People seem to be either loving or hating this book, and I am completely on the fence about. Yes, I did read the whole book and yes I have ordered the next two on Amazon. However, I don't actually know why. I despise the two main characters: Christian Grey, for his unapologetically cocky and superficial way of being, and Anastasia Steele for being so naive, sickly sweet and completely and utterly cringe-worthy. The reality is I don't think there is anything particularly captivating, relatable or realistic about either one of these characters. I feel like the only reason this book is receiving any attention is because women love the idea of Christian Grey, as the wealthy, attractive womaniser he is. I personally find his character completely unrealistic and almost ridiculous because he is such a caricature of himself.
The book tries to convey the idea that both of these characters are mysterious and complex, yet both their backgrounds and stories are completely predictable, which eliminates any possible notion of surprise within the novel. We know that Christian Grey must have had a slightly imperfect upbringing, hence why he refuses to be 'touched' and we can tell from the beginning that Ana is going to be a virgin. None of this comes as a surprise and as I read the 'novel', I kept expecting something shocking or interesting to happen. But it never did.
The 'sex' in the book is unauthentic, embarrassing to read and I think for readers in 2012 it really should not be drawing so much attention. Sex is a natural thing and so I found that reading a book with a few 'kinky' sex scenes in it was nothing controversial.
The only thing that truly shocked me about this book is how badly written it is. The overuse of certain expressions and words was truly nauseating and just embarrassing to read. Some examples of this are:
'ghost of a smile'
Another problem with this book is the fact that the author clearly has no idea as to what a subconscious actually is. Throughout the story, Ana's subconscious is speaking to her as if it is her brain speaking, and Ana's conscious thoughts are the heart. The subconscious and conscious thoughts are both constantly in dialogue with each other. Anyone with any idea as to what a subconscious really is, would realise that this is by no means how our conscious/subconscious thoughts work.
The book comes across as sexist as Christian Grey 'the Dominant' gives Ana 'the Submissive' a list of rules of what she can and cannot do. The problem with this is that it mimics real relationships between women and men in different societies all over the world and so the idea of a woman being dominated by a man comes across as backwards and sexist.
Overall, I hate this novel for what it represents and what it says about society today. It demonstrates no progression in the conflict of gender roles, although there are attempts to portray Ana as independent and strong, yet these are counteracted and diminished by the fact that her life is taken over by a dominating man.
The only reason I shall continue to read the rest of the trilogy (although I am ashamed to actually have purchased these books) is to be able to comment on the hype and laugh at the author's embarrassing narration. It is almost one of those things that is so awful, that it's great.