Series Saturday: Fifty Shades by EL James

[important]This post will contain some spoilers so if you haven’t read the books please beware that I talk specifically about certain things in the books. It is also the longest post I’ve ever done.[/important]

On Monday EL James was on Katie Couric’s new show, and out of curiosity I watched it. I have to admit that after watching her interview I finally broke down and read this series and I have to admit I am completely in love with Christian Grey. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this series because I have heard so much about it, good and bad. So while I was reading I kept those things in the back of my head and thought about them. I do also have to point out that several months ago I had a conversation with an author about this series and she told me I would like them and to read them. She was right I did. I even got an I told you so from her 😀

The number one thing for me that I heard every where (except from romance readers who have read BDSM books before) was that Christian beat Ana. I have to say that when I got the part they had to be talking about, I thought to myself did these people read the same book I did? Because if they had they would have known that after it was over Ana left him, in fact right after this is her reaction..

“This is what you really like? Me, like this?” I use the sleeve of the bathrobe to wipe my nose.

He gazes at me warily.

“Well, you are one fucked-up son of a bitch.”

“Ana,” he pleads, shocked.

“Don’t you dare ‘Ana’ me! You need to sort your shit out, Grey!” And with that, I turn stiffly, and I walk out of the playroom, closing the door quietly behind me.

One of the other things that I heard was how F’d up the whole BDSM thing was. What they (those who very obviously never read the book) didn’t pay attention to was the pages of D/s contract that was in the book. In fact I found this really fascinating. And the fact that they discussed it. How even though she’d never had a boyfriend or even had gotten herself off she knew what things were a hard line with her and non-negotiable.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Issues Date: May 24 2011 00:02

To: Christian Grey

Dear Mr. Grey Here is my list of issues. I look forward to discussing them more fully at dinner on Wednesday. The numbers refer to clauses:

2: Not sure why this is solely for MY benefit – i.e. to explore MY sensuality and limits. I’m sure I wouldn’t need a ten-page contract to do that! Surely this is for YOUR benefit.

4: As you are aware you are my only sexual partner. I don’t take drugs, and I’ve not had any blood transfusions. I’m probably safe. What about you?

8: I can terminate at any time if I don’t think you’re sticking to the agreed limits. Okay – I like this.

9: Obey you in all things? Accept without hesitation your discipline? We need to talk about this.

11: One month trial period. Not three.

12: I cannot commit every weekend. I do have a life, or will have. Perhaps three out of four?

15.2: Using my body as you see fit sexually or otherwise – please define “or otherwise.”

15.5: This whole discipline clause. I’m not sure I want to be whipped, flogged, or corporally punished. I am sure this would be in breach of clauses 2-5. And also “for any other reason”. That’s just mean – and you told me you weren’t a sadist.

15.10: Like loaning me out to someone else would ever be an option. But I’m glad it’s here in black and white.

15.14: The Rules. More on those later.

15.19: Touching myself without your permission. What’s the problem with this? You know I don’t do it anyway.

15.21: Discipline – Please see clause 15.5 above.

15.22: I can’t look into your eyes? Why?

15.24: Why can’t I touch you?

Rules: Sleep – I’ll agree to 6 hours. Food – I am not eating food from a prescribed list. The food list goes or I do – Deal breaker. Clothes – as long as I only have to wear your clothes when I’m with you… okay. Exercise – We agreed 3 hours, this still says 4. Soft Limits: Can we go through all of these? No Fisting of any kind. What is suspension? Genital Clamps – you have got to be kidding me.

Can you please let me know the arrangements for Wednesday? I am working until 5pm that day.

Good night.


One thing that impressed my with the books is that EL James gives a fairly accurate look into what a child from an abusive home and then in the foster care would go through. The anger, destruction, not being able to handle touch. Christian has RDD -reactive detachment disorder, and a sensory integration disorder. He also suffers from extreme physical abuse. All of this takes place before he is four. For those of you who say that is not possible I have to tell you that I have lived this with my oldest son. In fact the more of Christian’s life we got to see the more I saw my son, and that if it hadn’t been for a behavioral specialist a lot like Dr. Flynn Christian’s psychiatrist my son would have gone the same route Christian did before Mrs. Robinson (I’ll talk about that later).

One of the theme’s that I really liked is that of compromise. There is a lot of compromise in Christian and Ana’s relationship. For Christian he wouldn’t do any of the hardcore BDSM that he had done in the past, in fact they only things they would do was the soft BDSM things, things that the majority of us, when we’re honest about it, like in the bedroom or fantasize about. For Ana the compromise came in that she accepted the clothes, car, phone and computer from Christian.

Until Ana Christian hadn’t really let his family close to him. While he loved them, he couldn’t let them physically touch him nor tell them that he loved them. For the longest time my oldest would only let me touch him when he needed to be carried and or cared for. So this scene brought me back to that time.

“Why don’t you like to be touched?” I whisper, staring up into soft gray eyes.

“Because I’m fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia.” Oh… his honesty is completely disarming. I blink up at him.

“I had a very tough introduction to life. I don’t want to burden you with the details. Just don’t.” He strokes his nose against mine.

A lot of this I think was because instead of helping him deal with his anger and abuse, Mrs. Robinson exacerbated it. When he lets her get physically close to him by drawing on himself with lipstick. This is one of the most powerful scene’s I have ever read where one of the characters has been abused.

