Book 137: "Grey" by E.L. James

Title: Grey (Fifty Shades #4)
Author: E.L. James
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Read In:  Nook ePub
Genre: Romance, Fiction

Okay, I'm going to be brutally honest. I'm embarrassed that I read this book. So embarrassed that I considered not writing a review...but here I am. Did I expect this book to be awful? Yes. It fully lived up to that expectation. I read this out of curiosity, mostly, and a need to try and figure out why it has sold so many copies. Because as much wrath as it gets from differing communities, that doesn't change the fact that it sold over 1 million copies in four days, breaking records in the book industry. With no more ado, here we go...

To continue my honesty: Recently, when the new broke that E.L. James was destroyed by fans at her twitter Q&A (, I have to be honest that I thought people were over-reacting just a bit. I read the Fifty Shades Trilogy and though they were redundant and pretty awful, they served their purpose. They're romance novels and they certainly weren't the first to depict this toxic dynamic. But after reading Grey, I understand why people are so upset. The Fifty Shades Trilogy depicts a love story. Not a particularly healthy one, but a love story. The focus was not entirely on sex. The main character seemed, for the most part, intelligent and healthy minded enough to handle what she was getting into. The relationship, though controlling and misrepresenting the BDSM lifestyle, did not come off as abusive, at least to me. Grey is a whole different story. The story from his side is awful to read. He's a selfish, unhealthily controlling, and almost flat out abusive character. There are tell-tale signs of the beginning stages of abuse; hurt then comfort. I can see clearly now why the BDSM community should be outraged. This book, very incorrectly, depicts people who choose this lifestyle as having to have been severely or irreparably damaged in some way. I haven't done a lot of research into that lifestyle choice, but I have watched enough documentaries and read enough to know that isn't the case the majority of the time.

Aside from that, this book is just not good. The vocabulary, like the first three, was incredibly redundant. I thought, much like others I've spoken with, that perhaps James would provide more of Grey's life outside of what happened when he was with Ana. She did not; except for a select few business moments and what he did once Ana left. Mostly it was him thinking about Ana or his dreams of his past. However, I do see why it sold so many copies. James' talent lies not in her amazing story-lines, but her ability to draw in a reader. All of her books are gripping and hard to put down for a good portion of the book; a talent she fittingly shares with the person she started out mimicking, Stephanie Meyers. However, overall, I was bored by the second half of the book and I'm glad that I'm done reading it so I can go back to reading better books (so, almost anything).