After hearing a lot about this, I decided to read this book to see how bad it is. It took me two attempts to read this book. I got 10 chapters in before having to stop for a few months because this was just really bad. Just on a technical level, the writing was very childish. It made Ana come across as a young teenager, which helped make things creepier for me.
For a book that supposedly featured a lot of BDSM, there really wasn't an awful lot of that present. And what it did show, the book seemed to present as how all BDSM relationships go. Also, dominant does not automatically equal sadist, which is what the book seemed to say.
Almost every relationship in this book was really messed up in some way or another. Christian and Ana's was just straight up abusive. Jose and Kate were crappy friends to Ana, Jose for the sexual assault and Kate for pushing Ana toward Christian half the time, despite thinking that he's bad news. What little we saw of Ana's mother was not so great either.
There are so many reasons why Christian is a horrible person that it's difficult to just pick a few examples. He's horribly possessive, telling Ana to stay away from him, yet pursuing her anyways. When they do decide to attempt a relationship, he just throws the contract at her without really sitting down with her to explain things. Communication is especially important to a BDSM relationship, but even more so when one member is a total newbie to BDSM like Ana. When Ana says she needs space to think about things and goes to visit her mother, Christian follows her across the country. When they do need to talk about important things, Christian is always giving her alcohol, which she has a low tolerance to. When Ana sends him an email saying she can't do this (which was a joke, which I didn't get), Christian comes to her house, breaks in, and then rapes her, saying she can't leave him. After one BDSM session, Christian just leaves her afterward, which messes Ana up completely. When they're supposed to be negotiating things, anytime Ana says she doesn't want something, Christian is like, well I do so we're going to work up to that. Basically, what Christian wants, he gets, Ana's desires be damned.
And I'm just going to stop because this is actually making me mad all over again.
The book was basically Ana not wanting to be in a BDSM relationship, but wanting to be with Christian. Hell, she is terrified of him throughout the book. She's scared of what he'll do to her. That's not healthy.
Even getting past all the horrible abusiveness that's painted as romantic, I just didn't find the book to be well-written at all. I have no idea how it became so popular as a romantic love story. The only thing mildly enjoyable about reading it was trying to spot all the similarities to Twilight, which it's based on since it was originally Twilight fanfiction. And there are a lot of similarities. But that's a discussion for another time.