Bestseller reviews tend to have a wide range of opinions, but this naughty novel has a polarizing collection of reviews on amazon. Readers either love it or hate it, with a deep breath or a sharp spanking (pun intended).
The story goes: Twenty-one year old Anastasia (Ana), an unworldly college graduate and virginal girl meets the handsome (don’t know what he looks like, but he’s hot, she says so!) Christian Grey, a multibillionaire in which she interviews him, becomes immediately attracted, and asks him if he’s gay. Finding her a turn-on, he cures her virginity with maddening pleasurable sex. He presents her with what he wants of their relationship; he wants to be dominant and her submissive, included with an itemized list of supposedly pleasurable games for his room of pain.
Like any normal girl that can’t resist a good-looking billionaire sex god, she goes for it, but unofficially. After several sexual encounters each with explosive endings and repeats, Christian finally, by Ana’s request, pushes her beyond the physical limits she’s willing to tolerate in the relationship, so she leaves him. For an erotic novel with so many climaxes the ending completely anti-climactic.
For the criticisms, I see them all, from the teenage immaturity of the main character to the repeated writing of the sex badly in need of a thesaurus. For those that dislike the demanding and sadistic man, I have no argument. My biggest criticism is, this is not my genre of first choice. I write and read action, but not that kind of action.
But criticisms aside, let’s be fair to the author. After all, this is a bestseller. People are reading it in droves. Women are reading it, any fellas read this yet? First, the lead character, Ana: What is so terrible about her? She’s young, naïve, and has the kind of insecurity that a predatory man would want. Of course, she is beautiful and thin, but in erotic reading, this is fantasy. If the reader is to fantasize such acts, what should they look like? Thought so.
Second, the bad boy Christian: Is he so terrible? It’s not every day a pervert shows up with an itemized list of his perversions. He’s not a rapist, is monogamous, and presented himself to her exactly how he turned out to be. Honesty in sexual perversion, in rational thinking, is honesty in itself. He reminds me of Patrick in “American Psycho” without the body parts (thank goodness).
If this novel has a message, and I think it does (barely) is that relationships based upon sex have a deleterious effect on the personal lives of the partners. Sex is not love. She wants love. He does not. Another point is one of dominance. When one in a relationship is dominated, she/he tends to believe they control the situation when they don’t. It’s domestic violence wearing a different mask: The mask of permission.
Does this erotic novel give me a fantasy? Yes. This poor couple is mismatched. Ana needs Edward Cullen. Christian needs Lisbeth Salander (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). She could definitely teach him something.
Overall, is this bestseller that bad? No. Is it that good? No. Like most things, it’s somewhere in between. It stands in its genre and leaves enough story open to finish the series. 2 ½ stars to me.