Book Review: ’50 Shades of Grey’ by E.L James

Rating: 2.3/5.0

Read: March 2013

I feel I am very behind the times in reviewing this book, the reason being that I have put off reading it for so long, having heard nothing but negativity about it. I have to say, this review will be much of the same I’m afraid. I managed to read it in about three hours, due to the ease and simplicity of the text and also the general lack of storyline, but more of that later.

The first thing that struck me, and it’s really hard to overlook with the book, is the complete lack of character in Ana, the protagonist. At the beginning she has a small bit of personality, in that she challenges some of Grey’s demands, but that quickly disappears when she realises how good he is in bed. I have had mixed responses to this lack of character, some people find it equally annoying, others say that it allows women the world over to imagine themselves in the position of Ana and therefore makes the text all the more exhilarating. I have to say that I agree with the first, but at the same time I applaud the fact that this book allowed women the world over (the book has sold 65 million copies and been translated into 37 languages) to reconnect with their sexy side and it got people talking about sex, which can only be a good thing.

The literature itself though, is not great, the sentences are clumsy and repetitive, and I soon found myself getting bored with the clunky way that James articulated her characters and plot line. The storyline, apart from being fairly predictable, did very little for me and I found myself reading it intensely quickly. The heroine seems to have little to say for herself, another than repetitions of the words ‘oh crap!’ or references to her inner goddess, making her seem intensely flat and two-dimensional.

Here, I could really go to town on the ins and outs of the text itself, testing just truly how bad it is in a written form, but I feel that would be a little bit harsh. It is not a good book, in my opinion, but as I mentioned before I do applaud the fact that it has got people talking about sex. Lots of the world’s problems (teen pregnancy, sexual assault etc) stem somewhat from lack of information, and the oppression of sexual thoughts and desires. If people now feel that they can talk about such things without feeling ashamed, well I feel that that must be a step in the right direction.

Book Reviews Coming Soon…

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ by E.L James – Just wait to hear what I thought of this one, oh boy…

‘The Queen’s Fool’ by Phillipa Gregory

‘Goodbye To All That’ by Robert Graves

‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ by Salman Rushdie


The first two I have read, so those will be up fairly shortly; the third I am currently reading at the pace of a speeding train because, so far, it’s bloody good! And the fourth is on my ‘re-read’ list and I will be tackling next. It’s quite short, so I doubt it’ll take me very long. Quite a mix, huh?