“Fifty Shades of Grey,” written by E.L. James, is currently the fastest-selling paperback of all time, furiously beating Harry Potter (if only he used his wand for something other than shooting dementors). 40 million copies have already been sold “” that’s 40 million satisfied readers all over the whole world. The book has been translated into 37 other languages, filling the hole dividing the world. The political and cultural unity that this book provides is impossible to measure, but I can tell you how this book opened my eyes to the real world.
For those that haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing “Fifty Shades of Grey,” some background might be necessary because it might get overwhelming. There are only a handful of characters, places and plot twists but the various fetishes and acts might make you flustered and confused. The book chronicles the adventures of Anastasia Steele and her “encounters” with a young and wealthy man named Christian Grey. Anastasia is a clean and innocent college student introduced to the world of Christian Grey’s bedroom: a room filled with tools that wouldn’t be out of place during the Spanish Inquisition.
The “tell, not show” quality of writing that E.L. James uses doesn’t detract from the most important elements of the story; the reader doesn’t have to worry about understanding messy character arcs or plots “” any thought, emotion or development is merely just voiced by the characters for the reader’s easy consumption. James shows her depth with characters having meaningful introspection and sensitive topics like molestation and S&M, but she really shines when she judiciously decides to quickly end these little digressions “” she is fully aware that my needs and wants, I mean her reader’s, are better served by coming back to what’s really important “” sexual innuendos and more, and I mean a lot more, sexual encounters.
I’ve gushed endlessly about the technical and creative skill required to write such a compelling tale but there are detractors who nay-say (mostly citizens from Ponyville). Even with my highly critical eye turned on “” taking every detail inside me, over and over again “” there just aren’t very many valid complaints against the book. The one flaw that I see in the book is with Anastasia Steele. In every scene, she has thought after thought about how much she wants to be with Christian Grey. He gives her what every girl secretly wants from her casual sex partner: first-edition copies of a book series, a laptop (only as a loaner though, he doesn’t want her getting the wrong idea), a set of dietary, sartorial and physical do’s and don’ts, a non-disclosure agreement contract, complete and utter emotional detachment and complete and utter dominance. Yet when he voices his desire to whip her and make her a submissive to his dominance, she hesitates and balks at the idea! Fortunately, the “awesomely hot body” of Christian Grey proves too much for her willpower so she submits to his desires.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” has transcended from its humble origins as Twilight fanfiction into the upper echelon of groundbreaking works like Great Gatsby or The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man that explore the complexity of humanity and life. It touches every part of the reader’s soul, mind and body “” especially the body. E.L. James has managed to write a novel that will prove to be one of the defining moments of our generation.
John Mendiola is the Web Master and an Arts & Entertainment Reporter for the Trinitonian. He is a senior computer science and communication major from Houston, Texas (though originally Manila, Philippines). This is his 4th year working for the newspaper.