So I finished the Fifty Shades trilogy earlier this week and I’ve pretty much already forgotten what happened in book two (I read it in one day so maybe I was a bit rushed and didn’t get to fully absorb the story). I read through the first two books rather quickly, but had to take a break when I got to the third. I guess I started to get bored of the story line. I think I went into this expecting something very specific and when it started veering away from that, I had to readjust my expectations. Overall though, they were very easy reads and I can see why the series was popular – it definitely appeals to the masses more than something more intellectual and it’s a nice escape into a world of “reality” that really is basically fantasy. I’ll want to check out the movie when it comes out, since I’m very curious which elements they’ll keep and also if they’ll be producing one movie per book or sort of roll it all into one. Read on for my thoughts on the books!
Spoiler alert! Don’t read on if you haven’t read the books and plan on it, unless you’re cool with spoilers.
Not that naughty
First of all, I expected the books to be much more naughty than I felt they were. I had this impression of women reading the novel blushing, so I thought there’d be some crazy stuff in there. Instead, I felt like most of the scenes were pretty tame considering what I imagine the world of BDSM can be like. Then again, if it was super intense it probably would have deterred much of the readership. Part of the popularity was probably due to the naughty enough but not too dirty content. Maybe my tolerance for erotica is higher than most. Funny since I’ve hardly read that genre.
Sense of confusion
When it comes to the plot, I started to get dizzy from the crazy back and forth mood swings. Like Ana constantly says, it’s all so mercurial. I didn’t like how she was always so concerned about really angering him. Whenever she stood up for herself, she’d immediately back down the moment she thought Christian was truly getting upset with her. I’ve definitely felt the confusion of trying to gauge a guy’s mood and it’s no fun, so in a way it brings back unpleasant memories. Speaking of confusion, I was reminded of times when I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I’ve had similar struggles of wondering, “Do I want this? Do I want him? How much?” When your heart and mind battle, it’s disorienting and very easy to lose yourself.
Workaholic with time?!
It didn’t seem realistic at all that Christian would just drop everything and go see (stalk) Ana while running this giant empire. Early on, that really threw me off because it just felt so impossible. I’ve never known someone that successful in business to be the type to stop working on the weekends or at night. Part of why they became so rich/powerful is because they’re insane workaholics. Ignoring all that to go chasing after some girl? Not likely. At least not to the extent that he was portrayed to be doing it. I did like that in the last book we begin to see him always taking care of work while being around Ana – that’s when it started to feel more realistic.
I can absolutely relate to Ana’s reaction to his wealth and his desire (need?) to buy her things. I’ve had to turn down some offers because I didn’t want to feel bought and I wanted the guy to know that I wasn’t using him for his money. I think wealthy men often use their money as a crutch to try to get what they want, rather than earning it more organically. Of course, I’m sure it works in some situations, but if you want my company and attention, it’s far better to earn it by being a good, interesting person. Otherwise, you might always wonder if I’m only staying because I like having a sugar daddy. In fact, Christian thought for a moment that maybe that’s what Anastasia was after all along when she was at the bank. But after you start getting more comfortable with the person, it’s nice to feel taken care of now and then. At that point it’s a matter of feeling in control of how much is spent on you. I’m ok with my meals being bought, but not my wardrobe. Every now and then I’d accept jewelry or a gadget or an accessory. However, I’m not comfortable with that until I’ve been with someone for awhile, since it feels more like an expression of affection than attempting to get affection by then. I’m sure plenty of people will criticize how Ana becomes rather complacent to the gift showering, but I can totally see where she’s coming from.
Open and honest
There were some conversations and interactions that I really enjoyed because Christian and Ana were being so open with each other. Sometimes it would be a blunt statement or matter-of-fact handling of an “embarrassing” situation, which is what I value in my relationships. I like being able to say or do pretty much anything and feel safe in sharing that. I think many relationships break down in this aspect and it’s one of the most important things to work on. If you can’t accept each other for being human with all the flaws that come with, it’s going to be a tough ride. And if you can’t trust someone enough to share your crazy flaws, your relationship will probably get stuck. I think I tend to be really open with people because I want to connect on a deeper level. If they can’t handle it… well, I guess that’s just too bad.
So easy to read you
I had to laugh at the parts where Ana kind of unintentionally gave away what was on her mind. I do that ALL THE TIME. In fact, last night I was out with friends and said too much and ended up having to share things that I wouldn’t have come up if I kept my mouth shut! Alas, once I open a can of worms I generally let them spill out and roll with it. After all, I’m super open, remember? But every now and then I keep putting it off and trying to close the lid when I feel it’s just not something we’d want to deal with. At least it mostly ends up being something like sharing a random embarrassing story (or picture) about myself, which I’m cool with. Let’s all have a laugh together!
I was not a fan of how the first book ended, but I’ve been through something just like it so I can see how it changes the dynamic of a relationship. I was reminded of the crushing feeling of hopelessness and immense sadness when you think the relationship is over, but your heart is not at all ready to accept it. I remember bawling my eyes out and basically wailing until my eyes and throat hurt. I wore myself out and then exhaustion took hold, when you’re just numb to everything. Much like Christian and Ana, Panda and I got through that time and he eventually saw that he wanted me enough to change (in our case he left me because he was starting school again and didn’t think he had time for me).
Broken man fixed
I felt like it was way too easy for Christian to change. While it’s much like what Panda and I went through, it certainly wasn’t that simple. Christian didn’t seem to struggle with his demons nearly as much I would have expected, if he’s really that scarred. It seemed more like Ana kept worrying about it, with Christian never bringing up trying to do more Red Room stuff. In fact, I don’t know if he would have ever tried anything without Ana asking him if he wanted to (and sometimes practically begging him to!).
Oh yes, that enclosed space where you know for a few seconds that nobody else will be there. So much can happen. So much has, at times. 😉
There’s one part where I believe Christian tells Ana that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. I have a friend who always told me that! Lol.
Who doesn’t like feeling good about themselves? The way that Christian treats Ana and always compliments her… reminds me of certain people and the way they make/made me feel. It makes me blush when people find me attractive, but generally I enjoy it if they’re not being too pushy. All the times that Christian buries his face in Ana’s hair or tells her how soft her skin is or how great she smells… ah yes, those are memories I have. I’m sure much of the appeal of these books is the fact that women would love to feel loved and cherished the way Ana is when Christian is appreciating her. Don’t we all have that inner goddess?
Subconscious and inner goddess
While we’re on that topic… I was pretty amused by the appearance of Ana’s subconscious and inner goddess. The interplay between them and her is quite interesting and I’ve definitely felt like I have both those in me too. What a fun way to personify that aspect.
Yeah, so another problem I have with this whole relationship is that they seem too perfect for each other. Christian never has nightmares when he’s with Ana? Really? They have perfect sex every time? Come on. This story is supposed to be based in reality, but some elements make it more fantastical than a story with unicorns and elves.
Fifty Shades Darker
I didn’t feel like the second book presented anything darker. Maybe it should have been lighter.
The character names? Ana Steele and Christian Grey, really? Isn’t that fitting the theme a little too well? Well, whatever, small bone to pick.
All in all the books were nice, easy reads. I found them to be a great way to get my mind off of my life and get lost in an incredulous one of Ana Steele/Grey. There were many elements I connected to and some that didn’t make sense, but hey fiction is for me to forget about reality so I could forgive it. I actually plan on reading this series again now that I know everything that went on. Maybe I’ll notice more interesting themes emerge.