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Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian (Fifty Shades Of Grey Series, 4) Paperback – June 18, 2015
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E L James revisits the world of Fifty Shades with a deeper and darker take on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the globe.
"I've never felt this desire, this . . . hunger before. It's a new feeling, new and shiny. I want so much from her: her trust, her obedience, her submission. I want her to be mine, but right now . . . I'm hers."
Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him—past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian's cold, wounded heart.
Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?Discover the world of Fifty Shades of Grey:
- An Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller
- More than 165 Million Copies Sold Worldwide
- One of 100 Great Reads in the Great American Read
- 133 Weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List
This book is intended for mature audiences.
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About the Author
E L James is an incurable romantic and a self-confessed fangirl. After twenty-five years of working in television, she decided to pursue a childhood dream and write stories that readers could take to their hearts. The result was the controversial and sensuous romance Fifty Shades of Grey and its two sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. In 2015, she published the #1 bestseller Grey, the story of Fifty Shades of Grey from the perspective of Christian Grey, and in 2017, the chart-topping Darker, the second part of the Fifty Shades story from Christian’s point of view. She followed with the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Mister in 2019. Her books have been published in fifty languages and have sold more than 165 million copies worldwide.
E L James has been recognized as one of Time magazine’s "Most Influential People in the World" and Publishers Weekly’s "Person of the Year." Fifty Shades of Grey stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 133 consecutive weeks. Fifty Shades Freed won the Goodreads Choice Award (2012), and Fifty Shades of Grey was selected as one of the 100 Great Reads, as voted by readers, in PBS’s The Great American Read (2018). Darker was long-listed for the 2019 International DUBLIN Literary Award.
She was a producer on each of the three Fifty Shades movies, which made more than a billion dollars at the box office. The third installment, Fifty Shades Freed, won the People’s Choice Award for Drama in 2018. E L James is blessed with two wonderful sons and lives with her husband, the novelist and screenwriter Niall Leonard, and their West Highland terriers in the leafy suburbs of West London.
- ASIN : 1101946342
- Publisher : Bloom Books (June 18, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 640 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781101946343
- ISBN-13 : 978-1101946343
- Item Weight : 14.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.19 x 1.6 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #32,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on June 22, 2015
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Everyone is familiar with the Fifty Shades of Grey series. That is Anastasia Steele’s story. This is the first book in the series that tells the Fifty Shades of Grey story from the male point of view: this is Christian Grey’s story. Whether you have read the first series makes no difference here. It is essentially the same story, but here the reader gets to discover more about Christian, who is a far more fascinating character than Anastasia. Her story is captivating – makes no mistake – but hers is more of a dark coming of age story. Unlike Anastasia, Christian has a past – one that is out of the ordinary in almost every respect. He has demons. Combined with the power he has amassed, that makes him dangerous, especially to someone like Anastasia. Anastasia’s story has her finding her own power and her own voice when she finds herself swept into a whirlwind relationship with a dark and powerful man. Christian’s story obviously goes further to shed light on what he is feeling throughout Anastasia’s story, and it doesn’t disappoint. Christian is a broken and misunderstood man who believes himself both incapable and undeserving of love until an unassuming college senior stumbles into his office and has him rethinking the all the rules in his well-ordered world.
Notably for fans, this book does not end in the same place as Anastasia’s story in Fifty Shades of Grey. The first book in her series ends Saturday, June 4. It has a devastating cliffhanger. The first book in Christian’s series, however, closes on the morning of Jose Rodriguez’s gallery opening – Thursday, June 9. By this time everyone knows Christian and Anastasia’s story doesn’t end on June 4. Fans also know that Christian undergoes a lot of soul searching between the first and second books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. Finally getting to read Christian’s point of view and what he experienced when those elevator doors closed as well as the five subsequent days makes this book an essential read for fans. His character is broken and compelling, and his story is well worth reading even if you already know Anastasia’s.
