The trilogy sold 40 million copies worldwide and has the title of 'bestselling paper back' of all time and even surpassed the Harry Potter series. However, there has been a lot of attention brought to how the books were written, including plagiarism and the overall explicit themes of the books.
The original story of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' came from a fan fiction of the 'Twilight Saga'. E. L. James originally used the characters from 'Twilight', Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. Fans of the worldwide phenomenon complained about the sexual nature of the story. In reaction to this, E. L. James removed the fan fiction and posted it to her own site. She then re-wrote the story and renamed the characters, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steel.
The trilogy seemed to attract a wide audience ageing from teenage girls to women of over 40 years old. The books also seemed to appeal to some of the male population too.
When I first heard about the nature of the books, I immediately thought, yep, definitely porn. I'd heard from friends about how good the book was, so I decided to see what all the hype was about. Believe it or not, beneath all the steamy and erotic scenes, there is actually a storyline. Agreed, it's not as good as some of the classics but hey, we're living in the 21st century and ideas change.
I think that the reason I was so interested in the books was because of its close similarity to the 'Twilight Saga' as I am a huge fan of Stephanie Meyer's work. The brooding and self-loathing character of Edward Cullen in 'Twilight' is mirrored in the character of Christian Grey in 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. I think this is why I found the books appealing because, even though the characters are similar, Christian is different from Edward.
Christian's past is much darker and more shocking for the reader, much more shocking than, 'hey, I'm a vampire, I'll walk the earth for eternity, quenching my thirst with the blood of humans and I hate myself'. Christian's pain has more depth to it, the physical pain that he felt as a child from being abused, through his years of growing up, turned into emotional pain, a fear of being touched and has also turned into a twisted fetish, targeting young brunette women.
The style of writing also made it easy to read and I instantly become sucked into the story. I can't stand long winded books that spend ten pages describing the scenery as, for me, it gets boring. However, this is just my opinion, I like a book where it dives straight into the story without messing around and telling me every detail of what the character is wearing.
Stephanie Meyer also had something to say about the raunchy book series. In an interview she told MTV, "that's really not my genre, not my thing ... Good on her—she's doing well. That's great!"
I really enjoyed reading the books as they portray a not-so-perfect love story but, a love story all the same. I enjoyed reading the ups and downs of the relationship between Christian and Ana and how in the end, Ana seems to be the antidote for his fears and nightmares. I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a complicated love story and if you enjoy a steamy read, this book is definitely for you.