“Condolences to the 1.1 million people who rushed out to buy E.L. James’s “Grey” in the first four days after its United States publication…” (Michael Lionstar, NY Times)
Grey is E.L. James’s much-anticipated new release- a retelling of the mind-blowingly popular 50 Shades of Grey, as told by Christian Grey’s most beloved appendage – his penis, (special appearances from the enigmatic Mr. Grey himself). Now, I’ve seen the buzzfeed articles, I’ve read the reviews, I’ve seen the tweets, but I had to read Grey for myself. I’ve followed Ana and Christian from the beginning, even though I’ve felt E.L. James has pretty much exhausted their journey by this point, I couldn’t resist seeing what Grey had to offer. (Spoiler alert: not much!)
Before Grey came along, there was 50 Shades of Grey– which for all intents and purposes was Twilight fanfiction. I’ll be honest, I thought I was a modern woman- I watch Sex and the City and other risque movies and television shows- I’ve been exposed to it all. Then, I read 50 Shades of Grey. Initially, I was taken aback- bondage, contracts, pain, pigtails, and lots and lots of lip biting. I know nothing of this weird, terrifying world.
However, despite this- I was intrigued. Yes, there are so, so, so many valid arguments about why these are awful books but I couldn’t help myself. There were so many questions/thoughts I had while reading: who is this emotionally stunted man-child and why is he so vehemently turn-on by lip biting? Does Ana’s internal monologue ever stop talking? Did this bitch really get a job in publishing two seconds after she graduated?? #goals. OMG Grey is so deep he wants to feed the world. IS THIS REALLY A THING PEOPLE DO? I read contracts for a living (true fact), and while this one is infinitely more interesting to read than my usual suspects, it doesn’t seem at all enforceable- who is Grey’s legal counsel?? Oh, is the stalking endearing or creepy?? IS THIS REALLY A THING PEOPLE DO? Okay, I’m having trouble with the logistics here, does the body really…hmmm, shouldn’t think too hard on this. IS THIS REALLY A THING PEOPLE DO?? (aaaand so on and so forth.)
To me it seems like Grey ruined the only good part of 50 Shades. I think what a lot of fans of the series love, is the fantasy of Christian. He puts up this front, but for Ana he turns into a love-obsessed teenager at her beck and call. In Grey, the reader can no longer pretend that this controlling, abusive, creepy man is really just a low-key romantic man. Instead of being complex and multi-faceted, E.L. James paints him as a one-dimensional dick. Who literally thinks about nothing but his dick. To be honest, I think his dick had a more of a storyline in this book than Christian did.
But, I will spare you my diatribe because I’m not about to reinvent the wheel. I will let the following speak to my feelings about Grey and E.L. James:
These witty twitter users who had NO CHILL during James’s twitter Q&A:
The New York Times even had trouble referring to E.L. James as an author or calling 50 Shades/Grey books:
…aaaaand last but not least, exerts from my favorite buzzfeed article about Grey
If you’ve read the 50 Shades trilogy or Grey, what were YOUR thoughts?