Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1)

by E L James


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Look for E L James’s passionate new love story, The Mister, available now.

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

This book is intended for mature audiences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345803481
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/03/2012
Series: Fifty Shades Trilogy
Pages: 514
Sales rank: 858
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

E L James is an incurable romantic and a self-confessed fangirl. After twenty-five years of working in television, she decided to pursue a childhood dream and write stories that readers could take to their hearts. The result was the controversial and sensuous romance Fifty Shades of Grey and its two sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. In 2015, she published the #1 bestseller Grey, the story of Fifty Shades of Grey from the perspective of Christian Grey, and in 2017, the chart-topping Darker, the second part of the Fifty Shades story from Christian’s point of view. Her books have been published in fifty languages and have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide. 
E L James has been recognized as one of Time magazine's "Most Influential People in the World” and Publishers Weekly’s "Person of the Year.” Fifty Shades of Greystayed on The New York Times Best Seller List for 133 consecutive weeks. Fifty Shades Freed won the Goodreads Choice Award (2012), and Fifty Shades of Greywas selected as one of the 100 Great Reads, as voted by readers, in PBS’s The Great American Read (2018). Darker has been long-listed for the 2019 International DUBLIN Literary Award.
She coproduced for Universal Studios the Fifty Shades movies, which made more than a billion dollars at the box office. The third installment, Fifty Shades Freed,won the People’s Choice Award for Drama in 2018.
E L James is blessed with two wonderful sons and lives with her husband, the novelist and screenwriter Niall Leonard, and their West Highland terriers in the leafy suburbs of West London.

