The ‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy by E L James is what everyone has been talking/tweeting/banging on about. The first book, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has sold over 534,000 copies and has been claimed to have improved sex lives and even ‘saved marriages’. But does it live up to the hype? I think not.
The ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trilogy is an erotic novel told through the mouth of Anastasia Rose Steele, a virgin, as she falls madly in love with multi-billionaire, Christian Grey. There is just one kink in her knight’s metallic armour: his need for sexual domination.
When Ana is first propositioned by the gorgeous CEO, admittedly, the thought of having to sign a contract in order for him to fulfil her sexual desire is, as Ana would put it herself, ‘hot’. Finding out Grey’s dirty sexual secret is enticing. Why doesn’t he like being touched? And visiting the ’Red Room of Pain’ makes you squirm with awkwardness and horror. But you can’t stop until you find out. Reading the words James dared to put on paper feels wrong, embarrassing, naughty… yet intriguing and compelling. Ana even shatters ‘into a thousand pieces’ during her first sexual encounter, vanilla style (sex without any ‘kinky fuckery’). Nicely done Mr Grey.
However, the storyline swiftly becomes a sex diary. That is all they do. Sex. All the time. On the piano, on the billiard table, in bed, in the elevators, in the Red Room of Pain, in public… Sex and orgasms. All the time. The plot hardly thickens. Even when Ana leaves Christian, you have no doubt the couple will rekindle their love.
Sure enough, book two, ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ sees an almost immediate reconciliation. Barely four days have passed and they are back together. Screwing each other. Christian continues to have no limits to the amounts of money he spends. Oh sorry, I must give credit to the slight change. The book is now littered with “I love you”. There is a vague plot dipping in and out of another sexual drama about Ana being sexually harassed by her boss, Jack Hyde… but there is very little excitement there. Christian uses his money to save Ana, the have make up sex blah blah blah.
Development of the storyline appears in book three, ‘Fifty Shades Freed’, where Ana marries Christian. “Husband”, “wife”, “Mr Grey”, “Mrs Grey” now make up a large number of the literature. It’s sappy, dull and unrealistic.
Quite frankly, the whole story line that stretches across the three books is grey. The lack of realism is a real let down. Initially Ana is faced with a challenge: the love of her life is “fifty shades of fucked up”, he likes bondage, he doesn’t like being touched, he doesn’t know how to love. However, Ana gets the gorgeous hunk, gets the money, gets her dream job, orgasms during every sexual encounter (which is more like fifty times a day and less like fifty shades of grey) and her happily ever after is practically given to her with no real struggle or threat.
However, what is alarming is the popularity of a story, which depicts an older man seducing a younger woman with violence and money.
Unfortunately, the trilogy feels like teen-fiction with an overload of graphic sex and no real adventure. The storyline is monotonous, metallic and greatly lacking in colour. After all, no matter what shade, grey is grey. Lets hope the movie
doesn’t disappoint as much as the books. 3 out of 10.