Okay, so I know I was supposed to write this ages ago but being that women (and men) are still discovering the guilty (or not so guilty) pleasures of these books I figured I still had plenty of time to give an overview of my experience.
For starters, this book is definitely not intended for anyone under 17. In fact, my daughter was seventeen at the time I read the series and I still did not want her to read it. Why? Because this book does and WILL arouse your senses. Anyone who knows me knows that one of my main goals for the past 18 years is to try to maintain my daughter's purity for as long as possible. I'm not saying there are not things or circumstances out in the world that will do this. I am only saying there is a difference between placing your tongue on a battery to get a slight charge and putting a plugged iron in a bathtub of water. At this age a girl's hormones are already going rampant and the last thing I want is an overcharge of hormones. I, like many other moms, prefer my children to concentrate on their friends, careers and then eventually meet that special someone. At that point, I would definitely suggest a good read of the Fifty Shades of Grey series. So, if you haven't figured it out already, I give these books a definite 17+( leaning toward 21) Rating!
Now, let's talk about the writing itself. Fifty Shades of Grey is written in 1st person point of view. We go through the experiences of a young woman named Anastasia Steele who may just remind you of another well known female protagonist from the also highly successful Twilight Series by Stephenie Myer. There is, in fact, a reason for this. Fifty Shades was originally written as a fan fiction book which eventually evolved into carrying a life of its own. Now, E.L. James has been criticized for her lack of inspiring writing and while I have to agree her lack of writing experience shows through each paragraph in her overuse of particular phrases and words I find the story compelling enough to make these deficiencies in her writing minimal. Based on the success of these series of books it is fair to assume thousands of others agree with me. Personally, I find it of great encouragement to newbie writers such as myself when readers are willing to bypass the lack of exceptional writing skills for a great story. After all, writing is a skill that is honed over a lifetime of trial and error. I'm afraid to count how many errors I have overlooked in this blog alone! Ugh!
That brings me to what you have all been waiting for: The Story! (SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!)
In the beginning of the story we are introduced to Anastasia Steele. By her own confession Ana is clumsy and her daily routines are anything less than exciting. She is beautiful(although she does not see it) and has little interest in developing a relationship with the opposite sex although there are several members of the opposite sex that show interest in her. That is until she unenthusiastically agrees to conduct an interview on behalf of her very sick best friend, roommate and college paper journalist Kate. Little did Ana know that an interview with the very handsome and arrogant multi-millionaire Christian Grey would be the beginnings of a very sexually filled emotionally draining yet exciting relationship. For the first time in her life Ana finds herself sexually drawn to a man and he is as equally drawn to her...if not more. As is often the case she develops intense emotions for him but because of his childhood he finds it difficult to connect with women in any other way other than in the roles of Dominant(him) and Submissive(her). Christian is well versed in what it takes to be both a dominant and submissive as his first sexual encounter secretly put him in the much older and much more mature handling of one of his adoptive mother's closest friends. What at first appears to be an intense fettish Ana soon realizes that Christian's "no touching" rules and need for control stems back to a very traumatic childhood experience he suffered while with his birth mother. Ana slowly attempts to help Christian open up but understand when he admits he is "Fifty Shades of Fucked up". Ana believes one of the reasons why her "Fifty Shades" is so conflicted is due to the once inappropriate and current friendship he has with Mrs. Robinson. Although Ana loves her "Fifty" deeply she feels she will never be enough to satisfy his controlling and sadistic needs so at one point (after he spanks her to her limit) decides to leave him. Eventually, after an extremely short breakup they reunite only to find she could have avoided the entire conflict with the "safe word". They were both also miserable without each other. As the story continues, Anastasia demands more independence in her work environment which eventually leads to Christian buying the company and Ana having to teach her sleazy Editor a lesson about sexual harassment. As they later find out an unrevealed history explains his resentment and attempt to ruin their lives. Let's also add a love obsessed ex-submissive, the entertaining personalities of additional family and friends and you have all the ingredients needed for a three book series. You did not really think I would tell you EVERYTHING, did you? What fun is that?!?!
The content of the story is very sexually explicit but not tasteless. In fact, there are women around the world whose husbands, boyfriends and partners are grateful for the effect Fifty Shades of Grey have had on their sex life. The very detailed content has either restarted their libidos or heightened their curiosity to the very exciting world of SnM. Christian Grey goes through great effort to teach Ana and explain everything he is going to do to her as he goes along which makes it very enticing for women and if men were smart...a great learning tool. So if you or your partner are not comfortable with sexuality then these may not be the best books for you. However, if you are open to getting a glimpse of SnM through the erotic experience of a fiction character I would say make yourself a hot cup of cocoa, coffee or any beverage of choice, get comfy, grab the book or your Kindle and get to reading!
Have you already read all the books? One or two? What did you think? What other books/authors would you recommend?