About a week ago, I came across an article on the NYTimes about “Fifty Shades of Grey“, a book that is the the new viral hit among women in the US. I ignored it as I have ignored many such books. I figured, this too shall pass. A few days ago, NPR carried a story on the book as did THR on movie studios willing to big seven figure numbers for rights to make a movie based on the book. At this point, my interest was fully piqued.
When the Twilight bookswere a rage I gave them a try. I didnt make it past the first 40 pages of the first book. It was boring and kiddish. I am usually OK with the Young Adult approach as long as the plot is engrossing- Harry Potterremains one of my favorite series of books. The Hunger Gameswere a fun read as was Percy Jackson. But the Twilight series was well, just boring. Given that the Fifty shades trilogytook its roots from E.L.James’ fan fiction for the Twilight saga, I was expecting to be done within 50 pages. It didnt turn out that way. I ended up reading it over the weekend and actually finished it. I was surprised at myself. So here are my thoughts on the book.
- It is definitely chick-lit for adults. At its heart, it is a typical romance with all the required condiments- hearbreak, doubt, jealousy, passion, the fights, etc.
- The BDSM part which is why the book is really getting all the attention is OK. I mean, the first few times its good to read. Then it starts getting pretty repetitive. By the time I was into the second half of the novel, I could have predicted the next act and how it would unfold if you know what I mean.
- The book could have been much better edited. Cliches are all over the place. The attempted leap from fan fiction to a full blown novel is evident in the writing. Some parts are pretty amateurish.
- I was tempted to grep the ebook for “Oh my” if I could. It occurs that many times.
- I am not sure how many women have a daily tete-a-tete with their “inner goddess”. The protagonist sure does quite a bit. And it starts grating on your sensibilities very quickly.
- It is obvious that the first book was written with the second and/or third in mind. So the end is really not the end. If you are even partially vested in the story, you will end up picking the second part of the trilogy. Good marketing move.
- And if I didnt spell it out earlier, this is romance embellished with small doses of erotica. Thats it. Not any more, not any less.
All that said and done, I dont regret reading it. For one, its only the second romance novel that I have ever read (the first one was a Nora Roberts long long ago to appease my then girlfriend). And the author kept it interesting enough in convincing me to read the second one(which I am doing so). I am really hoping the second one is better written and better edited. The book is really no great shakes. It is worth a quick read for the hype, no more.
P.S: The book is currently available only in ebook format. The print version was supposedly only a small run and sold out quickly. There is a paperback reprint
coming in April. Else, if you want to read them now, get the ebooks.
Get the ebook here.
Preorder the print book here.