Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Fifty Shades of Crazed


There’s been no stopping “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy, written by Erika Leonard under the pen name “E.L. James,” has become a global phenomenon. It’s been a fan favorite among all genders and ages.

What has everyone in such a crazed state of obsession? Christian Grey, of course.

Chief executive and unofficial sexpert, Christian Grey, has captured the hearts of women everywhere with his charming personality and his dark sexual knowledge.

The erotically graphic plot of the trilogy undoubtedly attracts readers, but some critics say James took the sensuality much too far. Some libraries in Florida went as far as banning the books from shelves for a short time due to the pornographic nature of the story. However, the books were brought back by popular demand as well as a result of many complaints from local fans.

The controversy surrounding the novels has not inhibited James’ success in the least. The series has become so wildly popular that movie rights were sold to Universal Pictures and Focus Features six months ago for $5 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film is highly anticipated and will be produced by Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti (the same duo that produced “The Social Network”).

The announcement of the upcoming film has caused book sales to soar even higher and has catalyzed further conversations about the series. Fans have been sent reeling regarding which actresses could fill the shoes of the innocent, down-to-earth Anastasia Steele and, more importantly, which actors could possibly live up to the perfection of Christian Grey.

Meanwhile, fans are calling for more narratives from E.L. James. According to, a website dedicated to popular culture, James has been questioned about something of a spin-off novel written from Christian’s perspective rather than Ana’s (as in the published trilogy).

James has supposedly not written the idea off, spawning tons of positive feedback as well as wishful posts from fans awaiting her next work. Others are having their own fun with the stories already published by James.

For instance, Jonathan Denby, a playful hotel owner in England replaced the standard copy of the Holy Bible in each room’s nightstand with a copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey, according to Genevieve Shaw Brown, ABC’s travel and lifestyle editor.

Others have created Twitter accounts impersonating characters from the novels such as @ChristianTGrey and @AnaRSteele. These impressionists tweet quotes from the novels and interact with their followers as if they are the characters themselves.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” has topped best-seller lists around the world and has been dubbed the fastest selling paperback, surpassing the rate that most of the “Harry Potter” books and all of the “Twilight” books were sold.

The “Fifty Shades” trilogy began as online fan-fiction posts based on the “Twilight” saga; Christian and Ana were then known as Edward and Bella. However, the manuscript was heavily revised, changed and edited into what we now know as “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Parallels can still be drawn between the two best-selling series in terms of character personas, but the stories are far too different to run into any copyright issues.

“Fifty Shades” is geared toward mature, adult readers because of its erotic plot and detailed accounts of masochism, while “Twilight” is much more teen-based with its standard vampire characters and its love themes.

James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” has captured the attention of audiences far and wide due to its wildly revealing and explicit plot. James is surely not scarce with erotic details and readers quickly come to realize that she is not short on talent either. Although the sex appeal of the book may be the initial attraction for curious readers, James’ adept writing is what keeps audiences captivated and hanging on her every word until the third and final book comes to a close.

Who knows when the craze for “Grey” will fade.

Erin O’Malley can be reached at [email protected].

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