Meet Christian Grey: He’s Hot, Mean, Handsome, Rich, Good-Looking and Hot.

Just in case there was any doubt in your mind, allow me to assure you that 50 Shades of Grey is very, very bad. The fact that its origins can be mentioned in the same breath as Twilight fanfiction” doesn’t leave much room for confusion on this point, but all the same I feel this disclaimer is necessary lest you be at all tempted to read these books — even if it’s just to make fun of them.

While most amateur and professional reviewers have focused on the incredibly graphic nature of the book’s sex scenes (which are admittedly far less shocking if you’ve read any fanfiction before this), what no one is talking enough about are the unsexy and highly ridiculous plot points and character depictions in-between the whips-and-chains erotica.

Since I can only seem to get through about 10 pages a day before wanting to drown myself, I’ll break my coverage of this book into pieces. To start with, I’m going to introduce our dynamic two leads. Christian today, Anastasia on Monday.

So let’s get started.

Perhaps the only semblance of Twilight that the final product has retained is both the location (the Pacific Northwest) and the general looks and personalities of the two main characters.

First up is the Edward-inspired Christian Grey, the 27 year old telecommunications magnate who was adopted at age 4 and seems to harbor a deep secret that has led to his desire for a BDSM lifestyle that has rendered him incapable of engaging in a normal relationship. Christian is mysterious, controlling, wealthy, handsome, good-looking, hot, sexy, fit and also handsome.

How Christian managed to become a telecommunications magnate at 27 is never really explained, but all you need to know is that he is very young and very rich, because this is very, very impressive. As Anastasia (our yet-to-be introduced female lead!) so eloquently explains:

If this guy is over thirty, then I’m a monkey’s uncle.

What he does, or when he finds time to do it, is unimportant so long as it helps to establish that Christian has reached that level of fictional wealth seen only on reality TV or in books like this: someone who never seems to work, yet can afford to fly around in his private helicopter and take ladies on lavish dates, buying them cars, ball gags and first editions of Thomas Hardy novels on a whim.

Also, like Edward, Christian has “bronze” hair, which as I’ve explained before cannot be a natural hair color, but is rather the shade you wind up with after a bad bleach job. Unlike Edward, his hair is “streaked with copper,” which makes this particular hue sound even more like a bleach accident and less the tussled, wavy magnificence that the author is trying to sell us on. But apart from his implausible hair, everything about Chrisward is sexy — right down to his voice, which is described as “warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel… or something.”

Christian even wears pants in a sexy way. I have no idea what this means — so maybe someone can help me out — but EL James is obsessed with describing the way that his pants “hang from his hips,” which forces me to imagine that he’s constantly jutting out his hips at an unnatural angle like an abused, discarded Ken doll. Some examples, which might help to clarify things:

He’s wearing a white shirt, open at the collar, and gray flannel pants that hang from his hips. His unruly hair is still damp from a shower. My mouth goes dry looking at him… he’s so freaking hot.

Don’t let the above quote mislead you — there is a disappointing lack of unnecessarily detailed clothing descriptions in this book. Sure, there are more than you would ever find from a competent author, but Kristin Hannah has really spoiled me for long paragraphs on navy-blue boat-neck sweaters and crisp white chinos.

He’s in gray sweatpants that hang, in that way, off his hips and a gray sleeveless T-shirt which is dark with sweat, like his hair.

First, it sounds like he may need some kind of clinical anti-perspirant, but second: what is that way? What is it? How can EL James have such a clear idea of what she means and yet I’m stuck thinking that despite his wealth, Christian can’t help but buy pants several sizes too large that balloon out from his hips?

But don’t be fooled into thinking that he’s all brawn and no brains. He’s a real Renaissance man:

“You like classical music?” I ask, hoping for a rare insight into his personal preferences.

“My taste is eclectic, Anastasia, everything from Thomas Tallis to the Kings of Leon.”

Ah, yes — the Kings of Leon. Truly the poets of our generation.

Christian also plays the piano when he’s sad and alone and has the best taste in restaurants and Anastasia’s hair looks all dumb in the morning, but his always looks perfect and he wears Converse shoes because he’s still young and fresh and hip and sexy. Oh, also he’s a sadomasochist and something of a stalker — but, you know, a handsome one.

Which reminds me: if you’re going to read this book — and please, please don’t; the author does not need more encouragement — get ready for the most ellipses you’ve ever seen outside of a YouTube comment thread. I’m not sure why, but the poorly-educated and generally lazy love ellipses, as it seems to be the only form of punctuation they use with any regularity.

In any event, Christian is super crazy retarded good-looking — and don’t you forget it! Otherwise his sadomasochistic tendencies and general assholishness might start to make you question why a 22 year old virgin consents to a BDSM relationship with a man she barely knows.

After all,

He’s not merely good-looking — he’s the epitome of male beauty, breathtaking, and he’s here. Here in Clayton’s Hardware Store.

You’ve been told.

True story: Clayton’s Hardware was actually called Clayton’s Software Store until Christian penetrated its threshold for the first time. Wocka wocka.

31 thoughts on “Meet Christian Grey: He’s Hot, Mean, Handsome, Rich, Good-Looking and Hot.

  1. Pingback: Is the Fifty Shades Movie a Sly Domestic Violence PSA? | Tea Leaves and Dog Ears

  2. *Major spoilers, for anyone who cares*

    I’ve read both Twilight and the Fifty Shades trilogy, and I agree with you that Fifty Shades is *terrible* (Twilight’s not great either, but it’s an order of magnitude better written than Fifty Shades).