Read an Excerpt

I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair—it just won’t behave, and damn Katherine Kavanagh for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal. I should be studying for my final exams, which are next week, yet here I am trying to brush my hair into submission. I must not sleep with it wet. I must not sleep with it wet. Reciting this mantra several times, I attempt, once more, to bring it under control with the brush. I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up. My only option is to restrain my wayward hair in a ponytail and hope that I look semi-presentable.
Kate is my roommate, and she has chosen today of all days to succumb to the flu. Therefore, she cannot attend the interview she’d arranged to do, with some mega-industrialist tycoon I’ve never heard of, for the student newspaper. So I have been volunteered. I have final exams to cram for and one essay to finish, and I’m supposed to be working this afternoon, but no—today I have to drive 165 miles to downtown Seattle in order to meet the enigmatic CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. As an exceptional entrepreneur and major benefactor of our university, his time is extraordinarily precious—much more precious than mine—but he has granted Kate an interview. A real coup, she tells me. Damn her extracurricular activities.
Kate is huddled on the couch in the living room.
“Ana, I’m sorry. It took me nine months to get this interview. It will take another six to reschedule, and we’ll both have graduated by then. As the editor, I can’t blow this off. Please,” Kate begs me in her rasping, sore throat voice. How does she do it? Even ill she looks gamine and gorgeous, strawberry blond hair in place and green eyes bright, although now red rimmed and runny. I ignore my pang of unwelcome sympathy.
“Of course I’ll go, Kate. You should get back to bed. Would you like some NyQuil or Tylenol?”
“NyQuil, please. Here are the questions and my digital recorder. Just press record here. Make notes, I’ll transcribe it all.”
“I know nothing about him,” I murmur, trying and failing to suppress my rising panic.
“The questions will see you through. Go. It’s a long drive. I don’t want you to be late.”
“Okay, I’m going. Get back to bed. I made you some soup to heat up later.” I stare at her fondly. Only for you, Kate, would I do this.
“I will. Good luck. And thanks, Ana—as usual, you’re my lifesaver.”
Gathering my backpack, I smile wryly at her, then head out the door to the car. I cannot believe I have let Kate talk me into this. But then Kate can talk anyone into anything. She’ll make an exceptional journalist. She’s articulate, strong, persuasive, argumentative, beautiful—and she’s my dearest, dearest friend.
The roads are clear as I set off from Vancouver, Washington, toward Interstate 5. It’s early, and I don’t have to be in Seattle until two this afternoon. Fortunately, Kate has lent me her sporty Mercedes CLK. I’m not sure Wanda, my old VW Beetle, would make the journey in time. Oh, the Merc is a fun drive, and the miles slip away as I hit the pedal to the metal.
My destination is the headquarters of Mr. Grey’s global enterprise. It’s a huge twenty-story office building, all curved glass and steel, an architect’s utilitarian fantasy, with GREY HOUSE written discreetly in steel over the glass front doors. It’s a quarter to two when I arrive, greatly relieved that I’m not late as I walk into the enormous—and frankly intimidating—glass, steel, and white sandstone lobby.
Behind the solid sandstone desk, a very attractive, groomed, blonde young woman smiles pleasantly at me. She’s wearing the sharpest charcoal suit jacket and white shirt I have ever seen. She looks immaculate.
“I’m here to see Mr. Grey. Anastasia Steele for Katherine Kavanagh.”
“Excuse me one moment, Miss Steele.” She arches her eyebrow as I stand self-consciously before her. I’m beginning to wish I’d borrowed one of Kate’s formal blazers rather than worn my navy-blue jacket. I have made an effort and worn my one and only skirt, my sensible brown knee-length boots, and a blue sweater. For me, this is smart. I tuck one of the escaped tendrils of my hair behind my ear as I pretend she doesn’t intimidate me.
“Miss Kavanagh is expected. Please sign in here, Miss Steele. You’ll want the last elevator on the right, press for the twentieth floor.” She smiles kindly at me, amused no doubt, as I sign in.
She hands me a security pass that has “visitor” very firmly stamped on the front. I can’t help my smirk. Surely it’s obvious that I’m just visiting. I don’t fit in here at all. Nothing changes. I inwardly sigh. Thanking her, I walk over to the bank of elevators and past the two security men who are both far more smartly dressed than I am in their well-cut black suits.
The elevator whisks me at terminal velocity to the twentieth floor. The doors slide open, and I’m in another large lobby—again all glass, steel, and white sandstone. I’m confronted by another desk of sandstone and another young blonde woman, this time dressed impeccably in black and white, who rises to greet me.
“Miss Steele, could you wait here, please?” She points to a seated area of white leather chairs.
Behind the leather chairs is a spacious glass-walled meeting room with an equally spacious dark wood table and at least twenty matching chairs around it. Beyond that, there is a floor-to-ceiling window with a view of the Seattle skyline that looks out through the city toward the Sound. It’s a stunning vista, and I’m momentarily paralyzed by the view. Wow.
I sit down, fish the questions from my backpack, and go through them, inwardly cursing Kate for not providing me with a brief biography. I know nothing about this man I’m about to interview. He could be ninety or he could be thirty. The uncertainty is galling, and my nerves resurface, making me fidget. I’ve never been comfortable with one-on-one interviews, preferring the anonymity of a group discussion where I can sit inconspicuously at the back of the room. To be honest, I prefer my own company, reading a classic British novel, curled up in a chair in the campus library. Not sitting twitching nervously in a colossal glass-and-stone edifice.
