Why 50 Shades is 21st Century Romance at its Best

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You would have had to have been hiding under a rock for the past few years to have missed the hype and hysteria over EL James’ 2011 blockbuster, Fifty Shades of Grey. But just what was all the fuss about? How raunchy is it? And should you get yourself a copy? Read on to find out.

The plot is a fairly familiar one. Girl (innocent virgin Anastasia Steele) meets Boy (devastatingly handsome millionaire businessman Christian Grey). Girl falls in love with said boy, only to discover he has a dark side when it comes to the bedroom. Girl discovers she kind of likes it, but just how far can she go for love? And will the mysterious Mr. Grey ever be tamed?

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There’s a reason why this book has sold over 100 million copies. It’s fun and a surprisingly good read. If you’re looking for a work of literary genius you might be disappointed, but 50 Shades of Grey is the epitome of the phrase ‘page-turner’. Once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down. This is mainly to do with the relationship between the two protagonists. The first quarter of the book is a tense ‘will they, won’t they’ scenario, and although we know of course they inevitably ‘will’, it’s very exciting to watch it all unfold. When they finally get together the results are pretty explosive. But despite some critics being aghast at the book’s explicit sex scenes, by most 21stcentury women’s standards it’s actually pretty tame. Put it this way, if you’ve seen a few episodes of ‘Sex and the City’, you will have heard it all before.

Erotica aside, there lies a rather sweet love story in this novel. Anastasia’s transformation in the book from naive young woman to sultry vixen may not be entirely coherent with feminist principles, but it is mesmerizing nonetheless and many readers will find they identify with at least some of her personality. And Mr. Grey is definitely one of the most attractive heroes of recent times, even if he is a little emotionally inept.

Of course, the film — starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan — is a good way to tip your toe in the water, but it’s no substitute for the real thing. Purchase a copy online at Tesco or at your local supermarket or retailer. Then turn off the phone, send the kids to stay with the grandparents for a day or two, grab a packet of cookies and lose yourself in this very 21stcentury romance.
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