Yes, this is a steamy story. Christian and Anastasia have incredible chemistry and those scenes burn up the pages. Christian is certainly well-educated in the playroom and Anastasia is a willing student. Those scenes serve to bring the couple closer, and due to their dark nature, they serve to promote trust and deepen intimacy. That carries over into the rest of the story. And there really is a story here, despite the hype. The characters are complex and real, even if the story itself is a fantasy. Christian is a young billionaire and leads a life most could never attain. In that respect their story is a modern version of the classic fairy tales, such as a modern Cinderella story – or perhaps Beauty and the Beast would be more appropriate. But even if it were scaled down and Christian’s success moderated, the dynamics between him and Anastasia would still make for a great story.
IN THIS BOOK:
The first book in this series takes place between May 9, 2011 and June 9, 2011.
Christian Grey, twenty-seven, has a lot of rules. Rules keep his world safe and afford him the control he craves. He is CEO of Grey Enterprises Holding, Inc., the Seattle-based company he started after graduating from Harvard. He devotes himself to his work, and it has paid off well. He owes it to his discipline and drive – and that he owes to Elena. Without her he probably would have ended up like his mother – a druggie who overdosed when he was just four. He has horrible memories of those days, and the nightmares still haunt him. He barely spoke for a long time afterward, even after being adopted by his parents.
Carrick and Grace gave all three of their adopted children love and a life of privilege. Elliot, Christian’s older brother, runs a successful construction company that specializes in eco-friendly housing. He is more happy go lucky, and is known as a lady’s man. His isn’t one for relationships. Mia is the little sister that captured Christian’s attention when she was welcomed into their family as a baby. She is in her early twenties and is just finishing up cooking school in Paris. Despite all the support of his parents, Christian struggled with anger as a child. He was heading down an ugly road until Elena entered his life at age fifteen.
Elena introduced Christian to the BDSM lifestyle. Following her rules helped him channel his anger and gave him the ability to focus on goals. He stayed with her five years before spreading his wings. He works long hours and doesn’t have much down time, but in addition to flying and boating, he enjoys unwinding with a sub in his playroom. It is a secret pleasure – and he intends to keep it that way. His family hasn’t a clue – he has never brought a girl home before; Elliot thinks he is a monk. Christian has since gone through many submissives over the years. He always enters into contractual agreements with the women so there are never any misunderstandings. It is the only kind of relationship he is capable of, and once the women want more from him he cuts ties. Susannah was his latest, and that ended about two months ago.
Christian is feeling restless and in need of a diversion when Miss Anastasia Steele stumbles into his office on an uneventful Monday. She is there in place of Katherine Kavanagh, her roommate who became ill last minute, to interview him for the WSU student newspaper, as he is giving the upcoming commence address. She is uncoordinated and lacks good fashion sense, and is someone he would normally dismiss, but something about her fascinates him. He finds humor where he would usually be irritated, and he sees possibility even though he knows he has no business pursuing her. Christian has never pursued a woman before – Elena has always helped him find a new sub. By the time Miss Steele bumbles through the interview, though, he is entirely lost to her unassuming beauty and klutzy charm.
Christian may be out of his comfort zone, but his money and power buy him powerful resources in the pursuit of Miss Steele, making him a little prone to stalker-like activity. The man is on a mission to win her over, and he soon finds out that she is more than he bargained for. He regrets having exposed someone so innocent to his lifestyle, but by then it is really too late. Anastasia seems to want him, too. As the couple tentatively moves forward, Christian hopes to establish boundaries and rules, bringing Anastasia into his world. She is open to trying new things but doesn’t hide the fact that she wants more. She wants a relationship.
The couple works on finding compromise, but that is easier said than done. Family and friends enter the fray, further complicating their confusing relationship and pushing them into situations they aren’t prepared to face. While Anastasia continues to amaze him with her bravery and willingness to try new things, Christian knows he is holding back on her. She wants him to open up, but he only really shares with Dr. Flynn – and of course Elena. He has secrets that he cannot share with Anastasia because they would scare her away, and he is too selfish to let her go. This story ends in a cliffhanger, but it is one of hope.
Christian’s story is dark, but it humanizes his brokenness. It is different than Anastasia’s story in that it takes the reader into his world, showing several of his nightmares and flashes of memory. Most of those reflect back on his childhood in Detroit, before he was adopted. A few are reflections of his childhood with the Greys, and there is a little with Elena and his submissives, too. There are also some small scenes about his business dealings, but those are all very minor. The biggest bonus found in Christian’s story is simply getting to know his character intimately. In Anastasia’s story, it takes time to unravel his tragic past and the abuse he suffered. Here, readers get to see how he reflects back on those times and how it impacts his life. There are several things that he kept from Anastasia, and in reading this it explains a lot of his behavior and decisions.