I roll my eyes at myself. Get a grip, Steele. Judging from the building, which is too clinical and modern, I guess Grey is in his forties: fit, tanned, and fair-haired to match the rest of the personnel.
Another elegant, flawlessly dressed blonde comes out of a large door to the right. What is it with all the immaculate blondes? It’s like Stepford here. Taking a deep breath, I stand up.
“Miss Steele?” the latest blonde asks.
“Yes,” I croak, and clear my throat. “Yes.” There, that sounded more confident.
“Mr. Grey will see you in a moment. May I take your jacket?”
“Oh, please.” I struggle out of the jacket.
“Have you been offered any refreshment?”
“Um—no.” Oh dear, is Blonde Number One in trouble?
Blonde Number Two frowns and eyes the young woman at the desk.
“Would you like tea, coffee, water?” she asks, turning her attention back to me.
“A glass of water. Thank you,” I murmur.
“Olivia, please fetch Miss Steele a glass of water.” Her voice is stern. Olivia scoots up and scurries to a door on the other side of the foyer.
“My apologies, Miss Steele, Olivia is our new intern. Please be seated. Mr. Grey will be another five minutes.”
Olivia returns with a glass of iced water.
“Here you go, Miss Steele.”
“Thank you.”
Blonde Number Two marches over to the large desk, her heels clicking and echoing on the sandstone floor. She sits down, and they both continue their work.
Perhaps Mr. Grey insists on all his employees being blonde. I’m wondering idly if that’s legal, when the office door opens and a tall, elegantly dressed, attractive African American man with short dreads exits. I have definitely worn the wrong clothes.
He turns and says through the door, “Golf this week, Grey?”
I don’t hear the reply. He turns, sees me, and smiles, his dark eyes crinkling at the corners. Olivia has jumped up and called the elevator. She seems to excel at jumping from her seat. She’s more nervous than me!
“Good afternoon, ladies,” he says as he departs through the sliding door.
“Mr. Grey will see you now, Miss Steele. Do go through,” Blonde Number Two says. I stand rather shakily, trying to suppress my nerves. Gathering up my backpack, I abandon my glass of water and make my way to the partially open door.
“You don’t need to knock—just go in.” She smiles kindly.
I push open the door and stumble through, tripping over my own feet and falling headfirst into the office.
Double crap—me and my two left feet! I am on my hands and knees in the doorway to Mr. Grey’s office, and gentle hands are around me, helping me to stand. I am so embarrassed, damn my clumsiness. I have to steel myself to glance up. Holy cow—he’s so young.
“Miss Kavanagh.” He extends a long-fingered hand to me once I’m upright. “I’m Christian Grey. Are you all right? Would you like to sit?”
So young—and attractive, very attractive. He’s tall, dressed in a fine gray suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly dark copper-colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes that regard me shrewdly. It takes a moment for me to find my voice.  
“Um. Actually—” I mutter. If this guy is over thirty, then I’m a monkey’s uncle. In a daze, I place my hand in his and we shake. As our fingers touch, I feel an odd exhilarating shiver run through me. I withdraw my hand hastily, embarrassed. Must be static. I blink rapidly, my eyelids matching my heart rate.
“Miss Kavanagh is indisposed, so she sent me. I hope you don’t mind, Mr. Grey.”
“And you are?” His voice is warm, possibly amused, but it’s difficult to tell from his impassive expression. He looks mildly interested but, above all, polite.
“Anastasia Steele. I’m studying English literature with Kate, um . . . Katherine . . . um . . . Miss Kavanagh, at WSU Vancouver.”
“I see,” he says simply. I think I see the ghost of a smile in his expression, but I’m not sure.
“Would you like to sit?” He waves me toward an L-shaped white leather couch.
His office is way too big for just one man. In front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, there’s a modern dark wood desk that six people could comfortably eat around. It matches the coffee table by the couch. Everything else is white—ceiling, floors, and walls, except for the wall by the door, where a mosaic of small paintings hang, thirty-six of them arranged in a square. They are exquisite—a series of mundane, forgotten objects painted in such precise detail they look like photographs. Displayed together, they are breathtaking.
“A local artist. Trouton,” says Grey when he catches my gaze.
“They’re lovely. Raising the ordinary to extraordinary,” I murmur, distracted both by him and the paintings. He cocks his head to one side and regards me intently.
“I couldn’t agree more, Miss Steele,” he replies, his voice soft, and for some inexplicable reason I find myself blushing.
Apart from the paintings, the rest of the office is cold, clean, and clinical. I wonder if it reflects the personality of the Adonis who sinks gracefully into one of the white leather chairs opposite me. I shake my head, disturbed at the direction of my thoughts, and retrieve Kate’s questions from my backpack. Next, I set up the digital recorder and am all fingers and thumbs, dropping it twice on the coffee table in front of me. Mr. Grey says nothing, waiting patiently—I hope—as I become increasingly embarrassed and flustered. When I pluck up the courage to look at him, he’s watching me, one hand relaxed in his lap and the other cupping his chin and trailing his long index finger across his lips. I think he’s trying to suppress a smile.
“S-sorry,” I stutter. “I’m not used to this.”
“Take all the time you need, Miss Steele,” he says.
“Do you mind if I record your answers?”
“After you’ve taken so much trouble to set up the recorder, you ask me now?”
I flush. He’s teasing me? I hope. I blink at him, unsure what to say, and I think he takes pity on me because he relents. “No, I don’t mind.”
“Did Kate, I mean, Miss Kavanagh, explain what the interview was for?”
“Yes. To appear in the graduation issue of the student newspaper as I shall be conferring the degrees at this year’s graduation ceremony.”
Oh! This is news to me, and I’m temporarily preoccupied by the thought that someone not much older than me—okay, maybe six years or so, and okay, mega-successful, but still—is going to present me with my degree. I frown, dragging my wayward attention back to the task at hand.
