It doesn’t take long to realize why there is so much hype surrounding this book. It is positively, wipe-the-floor-with-it filthy but I, like pretty much everyone I’ve spoke to could not put it down.
The book centers around the relationship between control freak gazzilionaire Mr Grey and his newly graduated student mews Anastasia. Like any new couple they enjoy ‘exploring’ each other in the fullest of senses but while it is the sex that is getting people talking for me this book was all about the psychology.
The tension between the two is palpable both sexually and emotionally and it is heightened at every turn as the over-thinking and under-experienced Anna pushes Christan’s (Mr Grey) emotional boundaries time after time. On the other hand Christian’s self-awareness with regards to his sexual perversions and general emotional fragility should have ‘stayed well away’ rather than sexually and emotionally exploiting such innocence even if it was consenting and enjoyed. But then we would not have been able to witness this deliciously complex Dominant/ Submission relationship unfold.
The take-home message for me was around the theme of consent and boundaries. Christian takes pains to point out where the power in this dysfunctional relationship lies (Anastasia) but fails to appreciate how disempowering his ‘stalking’ and boundary-eroding is. She has to consent before anything can be done and has a right to leave unhindered at any time which sounds empowering but in reality is irresponsibly unbalanced and akin to emotional blackmail. It is clear from the moment that Anastasia confesses to being a virgin (both physically and emotionally- this is her first relationship) she is unqualified to ‘consent’ to anything in the real sense of the word and not surprisingly what follows is a gross invasion (even exploitation) of Ana’s sense of self.
What I found even more interesting was the fact that by the last third of the book I was beginning to get quite annoyed with Ana wishing that she would ‘just give a guy a break’ as Christian proved time and time again that while he was clearly ‘fifty shades of messed up’ he was actively working through these issues and conceding much along the way. He deals with Ana’s challenges and concerns in a thorough, attentive and business-like manner (which is surprisingly erotic) conceding much and opening up piece by piece. Still one can’t help but be scared by his ‘jokes’, the depth of his neuroses and pain and his pure ability to crowd out Ana’s sense of self. I realize that my ‘pull-your-socks-up’ attack on Ana is unreasonable for all of the reasons stated above but this book does that to you, it challenges your ideas and your pre-conceptions and that’s why I love it.
I am looking forward to the next chapter in Christian and Ana’s life as I do believe that they would make a lovely couple once all of this crazy stuff is dealt with (and yes, I do know that it is only fiction but…….)
Oh and I’ve always suspected that vanilla was the best flavor
Enjoy and try not to blush xxx