made. I think by the time you have finished reading this review you will understand why.
Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James is an erotic novel that tells the story of Anastasia (Ana) Steele, a college student, and Christian Grey, a successful entrepreneur. The book begins with Anastasia interviewing Christian because her friend is sick. Their encounter is filled with sexual tension, and Ana is sad when she leaves, never to see him again. Low and behold, Christian shows up at the hardware store where Anastasia works, however. Ana tells Christian that her friend would like a photo of him for the article. A photo shoot is arranged, and afterward Christian asks Ana for coffee. The date doesn’t go wonderfully well and Ana phones Christian in a drunken moment later that night. He rescues her from the clutches of another man, and takes her back to his apartment to sleep it off. In the morning, Christian has a proposition for Ana regarding sex; a proposition that requires a contract outlining the rules. The book quickly turns into a porno, hence why the term “mummy porn” has been coined to describe the trilogy (this has also been added to the Collins dictionary). Every single encounter between Christian and Ana involves sex and this is described in graphic, I say it again, GRAPHIC detail. I’m not just talking about vanilla sex, as EL James calls it, but hard core “kinky fuckery.” This includes BDSM content (Bondage/Discipline. Domination/submission. Sadism/Masochism). Will Ana be willing to sign the contract? Will their relationship survive?
You might be wondering at this point, why I even picked the book up. Well, I first heard about Fifty Shades of Grey because it supposedly started off as Twilight fan fiction, called Master of the Universe. I was interested to read Fifty Shades of Grey to see whether there were any similarities between the two. I have to say, in my opinion there are a lot of similarities.
First, Christian and Ana are essentially Edward and Bella in Twilight. Christian is rich, handsome and controlling just like Edward. Ana is clumsy and lacking in self-confidence just like Bella. The whole dynamic of Christian and Ana’s relationship is like Edward and Bella’s relationship too. Both couples are trying to overcome things for love. In Twilight, Edward and Bella try to overcome Edward’s desire for her blood. In Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian and Ana try to overcome Christian’s desire for control in the bedroom. The similarity between the relationships doesn’t stop there. Christian is constantly trying to control what Ana does, hence Christian is the dominant and Ana is the submissive. Ana is obsessed with Christian and lets him boss her around, becoming more and more dependent on him. While Ana does challenge Christian sometimes, she ultimately does what he wants. If he says she can’t see someone, she doesn’t, or if she does, she’s in big trouble. This is too similar to Edward and Bella’s relationship in Twilight. For example, Edward forbids Bella to see Jacob and she doesn’t. When she does sneak out once, she is in huge trouble afterwards. Oh and Ana is a virgin and loses it to Christian, just like Bella loses hers to Edward.
Second, Ana has a best friend named Jose who is in love with her, but she is not in love with him. Christian is jealous of Jose and keeps Ana away from him. This love triangle is very similar to the love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob (Bella’s best friend). Although, I question EL James’ decision to have Jose force himself upon Ana. Although, nothing actually happens, it is a close call. There is no consequence for Jose either. Ana forgets this happens after a few weeks! Jacob is pushy in Twilight and he does forcibly kiss Bella, but that’s about it. Plus, Bella punches Jacob for it. The scene between Ana and Jose was pretty shocking to be honest. Neither books send a good message!
Third, the whole obsession with food is in Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight. Both Christian and Edward are obsessed with making Ana and Bella eat food. When Ana and Bella don’t eat, both Christian and Edward are angry. I thought Twilight would be the only book to pause in the pace of the book to describe, in detail, all the food Bella was eating. I was wrong. Fifty Shades of Grey does it too.
I’m sure there are many more similarities between Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey that could be found. These are just a few to make a point.
Final Verdict: The only reason for reading this book is the sex. If you want to read a porno then read this book.
For the other books in the series see Fifty Shades Darker (Book 2) and Fifty Shades Freed (Book 3)