50 shades of grey trilogy covers

Despite the controversy and criticism, 50 Shades of Grey has broken records by selling over 20 million copies. 50 Shades of Grey and 50 Shades Darker have remained on the best seller list for 16 consecutive weeks with no sign of disappearing. The book is the first novel to sell more than 1 million copies on the Amazon Kindle. The book has sparked media attention and uproar because of it's erotic language and sexual exploits. Usatoday.com reported that women can’t put it down because they crave love. Everyone loves a good love story and the book resonates with many women. Believing in love is what gets us through our day to day. For those who have not found true love, books like 50 Shades help solidify hope.

So we’ve asked average women, of all ages, who’ve read the record breaking book…why? Our panelists’ names and ages are listed below. Here’s what they had to say:

Why did the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy appeal to you?

Susan (52): I enjoyed the rapport between Anastasia and Christian and watching their relationship evolve.

Shelly (41): I heard it was a really good book…so I had to check it out.

Rachel (25): The buzz surrounding the trilogy and the author intrigued me. And I am always eager to get lost in a good book.

Sharon (33): Honestly, there was so much media hype and controversy around the book that I wanted to check it out for myself to see what all the fuss was about.

Nicole (41): Everyone was talking about it. My co-worker who is an avid reader and has suggested many, many books to me which I have thoroughly enjoyed loaded them on my Nook.

Did you go on to read the entire trilogy?

All of the women on our panel have or are in the process of reading the entire trilogy.

What did you take from the book?

Susan (52): When you find the right person who loves you and supports you, anyone can change themselves.

Rachel (25): In some ways, this book makes me feel normal. I sometimes wish my partner could be more like Christian Grey; proud, doting, honest and rich. As a woman, I resonate with Ana Steele and I can feel her pain and joy when dealing with the love of her life. And while Christian and Ana’s specific “situations” are rather unique, the story and journey of love and life come down to one specific task: compromise.

Michelle (32): How to overcome insecurities.

Nicole (41): All relationships are built on trust. If we can learn to trust the ones we love, we can make them work. Also that there truly is someone out there for everyone

Sharon (33): At its core, the story is a great romance story – and who doesn’t love a romance? The story also left me with a reminder not to always be afraid of the unknown.

Do you believe that E L James is an inspiration to other women authors?

E L james Headshot

Michelle (32): Yes.

Rachel (25): Personally I would not necessarily describe her as inspirational. I think her bold delivery, character development and honest writing makes her a force to be reckoned with in the literature world.

Shelly (41): I think anyone that writes something that’s “taboo” is inspiring, too many people worry too much about what society thinks is right or wrong.

Sharon (33): I do. I think she’s demonstrated to others that you don’t always need to “follow the rules” and it’s okay to shake things up a bit.

Aside from the obvious MA rating, what makes 50 Shades of Grey different from other romance novels?

Michelle (32): It’s very raw and to the point. Not only in respect to the MA rating but follows along with how women really think and react to things; both by what we think to ourselves and then how one would deal and react to something in real life.

Nicole (41): Not too sappy. This was not predictable and I love that. I loved the other elements that she added. I loved the danger and the mystery. I always wanted to keep reading.

I love the way it ended. It did not leave me wondering what happened to the couple.

Rachel (25): Having never read other romance novels I do not have much to compare it to. I both love and hate the characters. I have never encountered that in a novel before; usually I either love or hate a character but E L James makes me feel both.

Sharon (33): To be honest I haven’t read many true “romance” novels so I’m not sure how this book compares.

Shelly (41): I’m not sure what makes it different because this is my kind of book, you can’t have romance without sex.