“Good.” I swallow nervously. “I have some questions, Mr. Grey.” I smooth a stray lock of hair behind my ear.
“I thought you might,” he says, deadpan. He’s laughing at me. My cheeks heat at the realization, and I sit up and square my shoulders in an attempt to look taller and more intimidating. Pressing the start button on the recorder, I try to look professional.
“You’re very young to have amassed such an empire. To what do you owe your success?” I glance up at him. His smile is rueful, but he looks vaguely disappointed.
“Business is all about people, Miss Steele, and I’m very good at judging people. I know how they tick, what makes them flourish, what doesn’t, what inspires them, and how to incentivize them. I employ an exceptional team, and I reward them well.” He pauses and fixes me with his gray stare. “My belief is to achieve success in any scheme one has to make oneself master of that scheme, know it inside and out, know every detail. I work hard, very hard to do that. I make decisions based on logic and facts. I have a natural gut instinct that can spot and nurture a good solid idea and good people. The bottom line is it’s always down to good people.”
“Maybe you’re just lucky.” This isn’t on Kate’s list—but he’s so arrogant. His eyes flare momentarily in surprise.
“I don’t subscribe to luck or chance, Miss Steele. The harder I work the more luck I seem to have. It really is all about having the right people on your team and directing their energies accordingly. I think it was Harvey Firestone who said, ‘The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.’ ”
“You sound like a control freak.” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.
“Oh, I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele,” he says without a trace of humor in his smile. I look at him, and he holds my gaze steadily, impassive. My heartbeat quickens, and my face flushes again.
Why does he have such an unnerving effect on me? His overwhelming good looks maybe? The way his eyes blaze at me? The way he strokes his index finger against his lower lip? I wish he’d stop doing that.
“Besides, immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control things,” he continues, his voice soft.
“Do you feel that you have immense power?” Control freak.
“I employ over forty thousand people, Miss Steele. That gives me a certain sense of responsibility—power, if you will. If I were to decide I was no longer interested in the telecommunications business and sell, twenty thousand people would struggle to make their mortgage payments after a month or so.”
My mouth drops open. I am staggered by his lack of humility.
“Don’t you have a board to answer to?” I ask, disgusted.
“I own my company. I don’t have to answer to a board.” He raises an eyebrow at me. Of course, I would know this if I had done some research. But holy crap, he’s arrogant. I change tack.
“And do you have any interests outside your work?”
“I have varied interests, Miss Steele.” A ghost of a smile touches his lips. “Very varied.” And for some reason, I’m confounded and heated by his steady gaze. His eyes are alight with some wicked thought.
“But if you work so hard, what do you do to chill out?”
“Chill out?” He smiles, revealing perfect white teeth. I stop breathing. He really is beautiful. No one should be this good-looking.
“Well, to ‘chill out,’ as you put it—I sail, I fly, I indulge in various physical pursuits.” He shifts in his chair. “I’m a very wealthy man, Miss Steele, and I have expensive and absorbing hobbies.”
I glance quickly at Kate’s questions, wanting to get off this subject.
“You invest in manufacturing. Why, specifically?” I ask. Why does he make me so uncomfortable?
“I like to build things. I like to know how things work: what makes things tick, how to construct and deconstruct. And I have a love of ships. What can I say?”
“That sounds like your heart talking rather than logic and facts.”
His mouth quirks up, and he stares appraisingly at me.
“Possibly. Though there are people who’d say I don’t have a heart.”
“Why would they say that?”
“Because they know me well.” His lip curls in a wry smile.
“Would your friends say you’re easy to get to know?” And I regret the question as soon as I say it. It’s not on Kate’s list.
“I’m a very private person, Miss Steele. I go a long way to protect my privacy. I don’t often give interviews . . .”
“Why did you agree to do this one?”
“Because I’m a benefactor of the university, and for all intents and purposes, I couldn’t get Miss Kavanagh off my back. She badgered and badgered my PR people, and I admire that kind of tenacity.”
I know how tenacious Kate can be. That’s why I’m sitting here squirming uncomfortably under his penetrating gaze, when I should be studying for my exams.
“You also invest in farming technologies. Why are you interested in that area?”
“We can’t eat money, Miss Steele, and there are too many people on this planet who don’t have enough to eat.”
“That sounds very philanthropic. Is it something you feel passionately about? Feeding the world’s poor?”
He shrugs noncommittally.
“It’s shrewd business,” he murmurs, though I think he’s being disingenuous. It doesn’t make sense—feeding the world’s poor? I can’t see the financial benefit of this, only the virtue of the ideal. I glance at the next question, confused by his attitude.
“Do you have a philosophy? If so, what is it?”
“I don’t have a philosophy as such. Maybe a guiding principle—Carnegie’s: ‘A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.’ I’m very singular, driven. I like control—of myself and those around me.”
“So you want to possess things?” You are a control freak.
“I want to deserve to possess them, but yes, bottom line, I do.”
“You sound like the ultimate consumer.”
“I am.” He smiles, but the smile doesn’t touch his eyes. Again, this is at odds with someone who wants to feed the world, so I can’t help thinking that we’re talking about something else, but I’m mystified as to what it is. I swallow hard. The temperature in the room is rising, or maybe it’s just me. I just want this interview to be over. Surely Kate has enough material now. I glance at the next question.
