This isn’t going to be like my usual reviews, because it seems pretty silly to review this book this book the way I would others. I to get my thoughts out there though, so here they are.
When I first started reading it all I could focus on was how absolutely terrible the writing was. The description of the office in the first chapter uses the words steel and glass about 8723928 times. I spent a lot of my time thinking that E.L. James should invest in a thesaurus. As the book went on the writing did get a little better, but not by much. I realize that this was originally fan fiction and it definitely reads like that. (Not to say there aren’t some extremely well written fan fictions out there, because there are.) It was definitely excruciating to read in terms of writing style. The theory I have about why this hasn’t been a problem is because the people who are loving this book and passing it around to all of their friends are not voracious readers. Maybe if I didn’t devour books the way that I do, I would have found this novel a little more pleasant to read. I think that I have been learning about writing style and focusing so much of my life on how books are edited that I wasn’t really able to look past the problems in this book.
Story-wise I also felt this novel was lacking. Nothing really happened except in Ana and Christian’s relationship. The outside characters really didn’t play an important role and we never learned anything about them, except maybe that Ana found them annoyed because she complained every time someone asked her a question.
Now, all of this being said I do think I understand why this book is so popular. I remember reading Twilight back in the days when it was all hyped up and I liked it. I wouldn’t feel the same way going back and reading it now, but at the time I hadn’t read anything else like that. Twilight was the first book I had ever read where it felt like the hero devoted his entire being to the heroine. Now, I read this in high school and felt like that was what I wanted at the time. I wanted someone who was willing to be completely and totally devoted to me. This novel has almost the same feel, just in a more adult, kinky way. I think this type of relationship attracts people. Find a hero who never needed anyone else and never really paid attention to girls in a romantic type of way before and make him fall completely head over heels for a girl who is never noticed by anyone. I can see why that is appealing. All of us feel like Bella or Ana and want to be noticed by someone who is gorgeous and has never felt strongly about anyone else. I believe that the ability to use this book as an escape into that kind of fantasy is why this book is so immensely popular right now.
I also had a problem with the ending. Ana leaves him. That’s not a romance. They are not together at the end of the book. I don’t understand why this is being labeled as a romance and being nominated for awards when the story ends in a break-up. Yes, I know there are two more novels. I may or may not get myself to read them. I do feel like this novel was an eye-opening experience for me, especially because I want to go into publishing. Just because I find a book to be terribly written and for the heroine to have really crazy abandonment issues for no apparent reason (I say this because she’d cry every time he left), does not mean that it won’t be completely loved by the rest of the world. I may read the other two just to feel like I have a little more information about what people are looking for.
I do wish that people would use this book as a basis to start reading other things. I wish people would pick up books that aren’t the most popular thing at the time. You might be surprised at how much better those books can be. If you want erotic romance or something in this genre I can guarantee there are novels that you can pick up that you might find more fascinating than this one.