Wednesday, February 11, 2015


The fifty shades of phenomenon we love to hate. Could there be a success targeted more than E.L. James’ FIFTY SHADES of GREY?

For a time, I was aware yet, innocuous to the story’s actual premise. Influenced by chatter, I was naively under the impression it was nothing more than an erotic tale. Then suddenly, everyone is talking about it. The rumors were and still are brutal: “She can’t write. It’s repetitive. The main characters are a couple of schizophrenics. It’s the worst book I ever read.”

This combined with experience and my background left me baffled and far too intrigued. How could a book sell 20 million copies generating 145 million dollars of revenue in such a short period of time have nothing to offer? It simply had to be striking a deep seated chord within the reader’s psyche. As soon as I could muster the time, I downloaded the unabridged audio version and set out to see what all the fuss was about.

The truth is; FIFTY SHADES of GREY is a well thought through story about a deeply wounded man and the very young and naïve woman he longs to share a relationship with…At the root of his wounds, like many wounded individuals, everything is a magnification; an extremism that becomes the personal norm. In Christian Grey’s life, power, sex, money, and particularly trust are all contorted inside a man that is basically good.

For the reader FIFTY SHADES of GREY delves into the question: how far would you go to form a pact of trust with another human being?

Outside of sitcoms, society is familiar yet, shaded and bored with stories about the abused child that grows to become a deviant criminal, but they are mostly unaware of the stories about the alternative coping mechanisms. However unexpected the looming reality is individuals often learn to adapt in order to deal with the two war powers sparring within their damaged souls.

Christian Grey was born the son of a crack whore. Her evil pimp inflicted vile pain upon the young Christian. Compounding the abuse was his lack of basic needs being met. He was hungry and neglected. Abused and starving, upon the death of his mother, Christian is adopted by and affluent “good” family. Despite his good fortune, through adolescence he continues to find himself tossed into the darker side of humanity by yet another abuser.  Unfortunately, this does happen all too often.

The author brilliantly portrays an all too common syndrome that society prefers to overlook. Hyper-sexuality is a very real result of many types of abuse. On the other hand, trust is an issue the vast majority of the population longs for, and is acutely aware of their own deprivation. 
The story is told by Anastasia Steele the winner for better or worse of Christian Grey’s misunderstood affection. The two are very young. Anastasia in particular is only 21 years old. Staying true the character’s age and immaturity the verbiage is often repetitive, and perhaps for the love of the reader, should have received one more edit. However, the way it has been left is more true to life, sometimes it is about story not about a literary masterpiece.

FIFTY SHADES of GREY is a mature story teetering on the extremes. It peeks into a place where the dark needs and wants to meet the light halfway. 

My copy:
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Random House Audio