Play the audiobook Run time: 6 hours 09 mins
Fifty shades of grey is one of the fastest-selling books for adults of all time and very adult in content. Despite the global reaction it spawned, especially for upcoming erotica authors, it’s quite ironic the barrage of critic reviews and comments it is met with. Before we address the reasons behind the negative critical reviews, let’s understand who the main characters are and the author behind the blockbuster erotica novel.
Understanding E. L James
Erika Leonard, known by her pen name E. L. James is a British author of the love story The Mister, the Fifty Shades Trilogy, and its companion novels, Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian and Darker: Fifty Shades Darker as Told by Christian. She’s currently working on her latest book, which will form part 3 and the final installment of the Fifty Shades Story as Told by Christian Grey titled, Freed.
The author started this book as a piece of fan fiction with a different title, different character names, and under pen name Snowqueens Icedragon. When complaints about the erotic nature of the story surfaced, E L James moved the book to her own website. She used her own name, renamed her characters to Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, and gave the book a different title. At first, it was a self-published eBook, but the popularity of the book changed all that.
Award-winning E L James has gained international fame for her Fifty Shades series. The books have had massive success selling over 125 million copies around the globe, over 35 million copies in the United States, and setting the record in the United Kingdom as the fastest-selling paperback of all time. Subsequently, the bestseller series was adapted into a feature film series that E L James co-produced. The series has been translated into roughly 50 languages, including Arabic and Mongolian.
Understanding Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele
Fifty Shades of Grey follows the captivating story of literature student Anastasia Steele who goes to interview prominent businessman Christian Grey, who is equal parts brilliant, beautiful, and intimidating. Little does the innocent Anastacia realize how her life is about to unfold. The occasional meetings with Grey’s charm and enigmatic reserve draw her in. Strangely, Ana is desperate to get closer to Grey, and with her beauty and wit on display, the guy wants her too. Their physical affair exposes Christian Grey’s dark secrets, his true desire for control, and the wildly erotic tastes that push the boundaries of pain and pleasure. Ana resists the man, but not for long.
The film trilogy series stars Dakota Johnson (Anna) and Jamie Dornan (Grey) as the lead characters. The balance of character development and sexual dynamics is a stand-out feature in this novel. Despite the writing not being exemplary, Grey’s character in the book holds the plot’s weight. How he oscillates between the questionable possessive and sociopathic tendencies and trying to come to terms with his feelings for Ana makes for good listening.
I have to admit, Anastacia is not well written either in this twisted love tale. It’s hard to see how such a clumsy, naive, and immature person survives in the real world. You may wish to root for her badly, but the author doesn’t give much to hold on to. Anna’s lack of self-awareness and critical thinking means she remains controlled by the exploits of one tyrannical and possessive man.
Understanding the influence of Fifty Shades of Grey
The Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon came with its fair share of important conversation around it. At best, the critical reception for the novel is a mixed one. The erotic romance genre makes up nearly 25% of all fiction sales in the US, second only to general fiction. It explains why newer writers flock to such genres.
Following the success and expectations set by E L James’ debut novel, ravenous fans from fanfiction forums kept clamoring for more sequels. If a sequel happened not to involve the dominant-submissive relationship between Christian Grey and Anastacia Steele, the reader feedback was inevitably that of disappointment. Numerous reviews have cited poor quality of the writing in the romance novel.
Fifty Shades of Grey audiobook is intended for mature audiences or anyone who wishes to experience more niche sexual fetishes being brought to the fore. E L James admitted to lurking in some of the darker corners of the internet devoted to sexual bondage techniques and accessories for this book’s research. The sex scenes are explicit, extensive, and boundary-pushing. The abundance of whips, gags, and peculiar safe words have been adopted by people when engaging in rough sex.
While Fifty Shades might have encouraged people to be more adventurous in the bedroom, Christian Grey himself is frowned upon in the BDSM community. The consensus is that the man is egotistical, abusive, and no accurate representation of BDSM. The author’s lack of knowledge in BDSM is reflected in how she writes this kind of book. Some people argue that the fine line between abuse and pleasure is so thin it’s almost non-existent.
Should you listen to the Fifty Shades of Grey audiobook?
For the exact reasons above, you should listen to the audiobook for yourself and make your informed opinion about the hype and controversy surrounding this audiobook. It’s also easy to follow.
The reading of Fifty Shades of Grey book is presented by none other than love story reader Becca Battoe. If you love listening to audiobooks during the long commute, then the impeccable Rebecca Battoe should get you through 19 hours and 48 minutes of your ride. Becca Battoe continues her narration in the other Fifty Shades series.
The Fifty Shades of Grey audiobook version is available to listen to on Audible for free online. You can sign up to be a member if you don’t have an account, add the title of this audiobook or any other from the author to your shopping cart, and then make your order. The kindle and paperback versions are available on Amazon.
It was banned at libraries in Florida, Wisconsin, and Georgia, due to the erotic content. Three years after the books first became available, Malaysia’s Home Ministry banned the Fifty Shades of Grey books after forbidding cinemas from screening the movie adaptation. The ministry argued that the books were a threat to morality. Its movie adaptation has been banned in several countries because it has “too many steamy scenes.”
Yes, Ana was still a virgin when she first met Grey.
You can look up this list of books which I feel provide a way better angle for erotica that’s not necessarily too explicit: The Steele Stories” (Stark International Trilogy) by J. Kenner, The Breathless Trilogy by Maya Bank, and The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz.