’50 Shades of Grey’ – why the huge appeal?

E.L James has taken the whole world by storm with her infamous romantic tale between the sweet and innocent Anastasia Steele and the troubled control freak that is Christian Grey.

The ’50 Shades’ trilogy has been at the top of best sellers lists across the globe, with celebs such as Tulisa, Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian voicing their appreciation. But what is it exactly that has made these novels; which include the sequels ’50 Shades Darker’ and ’50 Shades Freed’; such a worldwide phenomenon?

The books have come under some scrutiny from critics, who say the sex and bondage scenes are far too graphic, with some even describing it as ‘mummy porn’. This is a surprising concept, considering it comes from a British mother of two, who initially put her dreams of writing on hold to focus on her family and career as a TV executive.

However, the negative reviews are far outweighed by the overwhelming amount of positive ones, with most readers commenting on how their sex lives have improved since reading the books. In my opinion, the graphic sex scenes are not what make this book a page-turner; instead it is the many twists and turns within the story and the agonizing wait to discover what really went on in Christian’s childhood (which isn’t completely divulged until the very last book in the series) that keeps the readers captivated.

The trilogy follows the relationship of Ana and Christian, a young student who meets and falls in love with a billionaire bachelor. The real appeal of the novel is the fact that it is set in the here and now, with the use of modern day technology to showcase the development of their relationship.

The emails that are sent back and forth between the characters offer a real insight into how their feelings are changing and progressing, allowing the readers to really relate to them. This isn’t your usual slushy, unrealistic romance novel; instead it shows the highs and lows of what any real life relationship goes through. The reader begins to feel for the characters involved and, although Christian has his many flaws, I found myself rooting for him.

The raunchy sex scenes fade into the background as the novels continue, with kidnappings, break-ins, crazy ex-subs wielding a gun, marriage and babies keeping the readers firmly on the edge of their seats.

This trilogy definitely lives up to the hype; now begins the agonizing wait to discover who will be playing the alluring Christian Grey in the film adaptation.


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