E.L. James’ Grey is nearly identical to her Fifty Shades of Grey. The only difference is that the narrator – Christian instead of Anastasia – uses naughty words instead of heartland exclamations like, “Holy cow!”
The whole point of the book is for readers to get a better sense of Christian’s personality. Ha, just kidding! The whole point of the book is to milk as much money out of a product while expending as little energy as possible. And it’s working: Grey(Vintage, $15.95) sold more than a million copies in its first four days after its release June 18.
In truth, the book does offer a little bit more insight into Christian’s mind-set, although that’s not always a good thing. Here’s what we learn:
His default attitude is “irritated” or “annoyed.”
Christian is more emo than a teenage girl. And in that scenario, Anastasia would be playing the role of his mom, because she can’t do anything right. Her transgressions? Not eating enough, not wanting to work at Christian’s company, not phoning him in a timely manner, not reading contracts thoroughly enough, not emailing back in a timely manner, not being prepared enough for her interview with him, avoiding him, visiting her mother and using a disapproving tone. Oh, and being attractive, among other things.
His version of an inner goddess is a tyrant who calls him by his last name.
Anastasia had an “inner goddess” who liked to boogie down when life was good. Christian’s alter ego, like the man himself, doesn’t cut loose. You certainly won’t catch him salsa dancing. The voice in Christian’s head exclusively calls him Grey and mercilessly berates him: “What the hell are you thinking, Grey?”; “You’re a fool, Grey”; “Get a grip, Grey”; and “Keep it casual, Grey.”
Incidentally, Christian’s inner tyrant refers to Anastasia only as “baby,” as in, “Yeah, I’m human, too, baby.”
He’s even more of a jealous, controlling stalker than you thought.
If Anastasia were smart, she would have emailed Carolyn Hax for advice before signing that contract, and Hax would have offered one of her go-tos: Read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Of course, Fifty Shades would have turned into a very different, much shorter book.
It turns out Christian is even creepier than he appeared in Fifty Shades. He runs a background check on Anastasia (not to mention her friend Jose), which is how he knows where she works. He makes a point of running by her apartment when their relationship is on the rocks, trying to orchestrate a reunion after she explicitly tells him they’re done. And then there’s his attitude every single time a guy talks to Anastasia.
Anastasia can’t so much as mention Jose’s name without Christian’s inner tyrant shaking his fist and hissing, “the photographer.” And when Christian sees Anastasia with her best friend’s brother, his subconscious is most certainly not dancing. “Stop pawing my girl, you [expletive],” it says.
He’s sick and tired of being objectified by women.
Poor Christian. He’s more than just a handsome face and a big bank account, and yet ladies insist on sending flirtatious looks his direction. And it really, really irritates him. (So Ana isn’t the only one who irritates him.)
Just look at how frustrated Christian is while handing out diplomas during Ana’s commencement: “I’m in purgatory by the time we’ve reached the end of the line. I’ve been ogled, and had eyelashes batted at me, silly giggling girls squeezing my hand, and five notes with phone numbers pressed into my palm.” The agony.
Chardonnay offends his sensibilities.
But he loves a good Sancerre.
He obsessively overthinks everything.
If you thought Anastasia’s warp speed mental activity was overbearing, then don’t even attempt to pick up Grey. With the exception of a few lines about his work – and, man, that job seems pretty undemanding – he hashes and rehashes every exchange he’s ever had with Ana. He wonders if she’ll say yes to the contract and secretly longs for her to sign. He goes back and forth constantly: Will she sign it? Won’t she? What if she doesn’t? But what if she does?
Someone needs to tell this guy about the benefits of meditation.