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What is "50 Shades of Grey" about?

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Quick Answer

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is an erotic novel about the torrid love affair between virginal college student Anastasia Steele and mysterious billionaire Christian Grey. The novel centers around bondage, dominance, submission and masochism.

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Full Answer

Steele, a 22-year-old Washington State University student, visits Seattle for an interview with one of her university's wealthy benefactors, Grey. The interview ends with the two of them flirting and Steele being both charmed and fascinated by Grey. After an awkward coffee date followed by an apology from Grey in the form of an expensive gift, the two begin a romantic relationship.

Steele soon learns of Grey's unique sexual tastes. He enjoys BDSM play and has a highly stylized and sophisticated room called the "Red Room of Pain" where his sexual exploits take place. After explaining his sexual interests in detail and having Steele sign papers giving her consent to participate, the two embark on a series of explicitly detailed sexual escapades that comprise the bulk of the story.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is the first installation of E.L. James' "Fifty Shades" trilogy. James began the book as a piece of fan fiction based on the "Twilight" series, and it quickly became popular through word-of-mouth. It was the fastest-selling adult novel of all time, and had sold 100 million copies worldwide as of February 2014.

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