Delving Deeper into ‘Fifty Shades’

Fiction novels have become popular once again. More particularly, they appeal to a wide range of readers especially the females. One of these popular novels that have surged into popularity more recently is the Fifty Shades of Grey written by E. L. James. The novel revolves around a college student named Anastasia Steele and the object of her affections – Christian Grey. The trilogy contains a lot of erotic scenes which include bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism (BDSM).

The trilogy was originally intended as a fan fiction of Twilight noting the similar themes that both trilogies share. The trilogy also helped in the resurgence of the popularity of e-books as the story was originally an e-book format and a print-on-demand until Vintage Books acquired publishing rights. The story quickly became popular with teenage girls and college women and sold at a very fast pace. Audiobooks and kindle all became in-demand. Experts say that such popularity was because of viral marketing. The hype that the trilogy spurred helped E. L. James become the bestselling author in Amazon UK replacing J.K. Rowling. It also broke records such as being number one for 20 consecutive weeks beating Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games.”

The author, E.L. James (real-life: Erika Leonard), is a former television executive, and is currently married and blessed with two teenage sons. When asked about the popularity of the once-fan-fiction, she mentioned that she, too, was shocked on how popular it became.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is the first part, and it talks about how Christian and Anastasia started and the details of their supposed contract evolving into a relationship. Fifty Shades Darker is the second book and delves deeper in their relationship such as Ana being an open target for women who have had relationships with Christian, and Christian being more protective of Ana especially with the men at her environment. The last of the trilogy is “Fifty Shades Freed” which talks about revenge of people hurt in the past, and the people in Christian’s past.

The trilogy’s popularity has sparked a number of controversies and debates regarding feminism and its depiction of BDSM, and how it glorifies it. The series has become so popular that a film is currently in the making which stars Jamie Dorman and Dakota Johnson playing the roles of Christian and Anastasia, respectively. The film is set to be directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. To date, the series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide.