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“Fifty Shades of Grey”: a modern love story

Ever since the international bestselling novel Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James hit it big, it has been labeled and dismissed by critics and reader alike as “mummy porn”. And, admittedly, for those who haven’t read the series (and probably even some who have) the first thing people think of when they hear the name is, well, sex. But it’s actually about a lot more than that. Fifty Shades of Grey is a modern love story full of passion, adventure and even a little danger.

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 realise 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.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.


This story has a polarising effect, drawing praise or criticism, but rarely anything in between. But regardless of what you may think of the writing, this is a modern love story which involves complex characters. Yes, woman like to read a passionate love story, and yes, there is a lot of erotic content in these books. But as the books go on, the sex changes as the relationship changes — you see the evolution of it.

The book (and film) devotes a lot of time to how woman want to be worshipped and feel special, which is really a universal theme for all Romance novels and movies — so it’s not just about sex in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Maybe this is just my inner hopeless romantic showing, but I would challenge anyone who believes that this series is just erotic fiction to really look at the love story that evolves over the three books.


When the story starts, Christian Grey believes he is a broken man. He believes he is not good enough to be loved, or touched, or wanted in any way other than as a Dominant. In a conversation with Ana, he says:

“Why don’t you like to be touched?”
“Because I’m fifty shades of f***ed-up, Anastasia”
— E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey

Due to his haunting and abusive childhood, Christian believes he is not capable of love and that he has no love to give, which is why the only relationship he strives for is the Dominant/Submissive kind. At the beginning of Fifty Shades of Grey, he tries (unsuccessfully) to warn Ana off purely because of this. He says:

“Anastasia, I’m not a hearts and flowers kind of man, I don’t do romance. My tastes are very singular. You should steer clear of me.”
— E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey

But, in the end, when he believes that no one could possibly love him, Ana does. She shows him that he is worth so much more than he thinks he is, and reminds him that is worthy of being loved — that he is worth falling in love with. She tells him:

“Christian, you are the state lottery, the cure for cancer, and the three wishes from Aladdin’s lamp all rolled into one.”
— E.L. James, Fifty Shades Freed

Ana breaks down the walls Christian puts up around him, becoming the first girlfriend to touch his chest where he has scars and call him by his first name. In turn, Christian opens up and softens up for the woman he loves. Ultimately, he tells Ana in Fifty Shades Freed that she has the key to to his “heart and soul.” Through their relationship, Ana shows him what he once thought was impossible: that despite everything, he is capable of falling in love with someone.

Where he let other woman go because they wanted more and he wasn’t capable of giving it, with Ana he realises that he is capable of giving more, and not only that — that he actually wants to.

While Christian swore up and down that he was no “hearts and flowers man,” he falls for Ms. Steele so hard that he ends up giving her exactly that — his heart and plenty of flowers.

“He makes me graceful, that’s his skill. He makes me sexy, because that’s what he is. He makes me feel loved, because in spite of his fifty shades, he has a wealth of love to give.”
— E.L. James, Fifty Shades Freed

That is why, amid all the sexy and steaming scenes in this novel, there is a real love story: because Ana takes a man who thought he incapable of love and romance because he believed he was broken, and heals him. And, in doing so, shows him that is worthy of being loved, and reminds him that despite everything, he has “a wealth of love to give” when he found the right person to give it to.


  1. You said it perfectly. With their “love story” in mind, what books would you recommend that have similar “love stories”? I’ve read the trilogy and the two from Grey’s perspective because I love their story more than the erotic part of it. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Stephanie – thank you! Ohh… Jessica Park’s novel Left Drowning has a similar love story where the guy doesn’t believe he’s worth loving and the girl fights for him anyway, desperate to prove him wrong and show him that he is capable of, and deserves, real love. It’s not as erotic – it’s classed as new adult fiction not adult fiction – and obviously isn’t written in the same tone, but it still overlaps with Fifty Shades’ “love story”. Hope this helps! 🙂


      1. Thank you so much for the recommendation. WOW that book was a great one!! I like that the book was mostly the emotions and experiences with a “hint” of erotic compared to 50 Shades. Keep the recommendations coming. Thanks again!!

        Liked by 1 person

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