I’ve read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy and you know what? It’s ok. As I was reading the first book – which Mr B bought for me – I thought it wasn’t that good – I kept reading everywhere that it was spectacularly bad and that EL James was a terrible writer. I kind of got caught up with anti James hype and started to say something along those lines myself. However, once I had finished the first book I ‘just wanted to know what happened next,’ so I downloaded the second book. And then the third. And I enjoyed them. But I still said, when asked, that they although I did enjoy them, they weren’t very good.
Yesterday my brother-in-law, who is halfway through the first book (Yes. Men are reading it too) asked me what I thought. I told him I enjoyed them but didn’t think they were very good. He asked, ‘in what way?’ and I reeled off the same nonsense I had said before. But his comment made me think. Really think. In what way are they terrible? Is EL James really such an awful writer? Well, she’s not the greatest writer, in my (now humbled) opinion. I found some of the scenes (yes, those ones) repetitive and predictable after a while, and Ana’s constant references to her ‘inner goddess’ were cringeworthy. For the most part… Except when they were so awful they made me laugh out loud. I’m not sure that was James’ intention but a good laugh doesn’t hurt, does it? And I found myself caring about the characters. I mean, let’s face it. I didn’t read all three books just for the sake of it. And that’s why I want to take back my earlier comments. Well, some of them.
So, no – El James is not the world’s greatest writer, and her books certainly won’t be on my ‘read again’ list. However, if you take the 50 Shades trilogy for what it is – which, essentially, is a modern ‘Pretty Woman’ style love story. Yes, with a lot more sex – then it’s not bad. I don’t want to give any spoilers but let’s just say that by the end of the trilogy most of my questions were answered and I wasn’t upset by the ending. I felt satisfied. Not as ‘full’ as when I read, say, ‘Of Bees and Mist,’ or ‘All my Friends are Superheroes,’ – my current favourites, but still. EL James, if you’re reading (and I doubt you have time), then I’m sorry. You did good. 50 Shades of Grey is ok. There, I said it. Yeah, it’s OK. Have you read it yet?