Grey is nearly identical to Fifty Shades of Grey. The only difference is that the narrator - Christian instead of Anastasia - uses naughty words instead of heartland interjections like, "Holy cow!"
The whole point of the book is for readers to get a better sense of Christian's personality. Ha, just kidding! The whole point of the book is to milk as much money out of a product while expending as little energy as possible. And it's working: Grey sold over a million copies in its first four days. In truth, the book does offer a little bit more insight into Christian's mindset, although that's not always a good thing. Here's what we learn:
His default attitude is "pissed," "irritated" or "annoyed"
Christian is more emo than a teenage girl. And in that scenario, Anastasia would be playing the role of his mom, because she can't do anything right. Her transgressions? Not eating enough, not wanting to work at Christian's company, not phoning him in a timely manner, not reading contracts thoroughly enough, not emailing back in a timely manner, not being prepared enough for her interview with him, avoiding him, visiting her mother and using a disapproving tone. Oh, and being attractive, among other things.
His version of an inner goddess is a tyrant who calls him by his last name
Anastasia had an "inner goddess" who liked to boogie down when life was good. Christian's alter ego, like the man himself, doesn't cut loose. You certainly won't catch him salsa dancing. The voice in Christian's head exclusively calls him "Grey" and mercilessly berates him: "What the hell are you thinking, Grey?"; "Stop being such a s***, Grey"; "you're a fool, Grey"; "get a grip, Grey"; and "keep it casual, Grey."
Incidentally, Christian's inner tyrant refers to Anastasia only as "baby," as in, "yeah, I'm human, too, baby."
He's even more of a jealous, controlling stalker than you thought
If Anastasia were smart, she would have emailed Carolyn Hax for advice before signing that contract, and Hax would have offered one of her go-tos: Read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Of course, Fifty Shades would have turned into a very different, much shorter book.
It turns out Christian is even creepier than he appeared in Fifty Shades. He runs a background check on Anastasia (not to mention her friend Jose), which is how he knows where she works. He makes a point of running by her apartment when their relationship is on the rocks, trying to orchestrate a reunion after she explicitly tells him they're done. And then there's his attitude every single time a guy talks to Anastasia.
Anastasia can't so much as mention Jose's name without Christian's inner tyrant shaking his fist and hissing, "the photographer." And when Christian sees Anastasia with her best friend's brother, his subconscious is most certainly not dancing. "Stop pawing my girl, you (expletive)," it says.
He's sick and tired of being objectified by women
Poor Christian. He's more than just a handsome face and a big bank account, and yet ladies insist on sending flirtatious looks his direction. And it really, really irritates him. (So Ana isn't the only one who irritates him.)
Just look at how frustrated Christian is while handing out diplomas during Ana's commencement: "I'm in purgatory by the time we've reached the end of the line. I've been ogled, and had eyelashes batted at me, silly giggling girls squeezing my hand, and five notes with phone numbers pressed into my palm." The agony.
Chardonnay offends his sensibilities
But he loves a good Sancerre.
He obsessively overthinks everything
If you thought Anastasia's warp speed mental activity was overbearing, then don't even attempt to pick up Grey. With the exception of a few lines about his work - and, man, that job seems pretty undemanding - he hashes and rehashes every exchange he's ever had with Ana. He wonders if she'll say yes to the contract, and secretly longs for her to sign. He goes back and forth constantly: Will she sign it? Won't she? What if she doesn't? But what if she does?
Someone needs to tell this guy about the benefits of meditation.
He thinks about his penis approximately once every five seconds
And it has a mind of its own, often weighing in on the conversation with a nod of approval. More often than not, though, it just "twitches." A lot.
He has nightmares
And he usually shows up as a little boy looking for his mother. The book opens with one dream involving Christian as a child playing with cars and trying to get his mom's attention as she sits and stares at a wall. "Not now, Maggot," she says.
He's a family man
Christian rolls his eyes at his mother, Grace, and her interest in his love life. And he doesn't care for his brother Elliot's carousing, nor his pedestrian vernacular ("laters, baby"). But ultimately Christian loves his family, especially his sister Mia. When he gets an email from her, he thinks, "In spite of my bad mood, I smile. I've missed that kid." We also learn, from one of his dreams, that Mia's name was the first thing the psychologically damaged Christian was able to say. When she was a baby, he would hold her, try to make her laugh and rock her to sleep.
And he even proves to be kind of a softy when it comes to the family of his driver/bodyguard/assistant Taylor, letting the guy have a day off - just one, but that's something - to see his daughter. Christian even asks about it later, with the one-word question, "Sophie?"
"She's a doll, sir. And doing very well at school," Taylor responds.
"That's great to hear," Christian says before his mind inevitably drifts back to obsessing over his relationship with Anastasia.