“You were adopted. How much do you think that’s shaped the way you are?” Oh, this is personal. I stare at him, hoping he’s not offended. His brow furrows.
“I have no way of knowing.”
My interest is piqued. “How old were you when you were adopted?”
“That’s a matter of public record, Miss Steele.” His tone is stern. Crap. Yes, of course—if I’d known I was doing this interview, I would have done some research. Flustered, I move on quickly.
“You’ve had to sacrifice family life for your work.”
“That’s not a question.” He’s terse.
“Sorry.” I squirm; he’s made me feel like an errant child. I try again. “Have you had to sacrifice family life for your work?”
“I have a family. I have a brother and a sister and two loving parents. I’m not interested in extending my family beyond that.”
“Are you gay, Mr. Grey?”
He inhales sharply, and I cringe, mortified. Crap. Why didn’t I employ some kind of filter before I read this straight out? How can I tell him I’m just reading the questions? Damn Kate and her curiosity!
“No, Anastasia, I’m not.” He raises his eyebrows, a cool gleam in his eyes. He does not look pleased.
“I apologize. It’s, um . . . written here.” It’s the first time he’s said my name. My heartbeat has accelerated, and my cheeks are heating up again. Nervously, I tuck my loosened hair behind my ear.
He cocks his head to one side.
“These aren’t your own questions?”
The blood drains from my head.
“Er . . . no. Kate—Miss Kavanagh—she compiled the questions.”
“Are you colleagues on the student paper?” Oh no. I have nothing to do with the student paper. It’s her extracurricular activity, not mine. My face is aflame.
“No. She’s my roommate.”
He rubs his chin in quiet deliberation, his gray eyes appraising me.
“Did you volunteer to do this interview?” he asks, his voice deadly quiet.
Hang on, who’s supposed to be interviewing whom? His eyes burn into me, and I’m compelled to answer with the truth.
“I was drafted. She’s not well.” My voice is weak and apologetic.
“That explains a great deal.”
There’s a knock at the door, and Blonde Number Two enters.
“Mr. Grey, forgive me for interrupting, but your next meeting is in two minutes.”
“We’re not finished here, Andrea. Please cancel my next meeting.”
Andrea hesitates, gaping at him. She appears lost. He turns his head slowly to face her and raises his eyebrows. She flushes bright pink. Oh, good. It’s not just me.
“Very well, Mr. Grey,” she mutters, then exits. He frowns, and turns his attention back to me.
“Where were we, Miss Steele?”
Oh, we’re back to “Miss Steele” now.
“Please, don’t let me keep you from anything.”
“I want to know about you. I think that’s only fair.” His eyes are alight with curiosity. Double crap. Where’s he going with this? He places his elbows on the arms of the chair and steeples his fingers in front of his mouth. His mouth is very . . . distracting. I swallow.
“There’s not much to know.”
“What are your plans after you graduate?”
I shrug, thrown by his interest. Move to Seattle with Kate, find a job. I haven’t really thought beyond my finals.
“I haven’t made any plans, Mr. Grey. I just need to get through my final exams.” Which I should be studying for right now, rather than sitting in your palatial, swanky, sterile office, feeling uncomfortable under your penetrating gaze.
“We run an excellent internship program here,” he says quietly. I raise my eyebrows in surprise. Is he offering me a job?
“Oh. I’ll bear that in mind,” I murmur, confounded. “Though I’m not sure I’d fit in here.” Oh no. I’m musing out loud again.
“Why do you say that?” He tilts his head to one side, intrigued, a hint of a smile playing on his lips.
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” I’m uncoordinated, scruffy, and I’m not blonde.
“Not to me.” His gaze is intense, all humor gone, and strange muscles deep in my belly clench suddenly. I tear my eyes away from his scrutiny and stare blindly down at my knotted fingers. What’s going on? I have to go—now. I lean forward to retrieve the recorder.
“Would you like me to show you around?” he asks.
“I’m sure you’re far too busy, Mr. Grey, and I do have a long drive.”
“You’re driving back to Vancouver?” He sounds surprised, anxious even. He glances out of the window. It’s begun to rain. “Well, you’d better drive carefully.” His tone is stern, authoritative. Why should he care? “Did you get everything you need?” he adds.
“Yes, sir,” I reply, packing the recorder into my backpack. His eyes narrow, speculatively.
“Thank you for the interview, Mr. Grey.”
“The pleasure’s been all mine,” he says, polite as ever.
As I rise, he stands and holds out his hand.
“Until we meet again, Miss Steele.” And it sounds like a challenge, or a threat, I’m not sure which. I frown. When will we ever meet again? I shake his hand once more, astounded that that odd current between us is still there. It must be my nerves.
“Mr. Grey.” I nod at him. Moving with lithe athletic grace to the door, he opens it wide.
“Just ensuring you make it through the door, Miss Steele.” He gives me a small smile. Obviously, he’s referring to my earlier less-than-elegant entry into his office. I blush.
“That’s very considerate, Mr. Grey,” I snap, and his smile widens. I’m glad you find me entertaining, I glower inwardly, walking into the foyer. I’m surprised when he follows me out. Andrea and Olivia both look up, equally surprised.
“Did you have a coat?” Grey asks.
“A jacket.”
Olivia leaps up and retrieves my jacket, which Grey takes from her before she can hand it to me. He holds it up and, feeling ridiculously self-conscious, I shrug it on. Grey places his hands for a moment on my shoulders. I gasp at the contact. If he notices my reaction, he gives nothing away. His long index finger presses the button summoning the elevator, and we stand waiting—awkwardly on my part, coolly self-possessed on his. The doors open, and I hurry in, desperate to escape. I really need to get out of here. When I turn to look at him, he’s gazing at me and leaning against the doorway beside the elevator with one hand on the wall. He really is very, very good-looking. It’s unnerving.
“Anastasia,” he says as a farewell.
“Christian,” I reply. And mercifully, the doors close.

