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Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

If you're a regular reader of My Book Retreat, you'll know I don't generally read romance novels or erotica. The only reason I paid $9.99 to read Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James is because several of my friends were reading it. I don't usually read books for that reason, but I just couldn't resist with this one.

Honestly, I cannot figure out why this has received so much hype. In reality, it's a standard romance novel ~ similar to the ones I read in my teens and 20s, with a little (and I really mean little) BDSM thrown in. It's a typical boy meets girl story, where there's instant attraction, even though neither of them is usually that attracted to others. Then there's the whole issue of one of them not being willing to commit and the other trying to change them. You could say that both of them are unwilling to commit in this case: he doesn't want to give more than a dominant/submissive relationship at first, and she doesn't want to commit to that kind of relationship. But in general, it's really just the same storyline as any other romance novel. Except it's not very well written...

I will say it was better than I had expected. I thought it was going to be more erotica and less storyline. There's a bigger storyline in that they actually have a bit of a relationship, or at least try to, but then it isn't very erotic because of that. I expected a lot of BDSM but there wasn't hardly any. What they did do was extremely mild and I think would mostly fit within a regular romance novel. Really not very shocking, at least in my opinion.

I guess I just don't see the big deal about it. But if you want to hop on the bandwagon, as I did, feel free to check it out. It's only the price of a couple lattes from Starbucks!

My rating: 2/5

This review was written based on a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey that I purchased.


  1. Hi Julie!

    Ah, I am SO glad to hear the opinion of someone who is a true, avid reader. I have a number of friends who've read this book and think it's the most amazing thing to hit bookshelves since...well, anything. But these particular friends aren't normally readers and therefore have no basis for comparison.

    I'm not a hater of this book by any means. (I haven't read it.) But with all the mixed reviews and the problems with the prose, I'm surprised it's gotten so much attention. There are so many wonderful, intelligent (even silly, if that's what you like) books out there for people to choose from. It's a shame those other books aren't getting the same level of attention.

    Glad I stopped by! Loved the honest review.

  2. Cool to see you read it Julie. I loved the first one, very entertaining and modern in my mind.

    I agree with the BDSM though, it is a real lifestyle and not tons in the story but I found many against the book because of it.

    Not great writing but I loved it for the emails, the music, the boy toys, the suspense of their relationship, etc. I was able to look past it. I'm VERY glad I read before all the hype though.

  3. You have supported the same impression I have heard from others - poorly written, sorta sexy, what's the big deal? lol

    I haven't tried it myself yet but might once the library copies are not in such demand - definitely not going to spend $$ on it, though!

    Thanks for the review -



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