Christian Grey has become a household name. He represents the quintessential broken and reclusive billionaire who is incapable of a standard relationship or love. He lives a very private life – which is necessary to keep his BDSM lifestyle under wraps. Christian may be dictatorial and brash, but this tells the story of a boy and teen who suffered from abuse and grew into a man whose self worth had been beaten down. His anger never left him; he just channels it into his work and his rules. He hides his vulnerability from the world, too afraid to open himself up to more pain. His story is wonderfully written. The plot is somewhat complex. The characters are carefully crafted and three dimensional. They feel very real. The story is written in first person in Christian’s POV. I rate this book five full stars.
Don't get me wrong, I think she is a natural, gifted writer who has had no professional training or guidance. She is attempting to educate herself in matters of technique and form although this is a low priority for her compared to her need to conjure unconscious intuitions into material reality - WORDS. She is making great leaps forward. "Grey," is so much better technically than the trilogy. She is learning step by agonizing step. And I admire her so much for this. She dares to do it in a very public way leaving herself open to all the vicious criticism bound to come her way.
What makes this character, Christian Grey, so compelling to women? James touches on the male archetype buried in our psyches. Jung would call him an "animus" figure.
What are the traits of this man she brings to life:
1. He is POWERFUL: so powerful that he can manipulate his world and bring it under his control in all ways: materially he has amassed great wealth; physically he has mastered his body and achieved sexual mastery over women; spiritually he has survived abuse and is still able to be compassionate toward other people. He wants something, he goes after it, he gets it. But he cannot bear to be touched. Untouchable is the overwhelming metaphor for his life. Then FATE intrudes in the form of a woman and blindsides him into free fall. Life at the deepest level is not about willpower and control and LIFE will intrude in the form of the opposite sex or the same sex if you are so inclined.This is the theme of thousands of fairy tales since the beginning of story-telling.
2. He is DANGEROUS and UNPREDICTABLE with a hair-trigger temper. James comes very close to weakening Christian too much in "Grey." Through Anna's eyes it is easier to convey the danger by showing her constant apprehension and fear of Christian's reactions. But once we are inside Christian's head and privy to his thoughts, how do you transform him through love without losing dangerous and mysterious elements? The danger must be tempered with compassion and love but never to the point of emasculation. Therein lies the problem. I think she succeeds.
3. He is physically BEAUTIFUL. Women are affected by male beauty just as men are by female beauty. Although some men would like to think this isn't so important to us. Emotional and spiritual maturity allows both sexes to see beyond the surface and experience love when beauty is not a factor. But initial attraction to the beautiful is deeply embedded In our psyches. And women are drawn to the beautiful male. Even when we are not physically beautiful ourselves we long to be beautiful and long to be desired by the beautiful male. It goes much deeper than mere sexual fantasy.
He is not only beautiful but physically graceful. He glides through rooms, eases his long legs in and out of cars, dances on air. He has mastered the machine, the particular domain of the male. He can fly gliders, sail and manufacture boats, park expensive cars in tight spaces. He can kickbox and dance and run miles and miles (pictures of Jamie Dornan running come to mind.) And then there is US in the form of Anna: clumsy, bumbling, out of shape, and fearful of denting a car every time we park in a tight spot. And somehow ordinary us can blindside this BEAUTIFUL MAN.
4. WOMEN ENVY THE WOMAN WHO POSSESSES HIM. He is so beautiful and rich that other women desire him. James exploits this fact to the fullest. Women want to possess something that makes other women envious. Women want to be desired by a man that is desired by other women. We can be very very shallow creatures.
5. Though dangerous, he is PROTECTIVE AND COMPASSIONATE and is at ease with the earthy side of life. Baby Christian tried to protect and care for his junkie mother; he adored his baby sister. Christian as a child is a formidable weapon in James' arsenal. Grown up Christian constantly cares for Anna and is not repulsed by normal physical functions. He can handle vomit, blood from periods, and smelly feet without so much as a blink. Intimacy in all its forms is no turn off for Christian. And, he is a man who cares -- "eat, eat, eat," he constantly nags Anna. Sounds like my mother.