    Where you’re wrong is on claiming that Fifty Shades has little semblance to Twilight. The Fifty Shades trilogy is basically a point by point retelling of the first Twilight novel. Some dead giveaways:
    * Anna/Bella’s a friend (whose name starts with ‘J’) has a crush on her but she only has eyes for Edward/Christian.
    * Edward/Christian save her from being hit by a vehicle (in Christian’ s case it’s a bicycle, which is kind of lame).
    * Edward/Christian’s family take to her immediately for no obvious reason.

    And the kicker:
    * Ana/Bella allows herself to be lured into a trap by the guy Christian/Edward originally protected her from. He rushes to her rescue and she is injured and passes out, only to wake up in hospital and everything’s okay.

    There’s lots and lots of little similarities too – I think there’s a comparison online somewhere. Fifty Shades was written as an alternate universe version of Twilight, with BDSM substituting for Edward’s vampiric dark side, and massive wealth substituting for Edward’s vampiric power.

    Interestingly, Ana demonstrates more agency than Bella. She was willing to say to Christian ‘I’m not cool with this’ at points and to leave when he crossed the line. Conversely, Bella was all ‘Ohey, you broke into my room and watched me sleep. How sweet!’. Ana also got herself out of the aforementioned trap largely by her own efforts before passing out where Bella just fainted and was rescued…

  3. Pingback: It’s Time for a Script Doctor to Euthanize 50 Shades of Grey | Tea Leaves and Dog Ears

  4. Hey
    I was “advised” that every man has to read this book by so many women that I said I would. My god this is the most god awful piece of horse crap I have ever read in my life. If I hear her talking about her inner goddess and subconcious once more I think I’m gonna scream. All this nonsense I’ve heard to about Christian being a “broken man” that needs to be fixed and is a challenge. The guy is basically an image of the statue of david, a multi billionaire, has a helicopter, private jet, mansions etc etc etc – what girl does not want this? I just read the part about all his rowing medals – is there nothing he can’t do! The popularity of this trash would make you wonder where the human race is headed and now we have the movies to look forward to! From what I have seen Ryan Gosling has self respect as an actor so I really hope he stays away from this s*it.

      • You’ve hit the nail on the head here, BTW – Fifty Shades is exactly an average romance novel: Innocent young woman meets mysterious brooding handsome man, they fall for each other, he has a dark secret and has been hurt so he’s reluctant/unable to commit to love but for her he opens up and heals and they resolve their problems and live happily ever after. James just dialed the guy’s emotional damage up to eleven and threw in some kinky sex.

        I’d say though that *yes* it’s worse than your average romance novel for that reason – your average romance novel may have a male protagonist who’s gruff and distant at first but they fall short of countenancing dealing with a physically and emotionally abusive stalker through the power of love.

  5. Thank you! I didn’t want to read this book as I was afraid I would lose precious brain cells in the process, but so many of my friends have been going ga-ga for it I almost succumbed. I am pretty sure your review has saved me at a critical time.

  6. A brilliant review. I’ll take the word of anyone who writes so well. Mind you, I’d no intention of reading the book anyway. But at least something good has come out of it, via this post.

  7. Since everyone is talking about this book like The Notebook, DA VINCI’S Code, Twilight, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings (during the hype, I remember people holding copies while I was in the train, the bus, supermarket etc ), I’d raher wait for the movie and read the book after all the hype is over (although I never read Harry Potter and Twilight). That way I would think the book wasn’t so bad. Thanks for the review 🙂

    • I know it’s in the works, but I have such a hard time picturing this movie actually being made. Not just because of the very, very graphic sex, but also because it has no plot at all.

      I was super underwhelmed by the Da Vinci Code, but at least it had a solid thriller-style plot.

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  9. It’s just so banal, I think my IQ just dropped 20 points from reading these quotes. Aside from the fact that I personally LOVE ellipses, (haha… <—-see what I did there? ) your review had me literally laughing out loud.

    • Here’s the thing (because on Facebook I received a little bit of backlash for the elipses comment), it’s not that all elipses are terrible. It’s two things:

      One, most people just think they mean “the place where you would take an extra-long breath,” so they’ll add a couple extra dots if it’s a REALLY long pause.

      Two, ellipses on Facebook are one thing, ellipses in a professionally-published novel is quite another. And they never make sense. Usually it’s just, “Christian Grey is so… HOT.” or “He shook his hair as he got out of the shower. …It was HOT.”

      James uses them for a really strange form of emphasis that I just can’t get behind.

      I’m glad I could make you laugh. Mostly this experience makes me want to cry.

  10. Great review! Thanks for being brutally honest. And this may be an odd question but what does BDSM stand for?

    • Thanks! I do worry that I’m being a bit too brutal, but then this is a very, very bad book — and not in a kinky way.

      I’m not personally familiar with the lifestyle, but as far as I understand it, BDSM covers a wide range of activities/preferences that can include B&D, D&S and S&M. The actual letters stand for: Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism.

      Because this book appears to have been written by someone who very much misunderstands these terms and these activities, I’d say there’s a bit of everything here.

      • Yup yup. Not a lot of “safe, sane and consensual” in Fifty Shades.

        Christian is the furthest thing from a responsible Dom. He’s an emotional damaged man satisfying a kinky control fetish with no regard for the other party involved and only getting away with it because he’s a charismatic billionaire.

        By the end of the trilogy he’s transitioned into something closer to a healthy BDSM relationship though – largely because Ana is willing to be firm with him about her limits and requirements, and he cares enough about her to honour them. It helps that she’s shown she *will* walk if he doesn’t. I gather that was a novel experience for him.

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