By E L James
Yes, I have now actually read this best-seller from two years ago. Like me, you may have been curious but not driven to go out and buy a copy as soon as everyone (yes, even those in your church) was reading this series. I will say that this review does contain spoilers. Hopefully, you either have read it or don’t plan on ever reading this series.
I did not immediately get all three books which so far I think is a good thing. As of this writing, I have yet to read the third book. So, I will be reviewing these one at a time.
Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic romance between a college grad and a young, successful businessman. Anastasia Steele is a naive innocent who falls for a guy way out of her romantic league. Christian Grey is a multi-millionaire alpha male with a disturbing past that he deals with in deviant but private ways. Grey also gets what he wants. When Ana fills in for her roommate for an exclusive interview with Grey, he wants her. Then he finds out just how innocent she is. After overcoming that obstacle (which I found very unromantic), Grey tries to set her up in a BDSM relationship complete with a special contract. In the course of their relationship, the agreement is never signed and Grey finds himself pursuing her in different ways. However, his sexual lifestyle still influences how he treats Ana in the bedroom, which she finds scary but is willing to put up with as she loses her heart to him.
I liked Ana’s character. I know I have read some really negative reviews about her but she really does have guts. Not only does she give herself to this very dominant man, she is also brave enough to walk away when she realizes that his needs are too much for her. I was cheering for her by the end of the book. In fact, if James had ended the series right there I think it would have been that much stronger. My only problem with her is that she never wears makeup except for maybe a little mascara and lip gloss. I don’t know many woman who could get by with that and still have lots of guys after them like Ana seems to throughout the book.
The book and the series are not for the gentle soul. AT ALL. Do not read this if you are turned off by foul language, intense descriptions of what happens between consensual adults or child abuse. In fact, you may not like this book if you are looking for a plot-driven romance. This first book is more about the physical aspect of a relationship more than anything else.
What did this book have to do with my faith? Fifty Shades of Grey made me think about how willing I am to stick to my own Christian convictions. What if I had fallen in love with a non-Christian. Would losing my heart to someone who is very different from me lead me from Christ? Would I have been willing to walk away even while my heart was breaking? I know many women (and a few men) who live with non-Christians. No matter what happens in the bedroom, how does that play out in their daily lives? What do they do when their beliefs clash? I know clergywomen who have divorced their husbands when God called the women into ministry. The guys either couldn’t handle it or didn’t “believe” in it. Yet, God’s call was stronger than even the marriage. Can you see your own story in this?
I only recommend this book to the adventurous and open-minded.