“Grey” Gets Into the Mind of Christian
By Lucia Rossi
It’s not new how much of a hit the book series, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” is. This time around, readers are given even more than before with the retelling of the first installment “Grey.”
On June 18, Christian Grey’s birthday, Grey was published and sold over 1 million copies in the first week of its release.
There is no doubt that E.L. James has once again created a success, despite backlash from critics and readers who believe the love is actually abuse.
But here’s the real question: Is this recreation cheap or does it give readers the insight they craved from the first book?
Controversy between critics and fans who debate the answer to this question toggle between critics finding that Grey suffered from the same issues present in the first novel, but fans were eager and excited to relive the experience through the eyes of the man who owns the playroom.
Some see Christian as a dog who only thinks of sex, others see him as an abusive psychopath, some see him as a victim, or a tortured soul in need of nurturing.
No matter how he’s viewed, people need to understand that the things he says, does, and thinks, no matter how ridiculous or unheard of, is just the way E. L. James made him. It may not be agreeable, surprising, or enjoyable, but this is Christian Grey. Take it or leave it.
Many have complained that this book is too much like the first, that it doesn’t do much differently. Why should it? It is a reboot, after all.
The mirroring between Christian’s reactions along with Ana’s makes their love story more intimate. What readers gain here, besides Christian’s thoughts, are those scenes when he isn’t with Ana.
Scenes that made readers ask the questions “What is Christian like at work? What is he like with Elliot and the rest of his family? What are Christian’s past BDSM relationships like? What is Christian’s relationship with Elena? What is Christian’s PTSD like? How does Christian’s feelings for Ana evolve and push him to do those crazy things?” are all answered within this book and it’s what makes it different from the first.
Getting inside Grey’s mind means seeing more of his personality, tendencies, impulses and thinking. Everything he says and does makes sense to his reactions and expressions from the first book.
Whenever he was with Ana, he constantly changed his mind about the future of their situation. For him, everything could come crumbling down in an instant, which became irksome.
The novel also reveals more of his flaws. Readers see how truly controlling, possessive, and impulsive he is.
Ana, however, is a capable woman who realizes she doesn’t have a single submissive bone in her body, which makes her a good fit because she counteracts Christian’s traits.
Having a flawed male character is attractive and having Ana make him constantly second-guess himself, making him do things he would never do, makes their relationship attractive.
Christian constantly gives into his instincts because he can get away with it. He is handsome, has power, and rich.
While Ana was listening to her inner goddess, he listened to his libido, which was his comfort against the “darkness” within him. So it is similar, but it is still different too, as it should be.
A very important part of understanding Christian Grey is understanding why he is “fifty shades of fucked up,” as he says. Grey’s mother issues are reflected through his nightmares and memories of abuse that recur but change as his relationship with Ana continues.
There are a lot of scenes from his childhood that shed light on why he is the way he is. It also helps create a connection to his memories, his mother, and Ana.
One scene that was particularly insightful was his therapy session with Dr. Flynn.
On a seperate note, I didn’t notice just how quiet Ana actually is until I read this book which illustrates how good Christian is at reading her correctly without her saying anything.
Overall, Grey opens doors to mysteries that were left unsolved in the first book. Although the writing style is similar to the first, it is indeed an improvement.
It was refreshing to have the narrator be the most complex character in the story, fifty shades and all.