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From the Publisher

A GoodReads Choice Awards Finalist for Best Romance

"In a class by itself." 
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Reading Group Guide

1. The voice of Ana’s “inner goddess” is a distinct presence throughout the novel. Does it have a positive or negative influence on Ana? Is the inner goddess simply her subconscious? Or does it represent something else? Does every woman have an inner goddess?

2.  How important is music in Fifty Shades of Grey? What does Christian’s appreciation of music—for all genres—say about him? [Visit for playlists created by the author and inspired by the Fifty Shades trilogy.]

3. When they first meet, Christian tells Ana that he follows a guiding principal from Andrew Carnegie: “A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.” What insight does this provide into his character? And does it foreshadow events in the novel?

4. Is Ana’s relationship with Christian empowering? Do you think it’s in any way demeaning?

5.  If you’ve read Tess of the d’Urbervilles, how does Ana’s story parallel Tess’s? Ana describes Tess as a woman “in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong century.” Is Ana able to exert more control over her own life and act as an independent woman in ways that Tess could not?

6. What is the basis of Ana’s attraction to Christian? Is there an allure in the fact that beneath his ultra-confident exterior Christian is a damaged and vulnerable soul? Is Ana motivated by a desire to “fix” him or save him from his personal demons? Have you ever been in a relationship like this?

7. Why do you think this story has captivated so many readers? Is it the fairy tale aspect of the story? Do women really just want a man who will sweep them off their feet and take control in the bedroom? If you agree, why do you think that’s true?

8. Would you ever sign a contract like the one Christian presents to Ana?

9. Is Ana’s innocence and naiveté believable? Is Christian just a fictitious ideal with his perfect body (“the Adonis, divinely formed”), intelligence, and sexual prowess? How does José compare? What archetype does he represent? What about Elliott?

10. What do you think of the ending? Does Ana stand up for herself? Is the situation they find themselves in—where Ana realizes she can’t give Christian what he needs and he admits he can’t love her the way she wants—something you can relate to?

