Surely by now you've heard of the steamy book trilogy, “Shades of Grey” by E.L. James, right? The books tell the story of Anastasia Steele, a young girl fresh out of college, who has never had a boyfriend, who meets the stunningly-handsome and quite-filthy-rich Christian Grey. The chemistry between them is obvious from the start- Anastasia finds him gorgeous and smart, and can't imagine why he would ever be interested in someone like her. And Christian finds Anna to be young and beautiful and innocent…. and wonders if she would be interested in pursuing a relationship with him as his “submissive.”
Okay- clearly this isn't your typical boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy marries girl, and they live happily ever after kind of story. No, this is a love story with a decidedly different kind of a twist. Anastasia is very attracted to Christian and definitely wants him to be her “first”…. but she has to contend with the fact that Christian is looking for a very different kind of relationship with her. He does not “do love”… he just does sex. And he enters into relationships with women in a very business-like manner- complete with contracts outlining the limits of what he and she will and won't do (all of the points are up for negotiation of course!). So what's a girl “in lust” to do? THAT'S what the book is about and why I want to share 5 Reasons to Read “50 Shades of Grey”:
1. Anastasia wrestles with the same decision that every girl does in a first relationship…
How much of herself should she give up or change in order to stay with this new boyfriend? Granted, the situation that she is contemplating is quite complicated. She's horrified… yet intrigued. She's appalled with the idea…. yet excited. But to enter into this relationship, she has to examine what it is she values and what she has to give up in terms of what she ideally wants (someone to love her) in order to be with Christian.
Okay- it's not exactly the same as your 10th grade boyfriend wanting you to quit cheerleading in order to spend more time with him….. but the core of the matter is still- what should a girl compromise with herself in order to be in a relationship?
2. You don't have to be personally interested in the “dominant-submissive lifestyle” to enjoy the book!
Okay- I really knew pretty much nothing about dominant/submissive relationships in general before reading this book, (other than in puppy training when I was supposed to be teaching my puppy that I was the boss….. and yes, at this I failed) and even after enjoying the trilogy I still am not personally interested in this as something for my own life…. but that doesn't mean that it wasn't quite interesting to read about!
Personally I love reading about and learning about all kinds of things…. non-fiction stories about climbing Mount Everest, accounts by people who lived during the time of Chairman Mao or the Rwandan genocide…. fiction books about mothers and addiction or women who cheat on their husbands. Just because I read about these topics and enjoy the books does NOT mean that I wish to do any of these things!
Before purchasing”50 Shades of Grey” I read several negative reviews that talked about this book being demeaning to women…. but now I have to wonder- were these reviews written by people that even read the book? The character Anastasia constantly questions whether or not she wants to continue this strange sexual relationship. She is never forced to do anything- she is able to define limits (hard limits, soft limits) in terms of what she is and isn't willing to do. She has “safe words” to use to stop whatever is currently going on entirely. The relationship is defined and consensual. Different, yes. But demeaning? In my opinion, no.
3. Anastasia's character is warm and relatable
One of the things that I loved best about Anastasia was her constant “inner dialogue” as she works through her decision-making about this relationship. Her “Inner Goddess” gives her high-fives, ducks and hides, stretches out on a lounge chair dreamily…. I loved all of these visuals and I loved how it made Anastasia seem supported by her subconscious. And while most of us will never be in the position of contemplating a dominant/submissive relationship contract… watching how Anna talks herself into thinking through it was very entertaining.
I also really loved how Anna seeks to understand Christian but doesn't focus on how she can change him. She doesn't think that “well… if I do this for awhile then maybe he will fall in love with me and we can have a “normal” relationship”. She accepts that he offers what he has to give, and her job is to examine that and decide whether or not it is worth accepting.
4. Christian's character is dark and mysterious
Yeah- even with Christian being all formal and dominating and stuff, as a reader you are not afraid of him. You are intrigued by him and want Anna to keep seeing him…. to find out what she learns about him next. And while, I had many cringe-worthy moments about how his early childhood abandonment led to his unique sexual lifestyle (as an adoptive Mom it was hard at times for me to set aside my own feelings about this part of the storyline), as the trilogy progressed we see that this was just one of several influences that shaped Christian into the person he grew to become.
5. Will she or won't she? Will he or won't he?
You can't put the book down because you just want to know! Will Anastasia sign the relationship contract? Will Christian decide he wants more than just a dominant/submissive relationship with Anna? Is he capable of falling in love? Is she capable of not falling in love with him?
Are you ready for this….. (6 out of 6 stars!)
Now to be honest, I also plowed through and enjoyed the next two books in the series “Fifty Shades Darker” and “Fifty Shades Freed”, but they were not nearly as good or as complex as the first book. However, the first book leaves you with such a cliff-hanger that you immediately dive right into the second book (trust me on this…) to see how it turns out. And now you might as well consider yourself sucked-in and committed because if you read the 2nd one, you'll want to just finish the series!
Think It Should be a Movie?
Then check out these 5 Best “50 Shades of Grey” Movie Trailers created by fans of the series who are also video-editing geniuses! And vote for your favorite!
So have you read “50 Shades of Grey” yet? Are you going to?
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