Sarahlynn Lester's Reviews > Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
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's review
Mar 27, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: tuesday-book-club
Read in March, 2012

I'm not yet sure how to rate this one. As a feminist, I have issues with the concept. (In this case: a relationship in which the balance of power is extremely skewed, and where the D/s roleplay both mimics the actual power imbalance AND is not confined to the bedroom but is meant to be in effect at all times.) And as someone who doesn't usually read and enjoy genre romances, I had issues with the writing style. But I did really enjoy reading the book. And while some of it was disturbing, a lot of it was hot. Really hot.

One thing I did NOT have a problem with was the fact that this started out as Twilight fan fiction. The nods to Twilight read like Easter eggs for fans. (Did you catch the scene where Grey buckled Ana into the helicopter? That totally mimicked the scene in Twilight where Edward buckled Bella into the SUV.) But the differences were significant enough - Fifty Shades of Grey contains no vampires or werewolves, for starters - that it doesn't feel like a rip-off or regurgitation.

Also, Twilight is Young Adult fiction and is being read by girls everywhere as a template for the "perfect" romance. Fifty Shades is for adults and about adults. And it's apparently being read by "mummies" who are looking for a bit of erotic escapism. ALSO - and this is huge - as a bit of fan fiction, it really points to the underlying relationship issues with Twilight. Edward is NOT a perfect boyfriend. Edward is a creepy, stalker, control freak. At least in Fifty Shades of Grey, where Christian Grey exhibits many of the same tendencies, they're NAMED and EXPLAINED. And they disturb the heroine. A lot.

Edited to add that I can't really speak for Twilight fans. I did listen to the audiobook of Twilight (the first book in Stephanie Meyer's series) on a road trip so that I'd know what the hype was about. If I'd read the rest of the books, I'm sure I'd have caught more allusions while reading Fifty Shades.
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Ruth Marner Thanks for the review. Since I don't really know anything about 50 Shades or Twilight, I can't really comment.

Ruth Marner A riding crop? Really?? You find that hot?

Sarahlynn Lester Real pain? No. And nor would I really want to spend time with someone as freakishly controlling as Christian Grey. But I didn't take the book very seriously, either. It was total fantasy, which I could enjoy the same way I sometimes enjoy reading about faeries. (The main character, if I recall correctly, didn't really enjoy pain, either. She liked the teasing, but not being hurt.)

Ruth Marner Sarahlynne,
Far be it from me to judge your taste in books. Or, for that matter, your taste in erotic fantasy. It's just that I actually purchased this book. I wanted to see what all the hullabaloo was about. I'm afraid to say that while I could understand some of the appeal, it left me flat. Of course, i kept hoping that the narrator would fall in bed w/a woman! Sans pain! ;-)

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