I always try to judge a book by whether it sticks with me after I'm done.
Do I remember most of what happened during the story? Do I feel for the characters? Did it have an impact on me?
In all of the categories, I have to say that "Fifty Shades of Grey" did all of these things.
So, my verdict from a male point of view is the first installment in E. L. James' trilogy is a good book worth reading.
I can't recommend it to everyone because its overall subject matter might be disturbing to some folks. Parts of it were for me.
I'm not sure my reaction is typical of most men. I didn't read "Fifty Shades" as a husband, father or grandfather. I read it as a writer who has written manuscripts himself.
The book overcame some mediocre writing with a unique plot intertwined with interesting characters. In a book or movie, all I want is a good story. The subject matter doesn't weigh that heavily in my decision making. The film or novel can be about war, romance or adventure. It doesn't matter. A good story is a good story.
The sex-related scenes in "Fifty Shades" aren't for the faint-hearted, to be sure. However, there isn't an overabundance of them and they fit in with the story. They are an intricate part of the plot. They reveal something about both main characters.
Again, the most interesting aspect of the book to me was the relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. He is a disturbed, powerful and charming man and she is a funny, likable, vulnerable woman. Both are making questionable choices and you follow along with interest.
The book has a powerful ending that intentionally leaves you hanging.
So, I guess the big question is whether I will read "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed."
Well, I don't know. Like Anastasia, I'm not sure what I'm going to do.