06/24/2015 06:07 EDT | Updated 06/24/2016 05:59 EDT

Six Not-So-Punishing Reasons to Read Grey: 50 Shades as Told by Christian

JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images
British author E.L. James poses with a copy of her new book 'Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian' at the Barnes and Noble store on Fifth Avenue in New York on June 18, 2015. The 'Fifty Shades' trilogy is a record-breaking contemporary publishing phenomenon, selling more than 125 million copies worldwide and translated into more than 50 languages. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)


Happy birthday, Christian Grey. And what a celebration you must have had on June 18. After all, not everyone gets their own novel written all about them -- and on their special day, no less. But wait! Hasn't your story been told? Didn't we already close the last chapter on your life after you and your muse, Anastasia, got your happily ever after at the end of 50 Shades Freed?

Apparently not. Ever since the filthy-minded and now super-rich E.L. James made the surprise announcement that she was releasing the fan-requested (and previously teased both in her fanfic and at the end of Freed) Grey -- Fifty Shades as told from Christian's POV -- there was buzz. Would we learn anything new? Was this a money grab designed to capitalize on the more than 125 million copies of her trilogy sold worldwide? Is Christian a psychopath or a sheep in wolf's clothing?

Most importantly, we wanna know: Does Christian have an inner God (maybe demon?) and a bossy subconscious of his own lurking in there somewhere?

Answers: yes, yes, no, and surprisingly, yes.

Which raises the question: Is it worth shelling out the $18.95 for the book ($11.99 ebook)? Decide for yourself.

6 Reasons You Should Read Grey Right Now

1. The 411 factor

Christian Grey is one complicated guy, to say the least. This man of few words but many thoughts can be hard to figure out. Is he a stalker or just persistent? Is he as confident as he seems? What motivates and drives him? We've wondered how he's so successful at such a young age and why he seeks so much control and this window into our man's very thoughts answers all your questions.

2. The odd appreciation for the original

Grey has obviously been edited and someone, somewhere, somehow, succeeded in reigning in E.L. James and her strange literary acrobatics. However, we're sad to say, this follow-up lacks some of the uniqueness -- and unlikely hilarity -- of the trilogy. Could it be that we actually like, in some sadomasochistic, self-punishing way, the author's strange turns of phrase? Plus, it's way less dirty. Which is sad considering these books almost spawned an industry. Have they edited out the fun?

3. The commitment involved

If you've seen the movie and read the entire trilogy cover-to-cover, you kinda have a responsibility to yourself to see this thing through. Aw, come on now. You know you want to.

4. The revisiting of your favourite scenes

No pun intended, because we're not necessarily using the word "scenes" in the same way Christian does -- unless you want us to. Nonetheless, get ready to swoon once again as our hero rescues Ana when she faints in the bar, introduces her to the wonders of coitus (we're not sure about you, but our first time didn't go exactly like that), and participates in the joys of menstruation (GROSS!). Whatever.

5. The falling in love all over again

There's a reason so many women got hooked on 50 Shades of Grey and it obviously wasn't the lofty prose. It was the romance between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Whatever E.L. James' literary failings are, she can create compelling characters who make us FEEL. Sure, critics have derided the story with claims that the relationship was abusive and misleading. But the trope of sweet young thing saving damaged hunk will never die because we women live for that crap.

6. The window into the guy

Every woman is the same: We wanna know what goes on in a man's mind. And this window into Christian's thoughts shows us that he's as confused and consumed by the relationship as Ana is. He's far less in control, and way more damaged than she might think. This book lets us begin to view Christian Grey as less of a stalker and more of an empathetic character.

What we still don't know:

Hmmmm. We're wondering whether much of this book in rebuttal to abuse advocates, or if its purpose to support and protect the upcoming movies?

Why so many of our questions still go unanswered after 500 more pages? The most pressing one? How did a college student living in the year 2010 fail to own a computer or cell phone?

Guess we'll have to keep our eyes peeled for a prequel. Why make up new characters when the old ones work just fine? Right, E.L.?

By: Mara Shapiro, Co-founder and co-editor of

Originally published on BrazenWoman: Lifestyle for women 35+.


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