GREY by E.L. James

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Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian

The announcement of this new book, a mere 18 days prior to publication, took the publishing world by storm, and that includes bookstores and libraries. I had gotten an email early in the morning so I was aware, but when I got to work a co-worker told me she had been asked for the “Christian Fifty Shades” and thought there was, somehow, a religious version of the book out there! A quick internet search revealed the new book, but that sure was a fun way to learn about it.

I read the Fifty Shades trilogy back in 2012 (and reviewed here) and these were my final thoughts…and they still hold true for Grey. The appeal of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (and now just a series, I guess) lies with the characters and their great love affair. We can’t help but root for the insecure girl who lands the gorgeous rich guy, and the damaged man she brings out of the dark.

Ana and Christian save each other, inspire each other so that their sum together is greater than their parts. Their torrid love affair, the “mommy porn” aspect is candy to some, inflaming imaginations and libidos, while others will fly past those pages. Nonetheless, Ana and her 50 Shades bring to mind other great loves in literature like Romeo and Juliet, and Scarlett and Rhett, with apologies to Shakespeare and Mitchell. Most romance readers are looking for that, and those that don’t usually read romance are perhaps surprised at how they are swept away with Ana and Christian, enough to overlook the abysmal writing, the lip biting, the smirking. I know I was.

All that said, I got the feeling that James wrote Grey by pulling up the manuscript of the original, and changing the “she thought” to “he thought” and adding in a bit more of Christian’s background. But the writing seemed much better to me, not nearly so repetitive and deplete of those awful series of superlatives and multiple mentions of Ana’s “inner goddess.” So I’m thinking Random House got to put a strong editor on this since it hadn’t been previously self-published.

I liked seeing Christian’s point of view. The character development was better, the story was better if somehow still the same, and I am glad I read it. It probably helped that there were three years between books. Whatever her faults, E.L. James created a hot romance with lots of sizzling kinky sex, and that was all still there. It isn’t nearly as shocking, unless you haven’t read the other books, I guess. If you’re a fan of the series, enjoy. If you haven’t read them, this is a good place to start. And don’t get me started on the movie! (Love to hear your comments about any of this.)

7/15 Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch

GREY: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian by E.L. James. Vintage (June 18, 2015).  ISBN 978-1101946343. 576p.

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