3 out of 4 stars
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There’s a reason people love books so much. They can be comforting in a difficult time, and act as a guide when you are traversing the complex waters of life. Four middle-aged women come across one such book. It changes their perspective towards the way they had been living their lives and inspires them to challenge their boundaries, expand their horizons. The book that works wonders for them is none other than the worldwide bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey. On the outside, Kelli, Lynn, Mel and Candy seem to have similar lives- happily married and mothers to kids who play baseball. However, their pictures are far from being perfect. Life has worked its way in their lives in very different ways. They are brought together when they hear about a sensational, record-breaking book, and a new door opens for all of them.
Fifty, Four Ways by Katherine Cobb is an answer to the question a lot of people have asked themselves for some time now- “why do people like Fifty Shades of Grey?” There might not be much of a plot in the book that inspired it, but Fifty, Four Ways succeeds in finding a higher ground with the help of four distinctly drawn characters. There was a wave that swept over the audience when the Fifty Shades trilogy hit the bookstands. Katherine Cobb took notice of that and decided to jot down a story that might well be based on true characters! People who are a fan of the Fifty Shades trilogy might find a lot of common ground with the characters of this book, and this is why they will be the perfect audience for it. People who aren’t a fan of the BDSM couple might not like it so much. Though, it does prove good in case you want to do some light reading.
When we read a book, we get lost in its grandeur and begin to believe that one can have a love as majestic as it is within the pages of the book. Something similar happens to the characters of this book. They have already been craving some excitement in their lives, and when they come across the adventures of Ana and Christian, they believe that they can use some of these tricks to their advantage. In its four characters, Fifty, Four Ways presents four ways in which one’s life can change after they’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey.
My rating for this book is 3 out of 4 stars. I am one of the people who didn’t really like Fifty Shades of Grey. However, I was curious about how other people might have perceived it, and this is why I decided to pick this book. There are so many ways in which it proves to be better than the Steele-Grey love charade. First of all, it has very realistic characters. These are no young virgins waiting for a millionaire man to whisk them off into a sexual reverie. These are very real, very believable women who live as real people do. I found it easy to understand to them, and most married women, who are well-off into their married lives, might find them relatable, too. The supporting characters, especially the husbands of these women, are also the portrayals of diverse personalities. This multiplicity provides a broad spectrum for the story to mature into.
The writing style of the author is quite good. This is a light novel and the author maintains that tone by sprinkling some humour here and there. Also, there is some sexual content in this book which should be expected, however, it is not as explicit as it was in the one that inspired it. Sexual innuendos pop in and out of the conversations and the thoughts of the characters, but not to the point of vulgarity. The story is told in the first person, and the point of view keeps switching from one character to another in every chapter. While in some cases, this discontinuity paves a path for confusion, no such thing happens here. The editing of this book seems perfect, as I didn’t find any grammatical errors in it.
Despite all its good traits, Fifty, Four Ways falls short of being a perfect novel. This view is, however, quite subjective, as there might be others who find it better than I did. I read all sorts of books and only give a 4/4 rating to those that I feel excited about recommending to others. With this book, I didn’t feel any such vigour. In fact, it did feel quite a mundane story to me. I didn’t feel the eagerness of finding out what happens next. I sympathised with the characters, I understood them. However, I didn’t feel connected enough to be excited for them. I find it a bit difficult to put a finger on why I didn’t like it enough, because, in essence, it is not at all a bad novel. It is, certainly, better than most. However, it is not one of the best.
Fifty, Four Ways
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