cialis serif;”>Written by E. L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey is the 2011 erotic novel that gained popularity amongst middle aged women and teenage girls. Tracing the deepening relationship between 22 year old Ana Steele and intimidatingly handsome Christian Grey, the book has been dubbed “mommy porn” and was banned from a number of American libraries. Miriam Nulty and Phoebe Devane take different stances on the novel.

Miriam Nulty:

Learning that it was originally based on the characters from the inexplicably popular Twilight series, I didn’t have high hopes for the quality of writing in Fifty Shades of Grey. The first line confirmed my suspicions as we are introduced to our ‘heroine’ Ana Steele.

“I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror.”

Her hair won’t behave. Immediately, I disliked the character and as we continued to learn that Ana has no sympathy for her sick friend as she is still beautiful despite her illness.

Christian Grey is similarly despicable. He is misogynistic, controlling, and abusive to Ana and appears to be lacking any basic human decency. That’s completely irrelevant as he has money, good looks, and a massive penis.

Both the characters are one-dimensional and any attempts to give them a personality are trite and clichéd – did you know Ana wears Converse and is oh so hip? Christian plays the piano… Just like Edward Cullen.

The sex scenes weren’t written any better than the rest of the novel. I personally found them quite boring and the writer’s constant use of “oh my!” was distracting. Ana says it seventy nine times throughout the book, generally each time she noticed Christian’s momentous manhood. There’s nothing revolutionary and a lot of it is unrealistic. My sex life was fabulous before I read the novel and it’s still fabulous now.

This is not a book about a consensual dominant/submissive relationship. It’s a book about an abusive man and his obsession with controlling a girl who is willing to sacrifice her entire sense of self in the hope of getting a glimmer of respect from him. Unlike Ana, that respect never comes.

Do yourself, and humanity, a favour: don’t read this book.

 Phoebe Devane:

‘Fifty Shades’ – you love it or you hate it. While it received an incredible amount of negative press for the alleged demeaning relationship between Grey and Steele, this hasn’t harmed sales.

The book deals with Ana’s first relationship and the question which she faces: what should a girl compromise of herself to continue a relationship? Both titillated and appalled by the idea of entering a sexual contract with Grey, Steele must examine what she truly values and wants. She comes across as warm and relatable; an everyday girl thrust into a complicated situation.

As formal and domineering as he is, Grey’s chemistry with Steele is undeniably attractive. He is aware of her needs, both sexual and otherwise, trying his hardest to take care of them. Grey allows discussion regarding his contract and is upfront entirely about what it is he wants and expects from Steele.

The writer employs a classic hook of ‘will they/won’t they’ throughout the entire book, creating an unputdownable novel that will have your loins aching for the sequel.