Upon finishing the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy by E.L. James, two thoughts crossed my mind. One, no mother should know if her daughter read this book. Two, who would be caught dead reading this in public?
The romance novel between the S&M dominator Christian Grey and his partner Anastasia Steele doesn’t leave much to the imagination, as their sexual relationship is explicitly documented through all three books. While at first one might wonder what pervert wrote this book, as the love story between Ana and Christian progresses, one can see that there is a method to the madness.
Mollie Weiss, a senior majoring in English, points out that while you want Christian to fall in love with Ana, you can’t help but hate her a little bit too.
“While reading, you’re confronted with all the immature tendencies Ana has as a young woman, and you can’t help but love her [and] hate her as she struggles to find consistency in her very erratic relationship,” Weiss said.
As the reader watches Christian struggle with his role of dominator, we’re not sure if he wants to hurt Ana or not, and it’s almost a relief to read something so honest. James holds back no details in their sexual relationship, but not to shock readers. Rather, James exposes both Ana and Christian in the raw. Readersare able to get a sense of the relationship physically, emotionally and mentally, and are unable to stop reading.
Andrew Kaminsky, a junior majoring in accounting, doesn’t consider the book “mommy porn,” as many readers do.
“While the book has many sexual aspects to it, it seems to really help the reader get in touch with their personal and emotional self, regardless of the physical aspect,” Kaminsky said.
Not only does James track the passion that normally goes unspoken, but she also takes you on the psychological journey of the innocent Ana. Even when she is offered all the money in the world from Christian, she still begs for love. That’s original, at least.
In an environment where materialistic shows like “Millionaire Matchmaker” and “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” dominate culture, it’s comforting to see a character that values the emotional bond between two people more than million-dollar apartments, fancy cars and five-star dinners. Rather than degrading women, the book celebrates the ultimate love story and the ability of a modern-day Cinderella to rise up and meet her match.
Jillian Ruffo, a junior majoring in English, explained why once you start reading the book, you can’t put it down.
“You’re stuck with Ana on this emotional roller coaster as you learn to understand how Christian has such a pull on her, and why she ends up accepting such a situation at all,” Ruffo said.
Ultimately, female readers can connect with Ana, S&M or not. It appears that most women can relate to the situation where they’re drawn to a relationship in which they want to save the man they love from his personal demons. And in terms of a fairy tale, it seems Ana lives pretty happily-ever-after.
As E.L. James ends her trilogy with the words “That’s all for now,” readers are left with the desire of wanting more. So do the characters in her book.