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“Christian holds open the platinum bracelet he’s just purchased…It’s wide and cufflike and hides the red marks.”

Turning a spousal abuser is a tough challenge, but it wouldn’t be a romance if it ended with the heroine sobbing in a police station while someone photographs her injuries. So, just how are we going to see Christian Grey – the man who takes his wife to a topless beach and then yells at her for going topless – turn into the immaculate husband and father he is clearly destined to be?

“Lighter Shades Freed” does to "Fifty Shades Freed" what "Lighter Shades of Grey" did to "Fifty Shades of Grey". In doing so, it completes Cassandra Parkin’s meticulous deconstruction of this season’s literary phenomenon, which saw women everywhere become strangely besotted with a mad controlling emotionally-stunted psychopath, with good hair. Based on the hit viral blog entry, it catalogues unusual leaps of logic, surprising deductions, interesting personal quirks, outstanding pieces of dialogue, eccentric kidnapping attempts and – of course – all the moments in which Christian proves how tender, loving and gentle he really is underneath.

Oh, sorry, did we say “tender, loving and gentle”? What we actually meant was “savage, heartless and abusive”. Our mistake.

“Lighter Shades Freed” also provides a detailed statistical analysis of the text, including how often Ana says “Oh my”, how many times Christian tells her “You’re mine”, how often Ana uses bad language, and whether or not Ana may have an eating disorder.

While “Lighter Shades Freed” is a comic look at one woman’s quest to turn a violent control-freak into a romantic hero, the rather less funny truth is that two British women a week die at the hands of violent partners. For this reason, 50% of author royalties from “Lighter Shades Freed” will be donated to Women’s Aid.

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Lighter Shades Freed: A (very) Critical Reader’s Guide to “Fifty Shades Freed”
Average rating
4 / 5
Let down
April 4th, 2015
It could have been better. Some scenes I thought would have comments on were totally excluded. The editor disappeared. Several mistakes caught my eye.
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