“Press down,” he breathes, and my mouth goes dry as he directs my hand down, from the top of his shoulder, around his arm socket then down the side of his chest. The lipstick leaves a broad, livid red streak it in its wake. He stops at the bottom of this ribcage then directs me across his stomach. He tenses and stares, seemingly impassive, into my eyes, but beneath his careful blank look, I see his restraint.

His aversion is held in strict check, the line of his jaw is strained, and there’s tension around his eyes. Midway across his stomach he murmurs, “And up the other side.” He releases my hand.

I mirror the line I’ve drawn on his left side. The trust he’s giving me is heady but tempered by the fact that I can I count his pain. Seven small, round white scars dot his chest, and it’s deep, dark purgatory to see this hideous, evil desecration of his beautiful body. Who would do this to a child?

“There, done,” I whisper, containing my emotion. “No, you’re not,” he replies and traces a line with his long index finger around the base of his neck. I follow the line of his finger with a scarlet streak. Finishing, I gaze into the gray depths of his eyes.

“Now my back,” he murmurs. He shifts so I have to climb off him, then he turns around on the bed and sits cross-legged with his back to me.

“Follow the line from my chest, all the way round to the other side.” His voice is low and husky.

I do as he says until a crimson line runs across the middle of his back, and as I do, I count more scars marring his beautiful body. Nine in all.

Holy fuck. I have to fight the overwhelming need to kiss each one and stop the tears pooling in my eyes. What kind of animal would do this? His head is down, and his body tense as I complete the circuit round his back

. “Around your neck, too?” I whisper. He nods, and I draw another line joining the first around the base of his neck beneath his hair.

“Finished,” I murmur, and it looks like he’s wearing a bizarre skin-colored vest with a harlot-red trim. His shoulders slump as he relaxes, and he turns slowly to face me once again.

“Those are the boundaries,” he says quietly, his eyes dark and pupils dilated . . . from fear? From lust? I want to hurl myself at him, but I restrain myself and gaze at him in wonder.

Ok now on the Mrs. Robinson part, Through out all three books there is a conflict between Christian and Ana and that is how Christian came to be in the BDSM lifestyle. When he was 15 he was seduced by his mom’s friend and from the time he was 15-21 he was her submissive. He could never see anything wrong about this because he claims she saved him. Until the end of the series he couldn’t see how what she did was wrong. That she sexually abused him. I wish I could find the excerpt where Ana calls her a pedophile but I can’t 🙁

Now for the sex. I’ve heard that this series was almost all sex. So I really paid attention to when the first sex scene took place. It was chapter TEN in the first book. And then from there I would have to say that the amount of sex was the normal for most romance books that are this same length. In fact I’ve read regular romance books with much more sex.

Then there is the sub plots that are going on that impact Christian and Ana and their relationship. These are very well done and add to the depth of the story.

Overall I have to admit that this is one of the best love stories I’ve read. You have two people one who has lived an isolated life because of her personality and one who was physically abused as a toddler, and then sexually as a teenager. For while Christian is twenty seven, emotionally he is an adolescent, and Ana is a shy, naive twenty two year old. They manage to compliment each other and help each other grow.

The depth of emotional growth of both of them is clear to see from book one to book three. The story never falters and in fact moves at a really good pace.

One of my favorite parts of the story was the emails between them. It’s in these emails that we really get to see the relationship develop and insights into the real Christian.

For me even though the story was told from Ana’s point of view exclusively (something I’m not a giant fan of) I honestly felt like this was Christian’s story. Maybe I’m a little sensitive about the reason’s for why Christian is the way he is because like I said earlier I have a son who had the same rough start to life.

One of the complaints I’ve heard was the editing, and I’ll be honest because I read so many ARC’s that still have edits that are being done I honestly didn’t notice any major problems. I think those that are complaining are the grammar police and as I could care less about them it didn’t take away from the story for me at all.

Now that I’ve shared all of this I can tell you that for me this was an excellent read and I will be reading it again.

If you want another POV about this series Carly Phillips wrote an excellent post about it, that you can find here. Well I can’t say that it is another pov as we both loved the series but it is a different take. Mine is from that of a reader and mom with her own mini version of Christian, and her’s is from that of an author and reader.

If you like damaged heroes, a heroine who is determined to make the hero see that he is more than he thinks he is, some pretty hot sex, and lots of attitude then you shouldn’t miss this series, I say series because you need to read the books back to back to really appreciate the depth of the story.


FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: When college student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating.  The unworldly Ana realizes she wants this man, and Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian’s secrets and explores her own desires.

FIFTY SHADES DARKER: Daunted by Christian’s dark secrets and singular tastes, Ana has broken off their relationship to start a new career. But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and while Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Ana is forced to make the most important decision of her life.

FIFTY SHADES FREED: Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to turn Ana’s deepest fears into reality.



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  2. Carly Phillips

    Can I admitted being the author who recommended this to you? 🙂 Hey I think it’s time for a reread for myself!

  3. TBRG (Post author)

    Yes you can admit that! I’ve already re-read portions of the series 🙂

  4. Janon

    Good write up! I also told you to read these books MONTHS ago! So glad you took someone’s advise (Carly) and finally read them. Overall I think these books have been great for our beloved romance genre and the authors who write romance. I hope that all or most romance authors have seen a boost in their book sales because off all the hype (good or bad) from the 50 Shades books.

  5. rosalina rusli

    i soo love this books… i reread this books and never get bored.
    5 stars on goodreads from me all three of them

  6. Pingback: Fifty Shades of Grey Movie |

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