Reviews Comments: A Male Perspective on Fifty Shades of Grey

A Male Perspective on Fifty Shades of Grey
As a man who has never read Twilight or romance novels before, I have to say that I found this book series to be very enjoyable, minus the opening to the first chapter, where the writing is so horrible it's cringe-worthy. Once the reader is able to adapt to Ana's narration, the story flows relatively smoothly. I found myself unable to put the books down, and read the whole series in record time; I finished each book in under 72 hours.

As far as the characters go, I found that I identified a great dead with Christian Grey in the aspects of his desire for control and self-loathing. Unlike the person who wrote the main page, I don't see Christian as evil - he's an antihero. I am also totally enamoured with the character of Anastasia. E.L. James does not have much skill in character naming though (Katherine Kavanaugh, ugh), but we'll let that one slide.

As far as the sexual content goes, any man will tell you that this book series is relatively tame. If you've been on the Internet before, then almost nothing in these books should be new to you. I'm actually glad the BSDM was pretty mild, because I think that's about as far as anyone would really go with that line of fetishism if they weren't into it specifically. The sexual content also blended into the story fairly well without overshadowing it - I didn't feel like there was too much or too little and found it refreshing when James pulled off some "fade to black" cuts, because Ana and Christian have a LOT of sex.

When it comes to story there is nothing exceptional, but nothing too bad either. The first book doesn't have much of a conflict besides Ana & Chrisitan's relationship, then James pulls a last-chapter-disaster that practically ruins it. This crisis is recovered quickly however and James steps into less jarring cycles of rising tension and light-hearted interludes. Essentially, there are two plots running side-by-side: Ana & Christian's tumultuous relationship and the investigation into Christian's past, which blends into the attempted murder sub-plot of books 2 & 3. The third book is MUCH better with its story, having moments of high tension and a satisfying enough conclusion.

So, in conclusion, these books are a nice read and one should check them out before passing judgement on the books or the people that read them. I, for one, really liked them.


Nice review. Come to think of it, I've never read a review of Grey, I've only ever heard second hand jokes at its expense.
comment #16030 maninahat 7th Sep 12
You say that in the beginning "the writing is so horrible it's cringe-worthy", but "Once the reader is able to adapt to Ana's narration, the story flows relatively smoothly." Do you mean that the writing improves later on in the book or that it remains bad but you get used to it?
comment #16186 MichaelKatsuro 18th Sep 12
Christian stalks her and does things that Ana tells him not to do and somehow this is true wuv. Yeaaaah.
comment #16187 kay4today 18th Sep 12
I'll agree the books aren't what I'd call "readable", kay, but let's not start an argument now.
comment #16189 MrMallard 18th Sep 12
The prose and storytelling are atrocious, but it really can't be judged as literature, any more than, say, Debbie Does Dallas can be judged as film. I mean you can, but what's the point?
comment #16309 Faradn 28th Sep 12
Congratulations, you're a sociopath.
comment #16403 Peryton 6th Oct 12
Not sure if serious.
comment #16431 kraas 10th Oct 12
As much as I dislike the series and the potential damage they could do, I'm well aware I can't stop anyone from reading them. The guy's treating it like a novel, not some almighty how-to guide for BDSM, so I have no real problems with this review.

Not everyone who reads the books are sociopaths/psychopaths.
comment #16433 MrMallard 10th Oct 12
The concern people have with potential damage confuses me. It's like the old argument over violence in video games, though that has been a bit misremembered. If I recall it wasn't that shooting people in Doom would turn you into a serial killer but that spending all your free time committing pretend murder is bad in itself. I can't imagine it's possible reading Twilight or 50 Shades will lead to being domestically abused. Nevertheless it may be bad for your soul to read about how great it is to be abused.

That's not my concern, though. If I'm gonna read about BDSM erotica I want it to be well written or to the point (if you know what I mean), is all.
comment #16439 tublecane 11th Oct 12
I agree @tublecane, as one who ascribes to the "potential damage" philosophy. The question with this series for me is one of cultural advancement; this series strikes me as rather crude "low" art, with the fascination and hype stemming more from its relative uniqueness in the mainstream rather than its inherent quality. I don't find it presents anything particularly insightful, but rather draws all of its attention based on the packaging that it's wrapped in. In short, it doesn't edify in any way, it's just exciting.

I respectfully disagree with this review, finding the writing to be atrocious, the characters exaggerated and uninteresting, and the plot to be plagiaristically similar to Twilight (at least in the first book—realizing that is IS after all originally a fan-fic). But I won't argue that at least the reviewer has stated legitimate reasons for his opinion. I worry about the things that are treated so highly in pop-culture, but this is hardly the first thing to cause such worries. And it's impossible to deny that it has had impact, for what it's worth.
comment #16448 JobanGrayskull 12th Oct 12
"...any man will tell you that this book series is relatively tame."

