I’m Reading 50 Shades of Grey… So You Don’t Have To (It’s a working title) pt.1

Note to self: I should really come up with a shorter (better) title for this blog category.

Side tangent: I was thinking of creating a an entire blog for this blog project but 50 Shades of Grey is not that much of an incentive. So any suggestions on a better title would be appreciated.


In the first page of the book, we learn that E.L. James (author) is a former T.V executive, wife and a mother of two. Her Wikipedia page informs us that E.L stands for Erika Leonard. That she is married to Niall Leonard, a screenwriter/director (no Wikipedia link). And that she wrote a Twilight fanfiction under the pen name ‘Snowqueens Icedragon’. Let’s take a moment to let that sink in.

E.L James dedicates 50 Shades of Grey to her husband Niall,

the master of my universe

If you know the history of 50 Shades of Grey, her dedication would make sense to you. Let’s assume you have better things to do other than Googling facts about 50 Shades, so let me give you a brief history of this fastest selling paperback of all time. 50 Shades was the spawn of E.L James’ “midlife crisis, writ large. All my fantasies in there, and that’s it.” Apparently she was bored and wrote a Twilight fan fiction entitled Master of the Universe. Overwhelmed by the success of her diversion, she proceeded to write a novel, using the same characters but with a different plot line. I have no links for said fan fiction. I’ll leave that Googling to your own volition.

So now that we’re caught up with who’s to blame for this book, which was aptly described to be as “out of a 16 year old’s fantasy” let’s proceed with Chapter 1.


Chapter 1.1 – Anastasia Steele: A second rate version of Isabella Swan(?)

E.L. James spared no expense in telling us that the protagonist is incredibly insecure about her physicality and one who easily succumbs to someone’s will (especially when someone is good looking). If someone tells you the summary of 50 Shades of Grey – Average girl falls in love with a rich handsome guy who hires her to be his BDSM partner – by reading Chapter 1, it already made sense.

We meet Ana Steele getting ready to do an interview a mega-industrialist tycoon she has never heard of. She has issues with her hair and face (average girl), instinctively telling us that Ana Steele is a low-maintenance type of girl.

I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up. My only option is to restrain my wayward hair in a ponytail and hope that I look semi-presentable. (pg.3)

She has been reluctantly volunteered for said interview by her sick friend/roommate Katherine Kavanagh (I can’t). Apparently this is some sort of ‘make or break’ interview for her friend so she relents. We learn that Kate is the bossy type. Probably the kind of friend that tells insecure Ana, “are you kidding me! YOU’RE gorgeous!” Kate is also

gamine and gorgeous, strawberry blond hair in place and green eyes bright (pg.4)

Pretty much the total opposite of our heroine.

I have a sinking suspension that Kate is only friends with Ana because of her pushover qualities and secretly talks about her (with her cooler friends) behind her back.

I cannot believe Kate let me talk me into this. But then Kate can talk anyone into anything. (pg.4)

Not all of us Ana. Not all of us.

The author gives us an impression that Ana is the type of girl that rarely goes out. This may also mean that she’s single (assuming) or have never dated before. That she’s the type to describe herself as a nerd. Sure, I get the appeal.

To be honest, I prefer my own company, reading a classic British novel, curled up in a chair in the campus library.(pg.6)

What I don’t get is that she admits to being a total dork yet always finds a way to correct herself. Like rolling her eyes on her thoughts, tells herself to “get a grip”. This girl has no reigns to her own personality whatsoever.

Maybe Ana’s insecurities isn’t entirely unreasonable. We discover that she is poverty-stricken, or at least compared to her friend Kate, who owns a Mercedes CLK (probably E.L. James dream car) and compared to her old VW Beetle that she lovingly calls Wanda…

Kate's 'Merc'

Kate’s ‘Merc’

Probably Wanda

Probably Wanda


the Merc is a fun drive, and the miles slip away as I hit the pedal to the metal.(pg.4)

I cringed at the phrase pedal to the metal. It sounded like someone who is trying very very hard to appear and sound cool. Classic Ana!

The more you read the more you realize how immensely flawed Ana is to the point of being unforgivable. You think, no one acts like this anymore!, specially not one who is college educated (WSU Vancouver). Is this this girl’s first time in the world?Besides physical insecurities, being a weakling, and a klutz, she is completely unprofessional! With the ways things are going with this character, you’d hope the sex part would make up for it. *crosses fingers* 

Ana makes it through with her interview with the “enigmatic” Christian Grey (who we’ll discuss later). It was no surprise that Ana finds him attractive, being it’s her first time to see a man. Oh it isn’t? Then why don’t she act like it isn’t? Besides obvious displays of her lack of interviewing skills, Ana makes a home run by blindly asking Grey questions that was already prescribed for her by Kate. The girl can’t even read! Oy vey!

But Ana is not all that bad. When she founds out that Grey is nothing more than a slightly older business man, who just got lucky (her words not mine), she showed some bravado during the interview, even going as far as calling Grey a “control freak”(pg.8). Now, I’m not a journalist but I’m pretty sure it’s not standard protocol to call the subject a “control freak”. But I guess Grey finds her defection “cute”, or so she thinks. Oh Ana!

The title mentions that Ana is a second rate version of Isabella Swan. Isabella, or Bella, is the main female character of Twilight. This started as a fan fiction of that after all.  Assuming you haven’t, or don’t intend to read Twilight either, at some point we’ll make comparisons as to how both are similar and also how they differ.

I didn’t anticipate how incredibly taxing this will be for me and probably for you. But let’s not give up on this mousy character just yet.


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