50 Shades of Grey Trilogy on Fire

Posted June 19, 2012 by shearhylite in The Daily

What is the sudden fascination with the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy? As my mother reminded me, erotic fiction is nothing new; but for some reason, the sexy tale of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey has caught fire and is sweeping the globe. Universal Pictures and Focus Features even have a movie deal in the works.


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So, a new reader might be surprised to learn that the writing in these books is…eh. Sub-par at best, as an English major I found myself cringing at elementary sentences and sighing over repetitive adjectives. The trilogy has formula written all over it (pun intended). A beautiful, innocent young woman meets a dangerous older man (albeit, not much older) and she just can’t stay away from him. A kinky relationship ensues and as the story unfolds, the reader is given clues that there is more at the core of the mysterious Mr. Grey. Sounds like any typical romance novel.

However, for some reason, I couldn’t put it down. I read the entire trilogy within 2 weeks. Author E. L. James began the series as Twilight fan fiction. The similarities are on the surface. Anastasia Steele as Bella is awkward and beautiful, Christian Grey as Edward is dashing, dangerous, and mysterious. Jacob even makes a cameo in the form of Ana’s close college friend, Jose. But the similarities end there. After all, this is erotica. And not just erotica: These books focus on the world of BDSM relationships. There is no shortage of leather, whips, chains, paddles, and hanging contraptions in 50 Shades. The books are loaded with graphic sex scenes; some surprising, some down right shocking, but generally satisfying. Fans of the Twilight saga may glean some satisfaction in knowing that “Bella” and “Edward” finally get it on.

When I finished the books, I began to realize that I missed the characters. And that’s where the gem in this trilogy lies. James has successfully created a cast of characters that you love. She breathes life into each one and none of them feel trite or irrelevant. I rooted for the protagonists and cursed the antagonists. James gives her characters depth that drives the story forward and kept me wanting more. And I was not disappointed.




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