It is a book that needs absolutely no introduction, but it does need plenty of explanation and clarification.

“Fifty Shades of Grey,” the title of which is a bit of word play that doubles as both the name of the sexually dominating Christian Grey and how the book takes place in a morally grey area, is not for those easily offended or squeamish due to its highly sexual content.

And that sexual content is where most of the water cooler conversation has stemmed from to create a New York Times bestselling novel from a book originally published as an e-book by a small company in Australia.

However, this book’s content is being blown out of proportion.  Described in The New York Times as “mommy porn,” this book is being depicted as a BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism) novel, but there are few times that Christian Grey actually does anything involving whips, bounds, gags, suspension or anything else remotely associated with the broad category of sexual acts BDSM represents.


In fact, most of the sex Anastasia Steele (most commonly referred to as Ana in the novel) has with Christian is quite normal.  To clarify what “normal” is, Christian refers to it as “vanilla” sex.

Yet there is so much sexual buzz for the book even though the most ‘unusual’ sexual scene is one in which Christian has sex with Ana while she is on her period.  The only time that their relationship could really be considered BDSM is when he “punishes” her with a belt.

With all this hype of it being a hardcore sex novel, the real deal fails to deliver on both the sexual exploits of the characters and the story.  Perhaps the greatest shortcoming of the novel is that the protagonist herself is so weak it is infuriating.  One giant question prevails throughout the novel: Why don’t you run away screaming from this maniac?  Christian spends the entire first half of the novel telling her he is a terrible person, then stalking her via her cell phone and then showing up, unsolicited, at the bar where she is and taking her away.  His only perks appear to be a devilish smile and a lot of money.

Not only does Anastasia have no willpower to avoid this man she is constantly referring to as “fifty shades of messed up,” but she is just an obnoxious person.  She has far too many alter egos.  She has herself, Anastasia; her subconscious thoughts; and the real treat, her “inner goddess.”


This inner goddess, referred to in this novel what seems like hundreds of times, is what can only be assumed to be Ana’s sex drive.  It is encouraging her have sex with Christian, and it often cheers, leaps around and feels insane pleasure during their sexual intercourse.

Despite all of this, this book is everywhere, and, like it or not, it is having a serious impact.  Time reported that this book is replacing the Bible in a hotel in England.  Entertainment Weekly commented that bookstore giant Barnes & Noble noted a less than average loss its first fiscal quarter, and that may be due to sales of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the other two books in the trilogy.

Book sales are not the only thing affected by the novel.  The New York Times has noted this book’s effect on libraries and censorship.  A library in Florida has taken the books off the shelves.  This brings up the issues of what qualifies as pornography and censorship.

This book has also ascended past topics based in the book world.  It has reached the point of endless internet buzz over the prospective film adaptation.  Debates about who will play the leads are everywhere, from Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame to Ian Somerhalder of “The Vampire Diaries.”

It is very clear that this highly talked about book is not going anywhere anytime soon.



Will is a senior English major with a serious passion for pop culture, TV, celebrities and lame movies, which led him to find his niche in the Arts & Entertainment section. He dedicates most of his free time to obsessing over Community (#sixseasonsandamovie) and spending time with his friends who manage to tolerate his incessant ramblings on the TV shows he watches. His life goal is to someday write for an entertainment magazine. He hopes his Cosmopolitan internship and the skills he picked up from The Statesman help him achieve that goal.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.