Being male is not the same as being a pervert who thinks a book in which metal balls are put into a woman's ass is tame.
comment #18591 HaroldZoid 23rd Mar 13
Without her consent, too. Basically glorifying rape.
comment #18592 kay4today 23rd Mar 13
You're a troll, aren't you?
comment #20245 Opftw1 18th Jul 13
The entire series and its fans glorify, excuse and condone rape.

And that's coming from someone who's actually been in BDSM relationships. They've taken something that's explicitly about empathy (you won't find someone more empathetic than a good Dom) and made it about breaking someone, violating them and using them until they're a disheveled wreck unable to function without you.
comment #21047 mariskep 10th Sep 13
Yeah, Christian Grey is just plain horrible. He's not merely an antihero, but an outright basket case: he tells Ana later on that "the sub is in control", but did you read the contract he tried to write up? The dom (him) could cut it off at any time no matter what, but she had to follow specific clauses to actually leave the relationship. It's not legally binding, but she even points out that he didn't exactly tell her that when he brought it up. He repeatedly gets her drunk, especially when discussing their agreement, to lower her inhibitions. He literally stalks her (as in follows her across the country and suddenly shows up during her visit with her family when she specifically told him that she needed time away) and multiple times suddenly shows up at her apartment. Despite being a supposedly extremely busy businessman, he stays at his computer long enough to instantaneously fire off replies to her emails. He gives her a Black Berry purely so he can keep an eye on her (when she was supposed to be contracted for a little over 48 hours a week) and gets downright angry when she tries to act independently. He tries to hold her to the contract before she even signs anything.

Despite his claims that he won't do anything without her consent, the very first thing he does with her is grab her by the hair and kiss her in the elevator without her consent (something that would, at best, result in you getting kicked in the balls and slapped with a sexual assault charge) and he repeatedly forces himself onto her or threatens to do so. He once literally carries her to the boathouse to fuck her and only stops when she actually tells him to back off, rather than doing as quite a few abuse victims do: cowering in fear and just waiting for the torment to end.

And the author portrays it POSITIVELY more often than not! It doesn't make Grey out to be perfect, but Ana repeatedly brushes off her very valid concerns that she's dating a complete psychopath with "But he's really hot and the sex is so good!" If the series was actually done properly, it would have ended with the first book as a realistic depiction of an abusive relationship, rather than slogging on for hundreds of thousands of more words of the two trying to work together.

Christian Grey is no antihero. He's plain villainous, and in any other media would likely end up suffering a gruesome death at the hands of one of the women he abused and stalked.
comment #21124 chitoryu12 14th Sep 13
In most other media Bruce Willis would've broke through the door and shot him in the head at the end of the movie.
comment #21125 kay4today 14th Sep 13
I don't understand how people find redeeming qualities in this book. It basically just runs on the concept that rape/stalking/abuse is fine if you enjoy it, or even experience the physiological responses like orgasm (which happens in real life, doesn't equate to enjoying the experience, and certainly doesn't make it excusable.)

I wouldn't mind so much if it was the occasional 'bad implications' scene or 'ok, but that would be terrible in real life' - that would still be problematic and not-ok, but I'd be willing to accept that the work had some redeeming features or was open to debate. But this seems to unfailingly portray an explicitly abusive relationship as not just ok, but desirable. It's terrifying, and it comes off like someone accidentally shelved a horror novel with a poorly-written spy thriller villain in the romance section.

As to the 'tame sex' thing (and I really question the notion that ALL men have the same preferences and level of expertise in hardcore porn, and all women are lacking), I feel like that misses the point a bit. I'd rather have something that depicted really hardcore BDSM in an ethical and consensual context, or at least if the material was clearly signposted as a non-consent fantasy.

Honestly, if it's dirty fanfiction you're after, you can get it for free on the internet. Some of it's good.
comment #22900 LadySonic 16th Jan 14
Also, I find it very worrying that anyone would identify with this guy, much less openly admit to it.
comment #22905 LadySonic 16th Jan 14
This book was really boring thing to read. Seriously, it's a bad fanfiction and that's all.
comment #28175 Akatsume 22nd Feb 15
First of all I would like to say that I have little knowledge with this book series, however since first finding out about it, I've always thought that it has been blown out of proportion. I had many issues with Twilight and not your go to, der is a poorly written sappy love story for girls, but that it was a story aimed at teenage girls that portrayed abusive behavior as dreamy, chivalrous and desired actions. 50 Shades of Gray, as far as I am concern, doesn't really pretend to be more than what it is, BDSM erotica.

With that in mind, isn't this just a story to satisfy the fantasies of it's target audience? of course there are is a lot of safety and care in BDSM when done in real life, but wouldn't that side of the act take you way from the fictional media your reading/watching, etc. In BDSM, the parties pretend act out these scenarios, so wouldn't these quote on quote disclaimers take you out of the fantasy? If you're a furry, isn't a fiction about actual anthropomorphic animals more interesting and or desirable than one about people dress in animal costumes.

Pardon my ignorance, but this is how I thought most BDSM books, more or less, are.
comment #28176 marcellX 22nd Feb 15
It is not BDSM erotica. It's a rape fantasy.
comment #28177 lexicon 22nd Feb 15

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