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Publisher's Summary

Please note: This audiobook contains graphic adult content.

Random House Audio’s recording of Fifty Shades of Grey has been remastered in a new edition. If you've already purchased the audiobook, you can re-download the file from My Library to get the new audio.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of his success—multinational businesses, vast wealth, a loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

©2011 E L James (P)2012 Random House

Critic Reviews

  • Finalist, GoodReads Choice Awards, Best Romance

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Susan
  • Parkland, FL, United States
  • 05-04-12

Fifty Shades of Bad Writing

What would have made Fifty Shades of Grey better?

First, get a better narrator. I never read the book in print. However, listening to Ana and Christian's endless emails, (including dates and times) made me want to pass out from bordom. Further, the constant bickering between Ana's subconsious and her "inner goddes" was annoying, and the writer's overly-generous use the terms "holy cow", "holy s--t", and "oh my" became predictable. I'm no prude, and have read many books with erotic components. However, with the writer's use of the same descriptions over and over again (e.g. "exquisit orgasm"), even the sex scenes became boring. I truely don't understand why this book has received so much hype.

What could E L James have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Take a writing class

Would you be willing to try another one of Becca Battoe’s performances?


1,082 of 1,188 people found this review helpful

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Laughed so hard, I nearly coughed up a lung!!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would have Gilbert Gottfried narrate the entire thing. That would really take this craptacular audiobook to the next level - definitely. Seriously folks...I'm not even kidding - watch the clip of him reading selections of this on You Tube. Classic. Absolute claaaaassssssiiiiiicccc.

Would you recommend Fifty Shades of Grey to your friends? Why or why not?

Only to people that can laugh at truly bad work that was meant to be taken seriously. In fact, get them all in a room together with copious amounts of alcohol and blast this audiobook. Make it a drinking game - take a shot every time Anastasia refers to her "inner goddess" or sputters "oh, my!" Take another shot every time creepy Grey "levels his intense (serial killer-like) gaze upon Anastasia". On second thought, don't - everyone will wind up dead from alcohol poisoning.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Let's see, was it Ms. Battoe's mind-numbingly dull and droning Valley Girl-esque delivery? Check. Could it be her even worse leaden vocal rendition of the rich-yet-menacingly-sexy sociopath that is Mr. Grey? Check that too. HIGH-LAR-I-OUS. Best yet, I love the fact that it's told in first person through Anastasia's character. In no time you'll be screaming to be let out of her brain. Help! Hellllppp! Someone get me out of here!!

Was Fifty Shades of Grey worth the listening time?

Only to a very small percentage of the population that enjoys books and films meant to be taken seriously but can be enjoyed for all the wrong reasons. Just when you think Anastasia couldn't possibly be more knuckle-draggingly stupid...she manages to reach a new low. Every single time. Guaranteed! In fact, Anastasia Steel is such a cretin that I often wonder how this character could function in daily society. Oh yeah. She can't. It would all make more sense if her character suffered some kind of brain injury that would preclude her being this naive or possessing such a painful lack of cognitive skills with zero tolerance for self awareness.

Any additional comments?

Folks, this is just a symptom of a much, much bigger problem with the state of extremely successful books and films. Why do we support work that depicts all female leads in today's big hits (I'm looking at YOU, Hunger Games Automaton Catniss and Twilight Boneheaded Bella!) as completely blank maidens in distress that have absolutely no sense of self awareness or willingness to own their own sexuality, much less be completely unable to understand if and why a man finds them attractive, preferring to remain asexual robots until they're felt up or kissed unexpectedly?? Such is the sad state of female leads in books and films. If I didn't laugh, I'd have to give up books and films altogether. If this is considered the only socially acceptable form of porn for mommies, they should have higher standards. We should too.

661 of 728 people found this review helpful

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  • Rick
  • Lino Lakes, MN, United States
  • 06-27-12

Should've read the reviews first.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?


Would you ever listen to anything by E. L. James again?

Her announcement that she is retiring from writing?

How could the performance have been better?

Stop whining and dropping off on the end of her words like a lazy Valley-girl.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

it taught me to always read reviews first and I enjoyed reading some of the other regretful reviews.

Any additional comments?

I'm sad for all of us.

764 of 842 people found this review helpful

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  • Diane
  • Winthrop, MA, United States
  • 05-26-12

There's hours of my life I will never get back!

Would you try another book from E L James and/or Becca Battoe?