Customer Reviews

Fifty Shades of Grey 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14521 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So I just finished this book, and I'll admit it def. had my attention. And yes it was a fast and easy read. So for entertainment factor I give it 2 stars. HOWEVER, do not be fooled...I would NOT consider this well written, nor is this close to the best book I've ever read. One of the other reviewers mentioned phrases repeated over and over again, and I couldn't agree more. At multiple points, it was as if the story was moving in circles. Sex scene after sex scene...which as you can imagine will keep you reading! So, if you are looking for a mindless romance novel full of descriptive sex scenes.... this is your book. But if you're looking for good literature with depth of characters and story...move on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was sucked in by all the great press. It reads worse than a Harlequin Romance. The characters are pithy and stereotyped. Uggh, don't waste your time or money. And there are two more to come? I am fearful that so many people seem to think this is a great book. :(
a_shipman More than 1 year ago
I have never felt so passionate about writing a book review. Before choosing to dive into these books myself, I read hundreds of reviews. These reviews left me unsure about spending the $30 to read the trilogy. I can't express how glad I am that I did. There are a few important points I want to make: So many of the bad reviews consist of comments regarding the repetitive use of words or phrases such as "inner goddess" or "beguile." Come on now, who cares? Other reviews bluntly call this "PORN." I could not disagree more. Does EL James use the same word twice in a sentence? Does she use the phrase "inner goddess" multiple times throughout the works? Did I have to use my dictionary and/or thesaurus countless times while reading the series? The answer to all of those questions is YES. However, when reading, are these the sorts of things readers should really be focused on? My answer to that question is NO. So what if I had to use my thesaurus? So what if Ana and Christian talk differently than most of my American friends in some conversations? This was a beautiful piece of fiction. Rather than nagging about the fact that I had to look up several words, I saw it as an opportunity to expand my vocabulary, which I absolutely did. Now onto the fact that some people consider these books "PORN." That's absurd. Are there countless sexual encounters, most of them very graphic? Yes. Firstly, when you go to read these books, you are likely well aware of these facts. So, don't complain about it AFTER you read them. Secondly, I do not practice, nor do I know much about the BDSM sexual lifestyle. However, I feel that the BDSM lifestyle is essential to the story of Christian Grey. So are the numerous sexual encounters. The sex and the BDSM aspect play an important role in the story. Without it, the GROWTH of the characters would not be as evident. Christian is a troubled man with a disturbing past, which has led him to choose this type of lifestyle. However, Ana saves him. And, that is what makes this such a beautiful love story... Not to mention, the beginning of most new, steamy relationships does consist of a lot of sex. It's reality for most people. Here's another thing most reviews don't mention: These books are LAUGH OUT LOUD funny! The email exchanges between Ana and Christian had me giggling nonstop. In addition to giving me the giggles, the characteris in this story also warmed my heart, scared me to death, made me furious, and even made me cry. This trilogy has it all! My advice: ignore the bad reviews; ignore the repetition of some words and phrases throughout the book; look past all the sex. See what this story TRULY is: a BEAUTIFUL love story that is the perfect example of how love can change even the darkest of souls. I will certainly be reading the future works of EL James. The Fifty Shades Trilogy is by far my favorite series to date. If I could give 10 stars, I certainly would. READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hated it. Found that both the lead chatacters annoying ,i think Ana a actually "flushed" three times in the course of one page.geez! Enough with the flushing alteady!! If anyone wants to read a real piece of classic errotica try "the story of O" or perhaps " justine" by the marque de sade.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is godawful. I've given it one star because I can't seem to figure out how to give it zero stars. Aside from the amateurish writing that's riddled with conventional errors, it's a gross misrepresentation of BDSM. I'm sure those who engage in that lifestyle will be thrilled to know the novel portrays BDSM as a playground for a female pedophile and an emotionally disturbed who uses BDSM as an excuse to exorcise his inner childhood demons on subs who look like his abusive mother. Sick Oedipus complex aside, this novel is full of gaping holes in plot and character development. And that's quite a feat considering it used to be a work a fanfiction and those elements were already created for the author in the original work. At best this novel would be a guilty pleasure, like it's predecessor, Twilight. But there are many more established and accomplished novelists who do it better. It's a sad day for the literary community when this sub-par derivative work gets top billing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I consider myself a well read adult. I have to say I just DO NOT GET IT!!!!!! This is just an ongoing 384 pg book of a boring womans sexual tryst with an equally awful male. There were no surprises and the only reason the pages kept turning was the fact that I purchased this book after it hit No.1 on trade paperback list. I am thankful I had the Nook version....I feel sorry for the summertime beach readers who will undoubtedly show the cover for all to see. I felt it was redundant and too much sex for this novel just became a bad, boring thing. Absolutely no desire to purchase the other two books. Some say it kept the reader on edge...maybe... on the edge of a building about to jump off just trying to get to page 384!!! I wanted to poke my eyes out.....thank God it's over!!!!! I wish I didn';t have to give it one star, maybe this site should consider putting in negative numbers!!!!!!! If you are going to read something make it something else!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
stomach-churning prose with a woefully pathetic plot about a girl (she's of a woman's age, but hasn't the maturity) who, in rom-com form, bumbles and stumbles into this guy's life then does whatever she can to please him - humiliating things - in the hope that he will love her. if you're into kink, be into kink. if you're changing yourself in ways you aren't comfortable with in the hope that some power-hungry, manipulative jerk might like you - i feel sorry for you what a terrible storyline. what a terrible message for women and men. retro-grade trash.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like others I bought this to see what the fuss is about. It does make for a good book club discussion piece on how bad the book is. It's poorly written, choppy and stilted and is one of the worse romance stories I've ever read. Who would enjoy a romance where the woman cries every other page and the man is constantly angry and pathetic. The only thing I can see worthwhile is that some of the erotica scenes are half decent. But there are a lot of great books available that are well written with better romance stories and great sex scenes. Don't waste your money on this one.
jendallas More than 1 year ago
