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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Fifty Shades of Grey" - E L James (Plus "Fifty Shades Darker", "Fifty Shades Freed", and "Grey".

The Fifty Shades of Grey Series by E L James
(Including "Grey")

So... there is a lot of controversy over the Fifty Shades of Grey books. Some people love them, others despise them. Books with this much controversy over them are always a must-read on my list. How can you not read a book that makes people love and hate it so passionately? 

I originally was "dared" to read "Fifty Shades of Grey" and post a review on my blog by an old friend. He thought it would funny to see what I thought of the book. Although I am no longer friends with that person, I still think his idea of reading it and posting my thoughts is a fun idea. 

I originally did not set out to own the Fifty Shades of Grey series, but life is funny. I was traveling through the lower 48 (for people NOT in Alaska that means the rest of United States) and wound up in the Minneapolis airport without a book to read on the LONG flight back to Anchorage. While I was with my parents and son, waiting for our food to be delivered, I popped next door to one of those overpriced kiosk stores. There were about ten different books to choose from. Of the ten, this one looked the most interesting. 

So, remember in the beginning when I said that this book makes people love and hate it passionately? Well, when I returned to the table that my parents were at my Mom instantly had a reaction to the book. She thought it was trash and was poking fun that I was reading it. Honestly, her reaction made me even more curious about it. 

The first book, "Fifty Shades of Grey" starts out with two college students, Katherine Kavanagh and Anastasia Steele, frequently referred to as Ana. The beginning is very slow going. Ana meets Christian Grey in the first chapter, with very little build up to their meeting. Their first meeting itself is written ok, with lots of detail to the surroundings. There are little snippets of sexual tension building, but not much in this first chapter.

The second chapter starts this awkward "school girl crush" communications between Ana and Christian. While it can be cute, and playful, at times it is overall slightly irritating. I feel like Ana doesn't really have the ability to stand up for herself. In much of the book she's portrayed as weak and unsure of herself.

Throughout the rest of the book there are a fair amount of sexual encounters, feisty e-mail banter and some unexpected twists. While there is a potentially good story line in there somewhere, it's pretty much smothered by low-key SBDM. 

The second book, "Fifty Shades Darker" starts out with Christian once again chasing Ana and all but stalking her after her rejection in the first book. While some may see what he does as "sweet" and "protective", others may view Christian's actions as needing a protective order in place.

Once again there is plenty of "school girl crush" symptoms flying, along with the "cute" introduction to SBDM littered throughout the book. You start to learn more about Christian in this book, but much of the story line is still difficult to read through Christian's childish actions and Ana's inability to find her backbone.

The third book, "Fifty Shades Freed" actually took an interesting turn and involved a plot line that makes it further than a condom and bed sheets. There are death threats, lies, suspicions and crazy ex-girlfriends with guns. If I had to pick a favorite from these three, I think that I was most interested in the third book.

The bonus book, "Grey" is essentially the first book rewritten from the viewpoint of Christian. I was very surprised to find that the author, quite frequently, referred to Ana's female parts as "her sex" but has no problem describing the male parts in detail. I would have thought, especially with this book being written from Christian's point of view, that there would be more of a description than "her sex". It almost seems like the author was embarrassed to use another term.

I did think, however, that the author did a good job of expressing Christian's personality in this book. He is frequently bouncing between sex, control, business and avoidance of his past. The author creates this powerful, lustful and somewhat lost character quite well.

Overall, I have a hard time recommending this series to everyone. If you are used to reading "smut" books, as some call it, then this book would irritate you because it's not a very well-written "smut" book.

If you are not used to reading descriptive sexual encounters in books then this book would frighten you and make you blush. If this is you then you should just keep walking past it.

However, if you are interested in reading a book to pass the time, and get the occasional blush color on your cheeks, then this book series is alright. I certainly can't say that it was the best book series I've read, but I can say I have read worse.

One word about reading this series though... If you are uncomfortable with people staring at you I do not recommend reading this in a public place. With the hype surrounding the series I got quite a few odd and disapproving stares.