The story follows the development of the relationship between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Christian is into BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism) and Ana just wants a regular old relationship (something she's never had before, as she has never before been attracted to anybody). Once they've met, Christian just seems to be horrible to her 75% of the time and she spends a lot of time very upset by his behaviour.
After about one hundred pages, they start to have sex with one another and, my goodness, I found this very hard to read. Some scenes in particular made me feel downright nauseous, for me, it was horrible. I found myself worrying every time they were alone together that, before long, they'd just be engaging in some explicit activity. On the other hand, if you like that sort of thing, maybe you should view this as an upside.
Another thing that really bothered me was Christian. He is a terrible, arrogant, annoying person, how on Earth anybody can read this and find him to be an attractive partner is beyond me. Quite often he'll force sex onto Ana and, since she's so obsessed with him, she lets him do it. So, since she's so obsessed with him, she lets him rape her. Yep. The worst thing is, that it's never really shown in a bad light, he never seems to be condemned for this.
The only upside, for me, was that there are a few sections of the novel where the two of them are emailing each other, and, in fact, they were quite enjoyable. Ana has more confidence when she emails and so is happier to stand up to him and criticise him, which is good. These email scenes are throughout the book too. Though, sadly, one time she's criticising him in an email, so he decided to come round for a little bit of rape. Oh dear. It's not the worst book I ever read, I did still want to find out what happens to the characters (and I wonder if I should read the sequels or not) but this was not good. Rating: 5/10