I read Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James, a few years ago–I can’t remember how many (it was before the movie came out, in any case.) I’ll be honest that I didn’t love the book. I wanted to like it, but for a myriad of reasons, it did not capture my imagination or strike as scintillating for me as I know it did for others. Some of the whys were me-related (controlling men = HUGE turn-off for me) and others were writing-related (when the publisher bought the book, did they just not hire an editor?) but regardless of the reason, I didn’t love it.
That said, my ever-critical Beta Reader #1, Kate, really liked the books (this is probably the first thing EVER that she liked and I disliked–it was a historical moment) and urged me to keep reading.
“The characters!” she exclaimed. “Christian’s character arch is really cool!”
I’m a sucker for a good character arch. And I hadn’t hated the first book. So I took the plunge and started the second.
Only to put it down before getting even halfway in.
My favorite part of Fifty Shades of Grey? When Anastasia leaves Christian at the end of the book. Not because I think he’s fucked up, or that she shouldn’t be with him, but because it was the first time in the book that she showed real AGENCY. The first time she made a real, hard-and-fast decision and acted upon it. That was a cool moment. (And Dakota Johnson did that moment SO much justice in the movie, didn’t she? It was even better than it had been in my head!)
So when I opened up Shades Darker and found that she was basically going back to him just DAYS LATER?! I was annoyed. That annoyance tinged the rest of my reading. Which led me to abandon the book.
But now Fifty Shades Darker is coming out in cinemas next months. And I’m sort of looking forward to the movie in a guilty pleasure kind of way. It seems like I should give the book another chance.
So I posted this on Facebook to get my faithful-readers’ input:
I posted something similar on Twitter. And, in both cases, your response was an overwhelming YES.
So I’m reading it again. And tweeting my reactions, impressions, and thoughts while I do it with the hashtag #ElleReadsFiftyShades
If you don’t follow me on Twitter, find me here so you can keep up with what’s sure to be an entertaining ride.
Wish me luck!