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‘Mr. Grey Will See You Now’ – A Close Look At E.L. James’ Fifty Shades Follow up ‘Grey’

I had pre-booked my midnight rendezvous with Grey, well ahead in advance, so I could check to see if it would appease ‘my inner goddess’ (and I let out a sarcastic snort typing that) but alas! E.L. James’ follow up to the hugely successful Fifty Shades trilogy told from Christian Grey’s point of view, despite its huge pre-booking success turns out to be a disappointment.


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Sorry, if you are a fan of the trilogy and couldn’t wait to get your hands on Grey (book or otherwise), but Grey is not even ‘two and a half shades’ of the Grey that had you raving and panting (if at all!) in the first three. He bores your ‘inner goddess’ in three minutes at best! After a rambling preamble that perhaps, prolongs the number of minutes you ‘bite your lips’ to keep back your ravenous hunger from turning over the leaves and find Grey – pure unadulterated Grey spread out on the pages in delicious platters of exquisite flavors, believe you me, the first few bites from the text gives your stomach the same feeling as a funnel of lukewarm Montezuma tequila!

Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Coming filtered through diary entries, the book starts off with Christian’s dream in which he is with his drug-addled biological mother but wakes up to walk us back to the Claude Bastille moment where the third book had ended. The diary entry of May 9th, then, poorly covers the period in between now and Saturday, May 14th – for what is chronological disfiguration to a billionaire who can mold anything in the world to meet his recherché sexual tastes and an insatiable appetite for control, no?

After which we are quickly whisked to the university photoshoot and its bizarre events, which, just like in the first book, make you wonder if you lacked ambition or maybe, a tenacious friend like Kate during your university days! Either way, the next section is an obvious Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V act on James’ part, for I presume she must’ve gotten tired of penning down Twilight fan-fiction (albeit with names changed, and that takes thought) at her kitchen counter and opted for some tech-aid – and we are launched into a facsimile (the entire book, indeed, is one) of the Ana-Grey ‘conversation over coffee,’ albeit with italicized comments that give you a glimpse into Christian’s dull thoughts. Bravo, James!

Suggested read: 10 breathtaking Fifty Shades of Grey movie scenes we enjoyed on-screen

Whether you wish that Grey had better been left a man of mystery now or not-so-much depends on whether your patience -barrel is larger and deeper than mine! I had, by now, exhausted the contents of mine … but went on (oh-the-woe-of – habit). It wasn’t a big surprise that the ‘never-been-in-a-relationship’ (weird?) virginal Ana made Grey want to dig into her like breaking open the crust of a pie, sending the cinnamon coated sugar crystals ricocheting in the air and the creamy contents oozing! And if my food metaphors are giving you nausea, wait until you see Ana disappear by the end of the chapter, clothed in a cloud of puke-worthy metaphor! Oh Christian, why’d you throw off the mysterious swathes you were clothed in and show us a non-Grey!

jamie dornan

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

By now, I was already un-mixing the blacks and whites that had gone into the making of the Grey that delighted a legion – a beautiful grey like the grey of those billowy clouds that form a sheltering ceiling etched in soft graphite, like the tarmac of a road that you know shall take you to your destination or even like the misty grey of the ocean that merged itself with a rose gold horizon (again, not how I felt about the psychopath even in the trilogy) and unveiling the swathes of a different ominous grey, one that made up swathes of cloud that brought torrential downpour of some inherent sickness. And of course, James makes it easy! Giving me horses**t about his almost identical dream sequences of an abusive childhood and an Othello-like gnawing consistency in imagining Ana’s involvement with other men, James’ attempt to humanize our billionaire hero fails miserably. Not only does Grey’s endless self-condemning babble, his mommy-issues, a dark past, and a voyeuristic peep into the root of all his regret, insecurity, and abstruse, esoteric sexual preferences fail to get a firm footing but they are also unable to render him a man with emotional depth and advance convincing reasons to excuse his ever-so-more unsavory behavior.

Suggested read: 10 movies that are better than are hotter than Fifty Shades of Grey!

Thereafter, the story tortuously tortures one with needless accounts of people in Grey’s life – from his security guard Barry to his brother Elliot, who, by the way, seems to be a cross between a d**khead and a zombie! After all, if he had no idea about how women got pregnant when his brother isn’t just competent to fill him in but also controls Ana’s menstrual cycle, I am starting to doubt if James was taking a bong hit! Or maybe James just wanted to drive home Grey’s blatant territoriality a tad bit more. <Arrgghhh> And not are just these fillers of a chapter unnecessary but the book progresses to read on like a filler. Recycled e-mails, dialogues, events are all poured in, with little attempt to mask the laziness of an author who had perhaps, taken for granted the commercial savviness of her Fifty Shades gravy train.

