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Fifty Shades of Grey is fifty shades of shocking

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Warning: This article contains subject matter that may be disturbing to some readers

What could have happened in someone’s past to make them feel like they don’t deserve love, while at the same time giving them a seemingly chronic need to exert complete control over every single aspect of their life?

E. L. James attempts to answer this question in her erotic romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, the story of billionaire business tycoon Christian Grey, a man obsessed with authority not only in the business world, but in his personal life as well.

Grey thrives on domination in the bedroom and cannot let himself love someone. He only allows himself intimacy with women who agree to be submissive to his every desire.

His latest conquest, Anastasia Steele, is inexperienced in every way and completely naive to the sadomasochistic world of Christian Grey.

Anastasia is instantly drawn to Christian’s good looks and austere composure and, after meeting him while on an assignment for the university newspaper, is completely shocked when he asks her out on a date.

Little does she know that he has plans in mind for her that involves chains and whips.

Christian introduces her to his world slowly, first presenting her with a contract that outlines specifically what her role as submissive will be compared to his role as dominant.

It is not clear, however, if Anastasia will ever sign that contract, which explicitly instructs her on what she can and can’t eat, what she must wear, and the almost unbearable torture she must endure to please him.

Throughout this 514 page novel, James leaves readers guessing about what sexual escapade Christian will take Anastasia on next.

Sometimes the encounters are truly romantic; while other times the vivid description of the sadomasochist acts are hard to stomach.

For example, Christian gains sexual satisfaction from whipping her with a leather riding tack and forcing her to lay across his bed while he beats her with a belt.

Christian is not just some sexual freak, however. There are many levels to him, that Anastasia acknowledges as “fifty shades of f---ed up.”

He won’t permit Anastasia to get close to him, blocking romantic touches or words from her, and only allowing her to be with him on his terms. He cannot accept a normal girlfriend – Anastasia is his fifteenth submissive.

After spending more time with Christian, Anastasia learns that demons from his past have made him the person he is today.

Unless she can break through those hurtful barriers, she can never fully know the man she is falling in love with.

Fifty Shades of Grey raises many questions.

Will Anastasia be capable of breaking through Christian’s shell and get into his psyche, discovering his dark past? Or will his mental dominance and cruel physical punishments scare her away?

Will she ever sign that contract?

These questions, however, are not answered in this novel. Instead, James has written two subsequent novels, Fifty Shades of Dark and Fifty Shades of Freed, which delve deeper into the complex relationship between the two main characters.

One reader, Jessica Brown, senior education major has finished Fifty Shades of Grey, and is now almost finished reading the second novel.

“Well, Fifty Shades of Grey was not what I expected, but it was captivating” Brown said, “I wasn’t as shocked as I anticipated, but there were a few shocking moments.

“I had to start the second book immediately, after the way the first book ended,” concluded Brown.

Fifty Shades of Grey earns 5 out of 5 stars for content and 3 out of 5 stars for writing style, as the author’s ability to maintain a good structure throughout the novel is lacking.

Written by Kalyn McClellan | Staff Writer

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