Oh my, she flushed. My inner goddess cannot believe she wasted six hours of her life reading this nonsense. I do not know that I have ever read a more poorly-written book. Did anyone even edit this book, or spell-check the content? The only thing I enjoyed about reading it was that I was able to read it on my iPad. That and the fact that I could hit "delete" when I finished it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
UGH...My friend told me everyone.on Long Island is reading this rubbish. Now I know why I moved from Long Island. This book is insulting to anyone who has higher than a third grade education.
fleurfairy More than 1 year ago
This book is depressing. That's the only way I know how to describe it. It felt like there was a dark cloud over my head while I was reading. I put the book down and felt the need to sit out in the sun for awhile. No exaggeration. The characters are horrible. Is this how young women think and act these days? Like completely clueless dolts? Are we supposed to think Christian Grey is sexy? Because he gave off a serious Ted Bundy vibe to me. I've read my fair share of romance novels and bodice rippers. I have even read and enjoyed the Twilight series. But I have never read such low quality writing in my life. How in the world did this get published? That's another aspect that depresses me. The English language has been butchered to a carcass. "Thomas Hardy" (whom the narrator contuinually mentions) is rolling over in his grave. Save your money, please.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I guess I just expected something more after all of the buzz. I was disappointed.
SuperBookish More than 1 year ago
Wonderful Book I enjoyed reading. kept me entertained all the way through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not sure if I can find the words to describe how badly written this book is. I actually purchased this for some light reading, something I can read while the tv is on. But I can go no further. I am no writer, and I certainly don't pretend to be, but this was just terrible. 60 pages worth of time I will never get back. Take my advice and give this disaster a miss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a voracious reader, and I have read many erotic romances. Not only was this book extremely poorly written, I also found it incredibly disturbing and downright disgusting in some places. I am not a fan of BDSM, but if it's well written with some real emotion behind it, I'll gladly give it a go. These characters have zero personality. She's a complete twit and he's a very disturbed robot. I knew by the end of the first page I couldn't bear to finish, but I forced myself to read about a third. Honestly, I've read much hotter sex scenes in a good historical romance. Some of the descriptions actually made my skin crawl. I am completely mystified how this book ever got published. No wonder she only used her initials on the cover.
CharleneVDavis More than 1 year ago
This is a great read and E. L. James certainly has some great storytelling techniques. The author does a great job of keeping the reader on the edge and she adds amazingly disturbing details in everything she writes. Last, a great book like this should undoubtedly be available on Nook.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rent. Rent. Rent. Overdrive or library. Seriously. This wasn't the best. Actually, the MC perspective makes an English Major cry. If she wasn't talking about her 'inner goddess' battling her subconscious -- this was every other page! -- it was a complete repetition of 'Oh my!' or 'Holy <input expletive>'. Even the medula oblogata popped up at least three times... and I've only EVER heard that from The Waterboy. You know what I'm talking about. The D/S scenes were the only thing really holding this story. 'Aargh!' is also the main characters' orgasm cry. Get used to that. Oh, on a final note...the author needs to work on their foreshadowing techniques. In the beginning, if every facial tweek Christian has is secretive... it's obvious. He has a secret.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's juvenile, repetitive till you want to scream, and it echoes the countless numbers of books of the same genre going back to the Marquis de Sade. I couldn't even begin to enumerate the stupidities in the narrative, but just as an example the narrator bites her lower lip so often that it's very surprising she still has one by the end of the book. She is portrayed as being innocent and unsophisticated (hence, the lip biting), but does she have to be so boring? Even the sex gets boring after a while, which is not a good thing for porn. The male is also predictable, with a secret past, a very limited wardrobe, and a totally unbelievable multimillion dollar business that he apparently manages via email and cell phone when not having his way with Ana, the narrator. He does have a penis the size of an overripe zucchini, though, so that's to his credit. I'd rather read about the perils of income tax preparation than any more of this ridiculous fiasco.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
$21.00? Get real!! Unfortunately, this originated from a Twilight fan fiction titled &quot;Master of the Universe.&quot; Google it and add &quot;PDF&quot; to get a copy. Basically, the author just changed Edward/Bella into Christian/Anna. Unbelievable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Book cant wait to see the movie! Also love HYPNOTIC by Marie E. another great book a quicker read but both 5 stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
People, he pulls her tampon out and kisses it. Gross. Oh, and it's the most poorly written book I have ever read by a mile. God awful!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this series from beginning to end. Once I picked up this first book I couldn't put it down. I had to read each book right after one another. Definitely worth the purchase and the time to read it. A series in which I loved every book..such a rare thing to find when reading series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Poorly written. Not good at all. How was this a ny times best seller?
alegna11 More than 1 year ago
I admit I bought this book because everyone on the news was talking about what a sensation it was and how it was THE book every woman was reading. I am someone who has read thousands of romance novels in my life and quite a few erotic novels as well. Honestly, I've gotten about halfway through...and that was only because I kept forcing myself to try and finish thinking that it would surely get better. I just can't relate to a main character who is so young and naive (and, frankly, a little weak minded) who cries constantly and acts like she has no control over her life. (The "erotic" scenes also left something to be desired.) I'll give this trilogy the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe she grows up and gets a spine by the end of this novel and certainly, hopefully, by the end of the trilogy. Unfortunately, I am just not invested enough to pay that kind of money to find out. If you're looking for a first foray into erotic literature, I suggest you start elsewhere. Bottom line: Do not buy into 50 shades of hype.
dpauli More than 1 year ago
I am ashamed to admitt I fell for all the media hype this book has generated. But the bottom line is Fifty Shades of Grey is poorly written with redundant dialog, absurd characters and a ridiculous story line. I am so surprised (and a little concerned) by the number of readers who gave it 5-Stars - were we reading the same book? PLEASE, PLEASE, do not waste your time or an ounce of your intellegence by reading this book, let alone the next two.