No. I am all done with this author and narrator. I understand the author wrote fanfiction. It's too bad some publisher picked her over the hundreds of others I have read. This book was not erotic, well written or even interesting. The plot was missing, these characters had no spart and I did not buy the attraction for one minute. The overuse of 'holy', 'inner goddess', 'oh my', 'hot' and 'Christain Grey" made this book more annoying than anything else. Once you sleep with a man, he loses his last name forever. When the main character spends so much time wondering why he picked her, we start to feel the same way because she comes off as boring and unreal. We are supposed to believe that she has never had a relationship by the time she is 22? She lives with the editor of the school newspaper who comes from a wealthy urban family and has remained 'naive'? EL spend some time watching American television and you will realize there is no way thsi person exists.

Would you ever listen to anything by E L James again?


Would you be willing to try another one of Becca Battoe’s performances?

Absolutely NOT. She is horrible and should stand aside to let better performers obtain the job.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Fifty Shades of Grey?

The emails, and the endless talks with her subconvious and inner goddess.

Any additional comments?

I wish I could get my cedit back!

569 of 627 people found this review helpful

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  • Penny
  • Oklahoma
  • 05-21-12

Holy Crap minus the Holy

The only emotions this book stirs in me is anger. I can't believe I wasted my credit on this. I am angry that this so called piece of literature was even published. I would have left minus stars if I could have. I feel duped by all the hype surrounding this book. I have seen it on the cover of magazines and on news programs, all with good things to say. Why??? I don't blame the author, I blame the editor and the publisher. Sadly there are more talented authors out there that take literature seriously that can't even get there foot in the door. But this dollar store throw away gets on the New York Times Best Seller list??? You've got to be kidding me. How??

This book is definitely thought provoking. My thoughts aren't what the author had in mind I am sure. First of all you want your readers to believe this is a romance, but in truth its an abusive relationship. Do a little research. Your hero, Christian Grey, 26 year old billionaire, flys a helicopter, is a pretty boy creep and the guy you teach your daughters to stay away from. How many red flags do you have to have? The difference is in real life the flags are much harder to see. This one comes with a contract, that is painfully read word for word. Your heroine, Anastasia Steele is 22 an idiot, with a college education, a virgin, no computer, no email address, naive, an American and no vocabulary. Even the names are ridiculous. Steele/Grey. Ridiculous and non believable. My intelligence has been insulted.

I am not even offended by the erotica. I am not a prude. But even that was lacking. Kinda turned me off, not on. Perhaps it was Anastasia's begging.

The narrator wasn't all that bad either. I could tolerate it. She didn't really have great material did she? There is no way to turn a bologna sandwich into a steak. And this is exactly what the author, editor and publisher want you to believe. I wonder how much money they have spent promoting this. Hope it hurts a little, like losing my credit hurt me. Did that sound sadistic? Well Holy Cow, I'm sorry.

I think I will sit down write murmur a thousand times, Oh my! a couple of hundred times. Throw in a couple of long fingers, Call a Vagina, "down there" . add a couple explicit sex scenes and call this publisher. Obviously anyone can write a book, get it published and make a million. Story? Who needs a story?

1,106 of 1,220 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • West Creek, NJ, USA
  • 06-03-12

I can't believe I bought ths

What would have made Fifty Shades of Grey better?

As a long-time (over a decade) Audible listener, I was intrigued when a friend chastised me when I told her that I knew nothing about the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy. Out of curiosity I downloaded and listened. I was sincerely shocked that this is a best seller, that women don’t find this insulting and offensive, that the insertion of soft porn into every 10 pages could make a sophomoric storyline into a best seller (ok, I guess that one is no big surprise). Maybe I’m just annoyed that I didn't think to write this and reap the profits? Who knew?? I obviously think way to much. I have listened to over a thousand books in my travels. Some fantastic, some awful; however, even the awful weren't in the same intellectually shallow category. They might have not been my cup of tea for whatever reason, but I could say I learned something. I guess I could say what I learned here is how far such a large portion of our society has slipped intellectually. Terrorists should be laughing hysterically! They should be doubled over saying "that's hot" and "oh my." They don’t have to plot to destroy our country. We have apparently dumbed down our educational system and expectations to the point of diminishing or possibly no return.

What could E L James have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

No comment

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Makes no difference when there are lines continually repeated like "Oh my" and "that's so hot"

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger, sadness, disappointment AND disgust.

Any additional comments?

I am not a prude. If you are going to write something erotic, do it well. This was CRAP.