6. He is SEXUALLY WISE and experienced. He knows a woman's body intimately. He can manipulate it at will and bring her to the heights of sexual ecstasy. I don't know how much this connects to the archetype but it sure as hell is something women crave. It's NOT the foreplay and not the spending of time romancing and bumbling around. It's knowing how to take control so sex is not the servicing of needs for one person, but a union of two where both can lose themselves transcending the physical. And in the scheme of things, it is the man who holds the key for this experience to happen. Not that James always succeeds in conveying this, but she knows what she is trying to portray. She knows she needs to write of sex intimately, but how? This has been a problem for writers since man made his first mark on paper. She achieved the intimacy needed for me much of the time without turning the scenes into pornography, but everybody has their own opinions on this. I think her need to portray rough sex might have had an influence on her deciding to bring the world of BDSM into the novel. It provides a built-in platform for conveying danger and for exposing less than acceptable behaviors that surface in sexual relationships such as desiring to spank or be spanked, or desiring to be tied up, at the mercy of an aggressive man.
Now, thinking on my own sexual experience, fingers and hands can be very desirable things, but I could do with less fingers and more of the real thing. At times you begin to think God gave a man fingers and hands and a mouth as the main attractions and decided to throw in something below the belt as an afterthought. And, while I'm on the subject, once a man knows a woman intimately there's not much need to constantly check her state of arousal now is there? And there is no need to constantly comment on it when it's a given. And if there is one thing we know about Anna after 100 pages or so of the first book, we know she is a given. As are we.
Naturally when women are attracted to this man they want to know every little detail of his world, his EVERY thought and emotion, his actions and feelings in every relationship he has, his likes and dislikes on every topic under the sun.
Women want to UNDERSTAND and KNOW this man, want to hear his every thought, mundane or brilliant. They want to eavesdrop within his mind. We are like that, aren't we? But here's the rub. How much can you reveal and not ruin the connection to the deeper attraction - the MYSTERY. You have to walk a fine line and James does it so well. This is where all the fan fiction falls so short to the point of being laughable or downright repellant. Griffin comes to mind, and all of the fan-fiction sites. You must not kill the mythic man behind the real one by providing too much information. And, by the way, this book has little to do with the BDSM world other than superficially, as a means to convey danger and sexual excitement.
James knows intuitively how to make a character come alive on the page, but the amateur in her regales us with annoying and silly cliches: eye rolling, hands brushing through hair, narrowing of eyes, the list is endless. Yet with a few words she can endear us to her characters and doesn't have to rely on stilted devices that you learn about in all these "you too can write" books. And one last pet peeve: she needs to learn the true definition of irony and never use the word again until she fully understands the term. She is not alone in the mis-use of this word. Many contemporary authors make the same mistake. It seems to be the "word of the moment." if you want to be a "serious" writer throw a few references to irony into your book and you have a serious literary novel. Who knew it was so easy to be "deep" and thought provoking.
James has captured this archetypical man for us and put him in the modern world. Many serious and not-so-serious writers try but fail and we get literary crap or porn or shallow attempts at romance. She has done it without having an educated literary skill or technique. And she is learning. I will continue to buy every book she writes.
So, congratulations E. L. James and thank you for giving us such pleasure. Keep it up and finish books 2 and 3 through Christian's eyes. Please. I too can beg.
Top reviews from other countries
I think everyone knows the story of Ana and Christian, so a recap is unnecessary but it's the small details that left me breathless, like Christian's reaction to a 'x' in an email from Ana endeared me to this complicated man and his struggle to give Ana 'more' was insightful.
We finally get to understand a little about his relationship with ' Mrs Robinson' and his ex sub Leila which I really enjoyed and how Christian was able to successfully stalk Ana !
I very rarely reread books, so I was worried that this retelling would not hold my attention but it held it and captured it fully. I enjoyed reliving this groundbreaking book but from the other side, I laughed, I almost cried and I fell in love with an incredible love story all over again - just perfect