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Book review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Published: 11:14AM Friday May 04, 2012

"Discover the books everyone's talking about..." promises the cover blurb and so my entree into the 'erotic' world of E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey begins.

The runaway best-seller started life in a very low key fashion as Twilight fan fiction. Originally posted under title Master of the Universe, it cornered its genre in the e-book market and its publishing house has scrambled to get the title into your local book store. Screen rights have been snaffled up by Universal Pictures for a goodly sum and so the 'Fifty Shades' phenomenon just keeps on growing.

But to the novel. It's been described as 'mummy porn' - the book that's electrified women across the globe and has garnered the title 'the hottest book in the world.' Why? Because E L James has strung together a fairly innocuous romance between two cookie-cutter personalities who go at it like rabbits and who have a penchant for nookie with a twist.

It's Disney's Beauty and the Beast with 'extras'. The tortured anti-hero of the book is impossibly rich ex-orphan (!) Christian Grey who (feisty yet vulnerable!) heroine Anastasia Steele meets when she interviews him for her college newsletter.

From the moment she 'stumbles' (an adorable trip-up!) through the entrance to his office, the virginal graduate is smitten and awed by Christian's handsomeness and powerful aura.

He is mesmerised by this gawky yet beautiful young woman, who he immediately susses would play perfectly the role of his next 'submissive' - a sex toy to dominate and boss around - as he, Christian is A Dominant. Yep, it's hard to find the perfect man - talk about putting a twist on the traditional 'he's got issues' plot-line.

And so what follows is a few hundred pages of Christian trying to have his wicked way with Ana - all the while her feisty, inquisitive nature keeps challenging Christian - intriguing and frustrating him, but making them both come back for more, more, MORE!

That's about all I need to say about this book - if you're no literary purist, and you're keen on a spicy winter read that might stir a few cockles in places other than the heart, then grab a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.

I'm not tempted by the next two books in the trilogy, as I suspect it will be more variation on the same theme. Plus Ana the heroine has some really annoying traits and expressions, that make you want to -well, pardon the pun, slap her.

But 'Respect' to the woman who's spun a publishing phenomenon and a $5 million dollar film deal out of a little book that dares.

Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed by EL James
Random House New Zealand
RRP $19.99
Available now