There is a brand, shiny new Fifty Shades of Grey book out from E.L. James called, simply, Grey. The book retells the events from the first book in the Fifty Shades trilogy from the perspective of its tortured and turbulent male lead, Christian Grey — so what are the differences between Grey and Fifty Shades of Grey? Well, in most respects, it's very faithful to the original book. So fans will hopefully be pleased. However, in some ways the book is pretty different.
Grey by E L James, $9.59, Amazon
Plot-wise, the book is absolutely faithful to the original series. Everything from the dialogue to the sequences of the sex scenes stays the same (and unfortunately they aren't any more accurate about what real-world BDSM practices are like). The book is even told in first person present tense narration, giving it the same sense of immediacy as the original. The only difference is that now we get to see the scenes from Christian's perspective — which is exactly what fans have been hoping for. Christian Grey has always been closed off and guarded, reluctant to share what's going on in his head. So, seeing the series from his perspective is a chance to get to know him better and understand his (often murky) motivations.
Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James, $7.34, Amazon
In some ways, however, Grey really is different than the previous Fifty Shades novels. Here are five ways that the new book differs from the original story:
No More Subconscious and Inner Goddess
Throughout the first three books, Ana's inner monologue was full of input from her reserved and sarcastic "subconscious" and her sexually eager "inner goddess," but Christian Grey seems to be free of any such anthropomorphic mental characters. He also replaces Ana's mental catch phrase "holy crap" with shall we say much stronger profanity. "Damn" is... conservative for Christian.
Way More About Christian's Childhood Abuse
Although Ana slowly learns more and more about Christian's tragic early life during the course of the trilogy, in Grey we start getting hints of it right from the first page. The book opens with Christian dreaming about a scene from his childhood, and it only gets more prevalent as the book goes on. While in the original book Christian's abuse sometimes seemed like it might be a prop to make him more compelling and interesting, here we see that his past trauma very much informs his day-to-day thinking.
Way More About Christian's Life in General
It might be expected, given that this is a book about Christian, but it's still worth noting that we see a lot more about Christian's life here, things that remained vague or absent even by the end of the series once he and Ana had gotten to know one another much better. We get to see his relationship with his siblings much more closely, and get to watch him attend meetings and run his company. All in all, this book definitely feels like it has more subplots than the previous ones — or at least more subplots unrelated to Christian and Ana's romance. Which isn't hard since there weren't that many of those in the first ones.
Christian Is Even Creepier, and Ana Is Even Blander
I know this might make the truly die hard Fifty Shades fans hate me, but let us be honest with each other — Christian Grey's control issues are seriously creepy. I mean, tracking the cell phone of a girl you just met? That's the sort of stuff that is a major, major red flag in the real world, no excuses. And it turns out that when you get to see Christian's thought process in deciding to run that cell phone trace just because this girl drunk dialed you, it's way creepier. As is the fact that by page 17 Christian has already run a background check on Ana, having met her once, and now knows her social security number.
Ana, meanwhile, was always a rather vague character in the books, which works great when she's the narrator since it allows the reader to imagine themselves as her and probably has a lot to do with how quickly people get hooked on the novels. When looking at her from the outside, however, she's just not as interesting.
The Book Doesn't End In the Same Place
The biggest overall difference between the two novels, however, is probably the ending. In Fifty Shades of Grey, the novel ends immediately after Ana leaves Christian following an unfortunate incident in his playroom. But in Grey, the story continues for another 40 pages, showing Christian's sense of loss after Ana's decision to end the relationship and his ultimate determination to win her back.
So does this ending mean that we can expect another book from Christian's perspective? Only time will tell.
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