As the chapters stretch on, repetitive, redundant facsimiles of Book 1 are strewn across the page, with careless structuring and unmindful insight, thereby, making Grey more of a crabby c**k than a mystifying mystery! His snappiness at secretaries, crankiness with colleagues, huffiness with housekeepers, and not to mention, his peevishness with his p*nis (like it were a separate person) all make Grey take Grey down a million pegs and bury himself in the stew of his own failure to engage! I mean, seriously!

From ridiculous and inane statements like ‘her words travel straight to my c*ck’ to well, even more inane ones like ‘her sharp intake of breath is music to my d*ck’ to (and this one made me throw up, literally) these kinds of similes: ‘I’m going to make you come like a freight train, baby,’ the book not only fails its primary purpose as an erotica but the food metaphors (how do I get over the peeled ginger root stuffed up someone’s a**!), the recycled writing, the thriftiness of James to build on the book, so as to give something to the readers, an appetizer even, the book fails in its entirety. In promising her readers a delicious spread, James hands out a bunch of burnt dishes! There is no depth bestowed on Grey, no convincing explanation of his stunted emotional and physical behavior, no real sense of his work life either (barring some perfunctory mention of some optical fibre or sh*t like that), and definitely not anything new!


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But I do have to give James her due merit for ‘making up for the inaction’ in the first twenty odd chapters or so in the last five. Actually, that’s quite generous on my part. Let’s just say the penultimate one actually has Grey’s ex-submissive missing but kill-me and kill-me-now, James deems it absolutely normal that Grey would be cheered by some croissants and can then, go shopping! And the last chapter, well, it gives you nothing – no climax! And there you go, action – just in case, you missed my emphasis and the underlying sarcasm. I do not know if James meant to troll her readers, deprive them of their climax (in double entendre, if this 599-page ride could actually give ’em that) or was just too busy doing ginormous amounts of Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V action for the next two books of Grey trilogy – ohh-the-woe-of-wading-through-more-copy-paste-millions, but I do know that if you’d grab a copy hoping to ‘come,’ or have some ‘OMFG, no way’ moments, you’re getting none of that!

fifty shades of grey

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

This follow-up to Fifty Shades has no shades at all and the monochrome grey in which it comes also cracks open to dissipate the white and retain the charred remains of James’ burnt dish-spread! From food to food – and you may choose EITHER to skip the inedible platter by taking me and the following experts on their words:

The first book was a rather fun and fairly mild portrait of a woman’s sexual fantasy. Yet it is almost impossible to read Grey and not assume the narrator is going to end up in jail. It is most reminiscent of those thrillers that open from the point of view of the heavy-breathing murderer stalking his prey. Instead of lighthearted and repetitive mild S&M, the ‘love affair’ is now the twisted work of an utter psychopath. – Jemmy Colgan, The Guardian

Grey, the fourth book from EL James, is about as sexy as a misery memoir and as arousing as the diary of a sex offender. … This, then, is the best the 21st century can come up with in terms of romantic literary heroes – a cut-price Mr Darcy in nipple clamps. … The message here is clear: we are supposed to pity him. And yet the only person I pitied was poor old Anastasia, who, having had her opportunity to tell her side of the story in the Fifty Shades trilogy, has been written, in this book, with all the personality of a blow-up doll. – Bryony Gordon, The Telegraph

However one feels about the series, there’s no denying that Grey, released worldwide Thursday, is a completist’s dream. It retells the story of Fifty Shades of Grey and the earliest section of Fifty Shades Darker in Christian’s perspective. It is a behemoth of a book, 557 pages of Ana and Christian’s fraught and at times unsettling love story, here made more unsettling by the truth that fans already know: Christian is not just dark and mysterious; he’s everything he warned Ana he was in the original book. He’s unquestionably ‘fifty shades of [expletive] up.’…But even with all this explanation, with the clear and well-trod defense of Christian, it’s difficult to understand him. Or, rather, it’s difficult to understand why any woman in her right mind would take a chance on him. – Sarah McLean, The Washington Post

OR simply choose to consume it, for you are part of the ‘legion’ who whipped up the frenzy around the pre-ordering and grabbing of copies (even signed) at Fifth Avenue, at midnight – even though you could smell the smoke from James’ kitchen! Yeah, the food metaphors make me think she was in there for this one too, this time with a laptop to make copy-pasting easier!

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E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey Follow up 'Grey' Is A Disappointment
E.L. James' Fifty Shades Of Grey follow up Grey is out! Despite its pre-ordering success, it's not the treat you'd expected when Mr.Grey was to be revealed.
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."