718 of 793 people found this review helpful

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  • Kd
  • CLINTON, MS, United States
  • 05-16-12

Really 2.5

Disappointed! Disappointed! It may just be me, but I'm clueless as to why there's so much fuss about this book. I fell for all of the hype and purchased this book. But I could barely finish it, was so happy when it was over, and quickly removed the two sequels from my wish list b/c I don't care what happens next. The only reason I finished it was to find out more about the history of the main male character, the reason for the book title--which I do with all books--and my unflinching hope and belief that the book had to get better. Apparently it didn't. The author repeatedly and without fail refers to female sexual parts as "down there" while also repeatedly referring to sex using the f word; this makes no sense. It felt and sounded like the only dialogue that the main female character included "oh my," hot," "my inner goddes," and "so bossy." She sounded like a very young, immature child doing very adult things and, supposedly, engaged in an adult relationship. That pseudo adult relationship was a one-sided adult experience. I don't know if the immaturity was just the writtend dialogue or the narrator's take on the dialogue or both. I'm leaning towards the latter. But the dialogue is where I put most of the blame when I think of how disappointed I was in the book. It was hard to understand the main male character's attraction to the main female one other than seeing her as a submissive. Considering she sounded like she was 11, his assessment might be understandable. But he confused immaturity with submissiveness. If I never hear another girl refer to anything sexual as "hot" or a female say "oh my" it'll be too soon! To refer to a male sexual dominant as "bossy" seemed dumb and too obvious. Duh! And the same female main character seemed to be unconvincing in her fear and concern about BDSM. The book was too long and not worth all of the hype. The sex scenes are explicit but the language didn't always coincide, so it's difficult to really call it erotica. Though it's certainly past the general romance genre. I don't know. Overall, if I had any idea, if I knew before what I know now, I certainly wouldn't have purchased it. If you can get it free, from a library or something, save your dime, IMO.

1,039 of 1,153 people found this review helpful

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  • colleen
  • ANCHORAGE, AK, United States
  • 06-10-12

one star is too many

I don't know why I bought it. I guess I was compelled by the hype and the promise of over the top tales of .... whatever. I hated it. The characters were STUPID and unconvincing. It was awful. Like awful on top of awful, handcuffed to more awful. I'm not sure who the target audience for this book. I'm going to go sanitize my ear buds. In the future I plan to deny I ever listened to it.

302 of 335 people found this review helpful

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Please buy this author a thesaurus (for starters)!

Spoiler Alert! I don't usually read "romances" but I was suckered in by all the hype. I hope they are generally better written.

First point: the vocabulary.

If I had known, I would have kept track of how many times Ana said, "Ooooh, myyyyy!" That seemed to be the only reaction the author could think of.

I told my daughter (who is a book editor) that if they make a movie of this, the audience will miss half the dialog since there was so much of it that was "murmured." There were entire conversations that were murmured.

In my entire life, I had never heard the word "clambered" used that much.

Second point: the attraction.

Ana is attracted to this man, but the only thing she keeps repeating is how stunningly beautiful he is. She's not a gold-digger, but she is so taken by his looks. I can understand a naive young woman (are there really women this naive and innocent?) being flattered by the attentions of a 27-year-old self-made billionaire (is there one of these besides Mark Zuckerberg?), but there doesn't seem to be a lot beyond infatuation.

Third point: the precedent.

I'm not a prude and I'm not a stranger to erotic fiction. I've written some myself. When I finished this book, I thought back over it. This naive young girl was lured into a world that she knew nothing about by a dashingly handsome man. He flattered her and cajoled her. The book romanticizes a jealous possessive stalker who abused her physically and mentally, and who convinced her that she wanted it. He never told her he loved her because he didn't.

I thought about all the young women who would read this book, and fall in love with Christian Grey. Domestic violence is on the rise in this country. I have known a few victims of it, and I know how difficult it is for them to leave the abuser because "he loves me." I worry that naive young women who find themselves in abusive relationships will be more tolerant because they will think it's okay after reading this book.

Fourth point: the narrator.

She was equal to the quality of the writing.

I will not be downloading the sequels.

601 of 670 people found this review helpful

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I regret downloading this book!!!

Any additional comments?

This has to be one of the worst books I've ever listened to. I couldn't even listen to the whole thing. A lot of the reviewers complained about the narrator, but I couldn't stomach the story itself. I didn't realize it was basically a porno and not even well written porn at that. The author needs to come up with some other lines instead of repeatedly using the same ones such as "I peeked at him through my lashes". Is that even possible?! I wish I hadn't wasted my time or money!

239 of 266 people found this review helpful