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Fifty Shades of Grey, Why such a fuss?

March 11, 2013

Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L James follows Anastasia or “Ana” Steele, a 22-year-old college senior who lives with her best friend Katherine or “Kate” Kavanagh who writes for their college’s students’ paper. One day, because of illness, Kate persuades Ana to take her place and interviews 27-year-old Christian Grey, an incredibly successful and wealthy young entrepreneur. It is (obviously) love at first sight but a dangerous kind of love. Indeed, that will bring the protagonist to accept the sexual drift of an imperious Christian Grey on all the fronts. A story, at first sight, rather common but which surprises us by its erotic passages, even SM.


Here’s a quick description of the two main characters:

Anastasia Steele is a young graduate of 22 years old, her hair is brown and she has blue eyes. She never had sexual or sentimental relations. Her biological father died shortly after her birth and her childhood was marked by the numerous remarriages of her mother.

Christian Grey  is a rich entrepreneur who has a lot of sucess with women. He is 27 years old and was adopted when he was 8 years old. He belongs to a family of three children (adopted too). He had a very difficult childhood and his adolescence made him a restless man.

The reception of the critics and the readers goes from mitigated to negative. The world agrees to categorize the book as a “Mommy porn”. Most of the critics agree on the absence of literary qualities of the text and on the big psychological weaknesses of the characters qualified as ectoplasms by few critics. However, some critics find the book rather pleasant to read. Some even say  it can make you spend a good time. To the foolishness of the heroine, they prefer undoubtedly Christian Grey, the dominant,  multifaceted enigmatic character. They assert that  the sex is not dominating in the narrative: the readers follow a real evolution of the psyche of the characters (Anastasia’s assertion in front of Christian, his personality’s change).

extract from an article on (

Fifty Shades book burning call by abuse charity

A charity for abuse victims is planning to burn copies of an erotic bestseller.

Fifty Shades – a trilogy about a steamy romance between a businessman and a student – contains themes of sadism and masochism.

Clare Phillipson, of Wearside Women in Need, said the theme was “vile” and urged women to drop off copies to her Washington office for a bonfire on 5 November.

Publisher Random House said: “The sex scenes are entirely consensual.”

Ms Phillipson, who said she had read two-thirds of the first book before she gave up “in disgust”, said she was furious that libraries throughout the North East were ordering extra copies of the trilogy to cope with demand.



In France, the book especially drew the attention as a pornographic book, what the author rejects and condemns. In the face of  comparisons with erotic novels by the journalists and the literary critics, E.L. James reminds firmly that ” the narratives of the Marquis de Sade are not love stories. My novel is a love story “.

Faced with such success on the Internet, the English writer decided to publish her fiction in her country and on the international stage. The trilogy has become a best-seller, going as far as dethroning JK Rowling in sales.

Welcome to 21st century literature ! (irony !)

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