Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

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Well, this seems to be the one that started the craze. I’ll admit, it started it for me as well. I have read this book multiple times (and I do mean multiple), but decided to go at again so I could write a review prior to the movie coming out. Do I think that one should read the book prior to the movie. Yes, I think that the movie is probably going to leave out things and the sex isn’t going to be as detailed. You are definitely going to get more from the book and I think that the movie is really going to be an enhancement to what we’ve already read.

Book #1 in the series will introduce you to Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. The book is told through Ana’s POV and we are first introduced to Ana as she is preparing to interview Christian for the University’s newspaper. Her BFF Kate is actually the editor of the paper and the one who is supposed to be conducting the interview, but she has come down with the flu and needs to send Ana in her place. To say that Ana is a little intimated to be interviewing such an enigma, is an understatement. Once she arrives at his office, all of her fears come in loud and clear. Even though she is intimidated by Christian, she is also very much attracted to him.

Christian is intrigued by Ana the moment that she falls into his office, literally. For him, there is something about her that calls to his dominant side. Once the interview is concluded, Ana believes that she will never see Christian again and Christian can’t get Ana out of his head. So he does what he needs to in order to see her again and tracks her down at her place of employment. Ana is pretty naive, she doesn’t recognize his attraction to her for what it is. She doesn’t see the same beauty in herself that he sees. Eventually he invites her to coffee, just to later warn her away from him, which only confuses Ana more.

I don’t really want to go through every detail in the story, most likely you know most of it anyway, so let’s just hit the important parts. Not only is Ana naive, she is purely innocent. A virgin with very limited sexual experience. Not even masturbation. So when Christian invites her back to his apartment with the hopes of her becoming his next submissive, he is beyond flabbergasted when she reveals this tidbit of information. Flabbergasted, but happy to rid her of her virginity. There is a contract, that is very detailed of his expectations. Ana is very leery of signing the contract, but understands that in order to be with Christian she must be what Christian needs, which is a sub. 

This first book is not my favorite out of the three. I enjoyed it very much, but it is a “getting to know you” type of book. It is more of Christian embracing ideas that NEVER interested him before and Ana really opening up her sexual side to not only benefit Christian, but herself as well. There is a lot of happenings in this book, but it is not difficult to keep up with it. I obviously glossed over or totally left out a lot of detail, but the main premise of the book is Christian wants Ana as his submissive and while Ana wants to be with Christian in a normal relationship, she realizes that they may never exist for her with Christian. 

Here’s the thing, I know that a lot of people criticized this book. Some for the writing and other’s for the false representation of the BDSM lifestyle. As far as the writing. I enjoyed it. Now, I will admit that some of the dialogue seemed to be a bit stuffy. It’s hard to imagine people in their twenties speaking the way that Ana and Christian did at times, but not at all impossible. There were times that Ana is annoying, but I think it’s more of her naivety that’s annoying, more than it is her. As far as the lifestyle, I have no flippin’ clue if it’s accurate, and honestly, I don’t care. I didn’t intend for it to be a guide into the lifestyle. It was written to be intriguing, which it was. I don’t think that this book was written to change literature (although, I do think it changed something), it was written as pure entertainment and that it is.

So, let’s discuss what the book is really about: SEX. E.L. James did a fantastic job writing the sex scenes. There is A LOT of sex in this book. It is white hot and at times, jaw dropping in both good and shocking ways, there is a scene where he removes her tampon (which will not be in the movie), see jaw dropping. With all due respect to the BDSM’rs, Ms. James had to do some sort of research, because the scenes that she comes up with, especially those in the Red Room of Pain are very detailed and if they just came purely from her imagination, then she deserves some sort of an award. There’s a reason why babies were conceived upon their mom’s reading this book. BUT PLEASE DON’T REFER TO IT AS MOMMY PORN. 

There are other characters introduced in this book that is important to the story line. There is Jose, who is a very good friend to Ana. He happens to be attracted to her and would like to explore the idea of a relationship with her, but she isn’t interested in him that way. Christian is not fond of him at all, which has a lot to do with the fact that he is an extremely jealous man, but also because he witnessed Jose forcefully kissing Ana once when she was quite drunk. Kate is Ana’s BFF and roommate. Kate comes from a very wealthy family and finds Christian to be creepy and often warns Ana to be careful around him. Kate begins to date Elliot, who happens to be Christian’s brother. Ray is Ana’s step-father, but in her eyes he is the man who raised her. Carla is her mother and she currently lives in Georgia. Christian’s parents are Grace and Carrick, who are thrilled that Christian has finally found someone. Taylor is the bodyguard/right hand man.

I do love this book, it’s just the next books are much more adventurous. So, if you are just tackling these books, go ahead and buy all three so you can go right into the next one. Trust me, once the way the first book ends, you are going to want to have the second book on hand. I am one who cannot wait for the movie, even though I was super excited when it was going to be Charlie Hunnam. I do hope that it does the book some justice, I know I will probably be disappointed in parts, but the trailers so far have left me wanting.

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THE MOVIE. . .
I’m sure by now you have gone with the masses and have seen this movie. Well, what did you think? This was a movie I was looking so forward to, even though I suspected that I was going to be let down somewhat. So let’s discuss.
As far as looks, I think that Jamie Dornan looks the way I pictured Christian Grey to look (even if a little part of me is still longing for a Charlie Hunnam “Christian”). And even Dakota Johnson, I think that she filled out Ana the way I imagined when I read the book. I’m just talking looks here, not acting ability.

But speaking of acting. I think that Dakota Johnson did a wonderful job with the comedic portions of the film. As far as the more dramatic scenes, she was a little difficult to believe. I hate using the word “stiff”, since it’s been used so much to describe her here, but that’s what I got. I have to give a little, considering this is her first starring role.

Okay, so Jamie Dornan. Well, Lord God Jesus, he was so beautiful to look at. I just didn’t get the command I needed from his Christian Grey. I thought he had some shining moments, but he seemed uncomfortable in some of the more racier scenes.

While their acting wasn’t my fav, I do think that as the series progresses, it will get better between them.

My bigger issues was the sequence of events in the film. I was very frustrated with the way they moved the scenes around. Ana and Christian don’t even have sex in Ana and Kate’s Seattle apartment until book #2, but not here. The “it was nice knowing me” scene, happened in Vancouver. And what was up with moving Kate and Ana, PRIOR to their graduation? That made no sense to me at all.

I know that for readers, the movie version will almost never be as good as the paper version, I get it. I wasn’t expecting an exact replica, but I also think that some things were important to keep authentic for the ones who haven’t read the book yet. For example:
From the very beginning, as the reader, you comprehend Christian’s desire to keep Ana safe. Even after she interviews him and is getting ready to leave, he is concerned with her driving in the rain, but that was left out of the movie. When she and Christian meet to discuss the contract, I was very disappointed that the negotiations took place the Grey House instead of the Heathman. Especially since the meal (in the book) was kind of significant, but in the movie it was glazed over. Anyway, in the book, when Christian walks Ana to her car after they negotiate, he flips about Wanda, again reinforcing his desire to keep Ana safe. In the movie, he walks her to her car and says nothing about Wanda. I was also disappointed with the way her visit to Georgia went. It could be I pictured it wrong when I read the book, but it didn’t pan out the way I felt the book portrayed it. I am looking forward to the second movie, even though it feels that it is forever away, hopefully with E.L. James’ husband taking over as the screenwriter, it will be a little more true to the book. Because let’s face it, Darker is loaded with intensity and I would like to see it play out that way on the big screen.

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