A Bit of a Grey Area

As everyone has probably heard by now (and if you haven’t, you must either be living under a rock, or be a man), E.L.James has released a new Fifty Shades of Grey, voiced by none other than Mr. Grey himself. And it has broken the first week UK sales for adult books. Grey has sold nearly 650,000 copies in the first three days beating Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol which sold a mere 550,000 in comparison. Not only have James’ books been so incredibly successful, but a film was released this Valentine’s Day, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson (see below), of the first Fifty Shades book of the trilogy. 

It appears that fans were not satisfied with the series ending and insisted that James write more; which is exactly what she did.

Many authors and journalists have voiced their own views on the subject, and they don’t sound too excited about the new release. Author Jenny Colgan wrote that it is “”almost impossible to read Grey and not assume the narrator is going to end up in jail”. Bryony Gordon from the Telegraph claimed that “Grey, the fourth book from E.L.James, is about as sexy as a misery memoir and as arousing as the diary of a sex offender”. Clearly NOT a big hit from either of these day. Gordon goes on to say that: “The writing is not the offensive thing about this book. It’s the sense that, like Ana with Christian, the reader is being duped into a manipulative relationship with it. In the last chapters, James layers on the sympathy for Grey in a way that feels horribly calculated. ”

Francesca Cookney, from the Mirror, gave a positive report, claiming we’re “all about to fall just a little bit more in love”.

But what exactly is it that makes the Fifty Shades series so popular? The writing is average, the plot is barely there and the characters are underdeveloped. What really grips people is their curiosity. Maybe they’re wondering how a submissive/dominant relationship works, or wanting some saucy tips they can use on a partner. Who knows. But as Chris Al-Aswad points out on his blog, James “created a world to which the boundaries of sexual delinquency, love, and relationships are blurred beyond distinction”. And not in a good way. It is a shocking novel because the disappointing message clearly set out in these novels is that love isn’t always valued in a relationship.

So, is E.L.James digging herself a hole by releasing a male-narrated version of her first book. Surely it is just another money-making scheme (like the overly-excessive THREE Hobbit films that could have been put into one, but we won’t get started on that tangent). Are women really interested in how Grey thinks? Or is it purely sickening to think of the way in which he treats and respects, or doesn’t respect, women?


2 thoughts on “A Bit of a Grey Area

  1. I haven’t read any of the books, but I did find myself at the 50 Shades movie at the dollar cinema. The audience seemed to be mostly other people like me, given the pre-show banter I heard around me. We had all come to gape at the trainwreck. At one point, when Christian had just said something especially ludicrous and unbelievable, a woman a couple of rows behind me burst out with “Jesus God!” (in the “I can’t believe how stupid this is” intonation). The audience burst into laughter, and after that we laughed our way through several other painful, wooden scenes, though everyone managed to keep most of their snarky comments down to whispers to seat mates. Similarly, I only managed to get through the first Twilight movie by watching it at home on DVD with the commentary turned on. James Patterson was a riot in the commentary.

    I am not the target audience. My friends are not the target audience. My teenage daughter shudders in horror at both James and Meyer. I have no idea who the target market is at this point, but they sure spend money.

    Liked by 1 person

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