Last paragraph has a huge Fifty Shades Freed spoiler, don't look if you haven't read it.
Given the fact it's open season for Fifty Shades with the second movie just hitting our big screen, I thought I would take a look at Grey. The retelling of the first book but viewed from the eyes of Christian Grey instead of Ana. Before anyone asks, no I will not be reviewing the Fifty Shades Freed book until the final film comes out, at which point I will compare the two like I have with the first two films.
As with all my reviews, I will be open and honest about what I think about the production. Starting with, when I first found out E L James had released the book Grey, my reaction was What is the point?. Surely she didn't need the money from a rebranding of the same book? Why would people read the same book all over again, but from a different viewpoint? Could Christian's ideas make such a difference?
Frankly, after reading it I have to say.
Seeing things through Christian's eyes gives a whole new dimension to the storyline. A depth of emotional feeling that was just lacking in the original Fifty Shades of Grey book. Yes, okay we still have the slightly tacky and overstated storyline. Overly full of sex scenes that really do not forward to plot at all. Sex scenes which frankly are not even that sexy to start with. We still see Ana being whiny and a little be pathetic. Billed as someone who challenges Grey, and makes him a new man. Yet, is a very bland character. Almost a Mary Sue shoved into a leading role she doesn't quite understand.
On the other side, we see much more of where Grey is coming from. His nightmares, how growing up with a mother who was an addict and her pimp deeply troubled him. To the point, even when he gained a new home with a loving family. He felt himself too damaged to be a part of this perfect family. Like he shouldn't be there at all. Hence the fighting, the being thrown out of schools and the eventual progression to becoming Elena's sub.
We see and understand far better why Grey has his wasted food issues as well as why he does all the charity work with those who are hungry. We see how a four-year-old child survived four days alone with his mother's body after she took the OD. How deeply those issues affect his day to day life even at 27.
We explore how deeply he is drawn to Ana, how much he wants her from the very start as well as how determined he is to have her, even if he has to give her more. Something that never crossed his mind until now. All from spending a single night laying next to her in bed when she was drunk. How he slowly starts to come to the idea that love isn't a bad thing.The amusement and happiness from everyone who knows him as they see the changes in him. The drastic mood swings and attitude adjustments from a single email from Ana.
I think Flynn sums up perfectly the character of Grey in this quote from near the end of the book:
Anastasia. She's obviously had a profound effect on you. Her leaving has triggered your abandionment issues and PTSD. She clearly means much more to you than you're willing to admit to yourself.
Four books, its taken E L James four books, just to say no! Christian, you are no sadist or dom. You are a broken little boy who needs help. Rolls eyes. Could we not have covered this in book one?
I have said before that the author's writing skills are limited, thankfully here she has learned enough that the book flows much better. She has delved into places that should have been expanded on at the editing stage. This is how Fifty Shades of Grey always should have been. As popular as the book series is, it would have gained far more popularity if the whole series had been as well thought out as this final piece. I almost hope she will continue rewriting them from Grey's view. I would be excited (oh god did I really say that?!) to see Christian's side of things such as the Leila issue, how he finally sees that Elena abused him and what he really thinks after he finds out he is going to be a father.
Sarah Beth James