The Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James

3 Stars

Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high.

I finished this trilogy the first week of June 2012. I was initially curious because it kept on popping up in Flipboard’s Books section but never really cared enough to actually buy the set. My sister ended up buying them, so I read them anyway.

This is the first erotic fiction I’ve read, unless you count Coelho’s Eleven Minutes which isn’t exactly an erotic novel. From what I’ve heard, Fifty Shades was originally written as a a fan fiction based on Twilight. I’ve never been a fan of the Twilight series so my immediate reaction was “This must suck”. (Sorry Twilight fans)

As a piece of literature, if you can call it that, Fifty Shades was horrible. The writing was shallow, there were many redundant phrases and dialogues, and it had a too-simple amateurish plot.

So why the hype? Here’s why.

Because it was entertaining. This trilogy was tailored for women, but definitely not for the conservative. The story revolved around a fifty shades f*cked up love story laced with BDSM themes and lots and lots and lots of sex. Honestly, I never imagined two people can have sex that often with that much intensity! Then again, this is fiction.

I think the reason why this trilogy, no matter how shallow it is, appealed to the female market so much was because it was a fantasy. Minus the fact that the ultra-hot Christian Grey had a messed-up childhood, Anastasia and Christian’s story was almost every helpless romantic’s fantasy. The epitome of a perfect bachelor way beyond your league falls head over heels for you, gives you his world, begs for you, needs you, and wants you… to have someone like that deeply and passionately I-can’t-live-without in love with you, well that’s almost every girl’s dream I think. In my opinion, that’s why girls enjoyed reading this. I guess that’s also why I enjoyed reading it. Kudos to EL James too, I mean… I’m sure she was also running out of ideas on how to narrate a sex scene without being redundant. In how many ways can two people have sex?

There were two scenes that stuck to my mind: The first was during the end of Grey when Ana left Christian, it was realistic in some weird way. How some couples break-up despite how much they love each other, because you want different things and it simply doesn’t work. The second was during Darker when Christian thought Ana was leaving him again, and he fell to his knees, begging, and even willing to become a submissive just to have Ana stay. Despite the shallow form of writing, I kinda really felt for Christian during that chapter.

Freed was the least enjoyable among the three. It felt forced and it bored me. There were times wherein I even skipped the sex scenes. Sex again?! The ending was blah. Well, my expectations weren’t that high anyway.

Overall, Fifty Shades was still quite entertaining. Though I doubt male readers would appreciate this as much, since its target readers are really women.

Curious about the upcoming movie adaptation though. I wonder how they’d make it without passing off as porn. I mean, the novels practically revolve around sex. Personally, I think Matt Bomer would be the perfect Christian Grey, while Lily Collins, Nina Dobrev, Emilia Clarke or Alexis Bledel would make great Anastasia Steeles. What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “The Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James”

  1. Some of my online friends from a forum had a full-on discussion about this book. And we all agreed on several things:

    1) Sex was just a filler. (And I’m saying this cause we’ve read a lot of erotic fiction) In fact, without the sex, this would just be one book.
    2) Horrible grammar.
    3) EL James either had done some of it herself or she had a very good correspondent who wasn’t afraid to share.
    4) It might have started as a fan fiction for Twilight… but aside from the grammar, it had a better love story plot.

      1. Well… true. everything else is better than Twilight.

        Since it got published… makes you wonder whether or not you can get yourself out there too.

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