Anatomy of a Book: Fifty Shades of Grey, by EL James

Hmm, single man reads smut? or eligible bachelor reads a book?
Single man reads smut? or eligible bachelor reads a book?

“What a pleasure to meet you,” she murmurs. (p.145)

This is the first book of the Fifty Shades series.

“Dr. Trevelyan-Grey,” I murmur. (p.146)

They are big sellers, controversial and are being made into films.

“Did he now?” Christian murmurs… (p.146)

The success isn’t due to the writing but because it follows the basic rule of giving the audience what they want.

I taste the saltiness on his thumb and the faint metallic tang of blood. Holy fuck. This is wrong, but holy hell is it erotic. (p.120)

And it uses all the basic structure.

Changing Status:

Characters that change status are interesting. Anastasia is a virgin, she works on low wage, borrows her friend’s nice clothes and drives a near broken down car. Christian engages in BDSM sex, is a multi-millionaire, fly’s a helicopter and drives high performance cars. To be together they’ll have to change.

High Stakes:

This is a romance novel. There are simple divisions that need to be overcome so that the lovers can be in love.

Page Turner:

The Da Vinci Code was classic at having a fast pace and leaving questions and jeopardy at the end of each chapter. A similar method is used here. Also, as with Da Vinci Code, humour and a clear writing style helps any level of reader turn the pages. In many ways it’s writtien like a Matthew Reilly action novel.

Believable Characters:

Anastasia is for the romance reader to identify with. Christian is the good guy with bad boy tendencies for the reader to desire. It is irrelevant that Anastasia, a literature student, is narrating this story with a low vocabulary or that Christian’s great wine knowledge is technically poor. They’re not real world believable. They are romantic-novel believable.


What is a BDSM relationship and what is it like?


Some debates concentrate on the sexual content, which involve acts of the Dominant and Submissive role playing culture. To deride the sexual element people debase the writing. It is not Mozart in prose but then it never pretends to be.

Some debates consider issues of gender power and equally, his stalking, her impressionable naivety, and the topic of if BDSM as abuse. These could have been more stridently argued but the text serves its purpose. Together with a classy cover, thick size and romantic structure it is excellent marketing.

The book’s aim is to entertain, gives the romance reader something to fidget over, and show a different world. A better written book with more research, balance, real characters, police involvement and accuracy would not sell to the same market.

**This book has been reviewed by reader request. If you have a request for Anatomy of a Book then make contact. “We aim to please,” (p.502).**


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