Every now and then, there is a cultural phenomenon that no one can ignore. The rise of the novel 50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James into the consciousness of the nation is one such phenomenon. When Waterstones kindly offered to send me a book to review, which other could I choose but the most talked about book of the year?
I’m going to be perfectly honest – I wanted to hate this book. I wanted to be controversial and say how over-hyped it was, how shallow it was for my deep love of literature. But I can’t – it was one of the most addictive books I have ever read.
Yes, it is incredibly graphic. INCREDIBLY graphic. I’m no prude, but at times I did wish they’d give it a rest. Why? Because the characters and storyline are so enchanting that the shock value really wasn’t necessary for the most part.
I’m not going to include any spoilers in my review, I really hate reviews that give things away. I’m sure that most people reading this review will be wanting to know one thing – should I believe the hype? As much as I wanted to say no, the book really lived up to it for me.
I do think you have to be an open-minded person to read it, and it is definitely an adult book, but if you look past the overly-sexual nature of it it is a wonderful novel. Admittedly, I was a bit embarrassed that my mum was reading it at the same time as me, but tried not to dwell on that!
If I had any criticisms, I would note that the writing style was a little repetitive at times – this is hard to describe, but you’d pick up on it upon reading. I also fail to see why anyone describes the book as ’empowering to women’ – I was a straight-A English student and know how to read between the lines, but even after exploring alternate interpretations this angle is weak at best. Nonetheless, it is incredibly interesting and well-formed, and well worth a read.
Have you read 50 Shades of Grey, or any of the sequals? Without leaving spoilers, what did you think of it?