Because, really, the world needs another post about 50 Shades of Grey. Okay so it doesn’t but it is getting one. There will also be links at the end if you want to read more from other people who have written about this book. Whatever the quality of the writing this series has made a splash. Apparently the author is making $200K per day.
So yes, it is Twighlight fanfic and the first book at least at first closely follows the general plot of the Twilight books. I have only read the first book. I am seriously considering whether I am going to bother about the next two. I probably will, once I can get them for sub $10*. There are grammatical errors, things that crop up all the time that annoy the bejesus out of you (me) or make you wonder if the characters are going to need the services of a good physio with all the head cocking that they do and you wonder how the main character can have a bottom lip left the way she keeps biting it. Also, how does an upwardly mobile Lit student graduate from University in this day and age without a computer?
But anyway, all that aside what is it that keeps people reading this book which is generally acknowledged to be a bit of fluff? I can’t answer that, but whatever it is it works. You get sucked in, despite yourself and the annoying aforementioned reoccuring things that irritate like itching powder on your skin. I heard from a friend that a friend of hers ended up skipping the sex bits because they were boring and she wanted to know what happened at the end. Which encapsulates 50 Shades of Grey for me really well. The sex scenes are really pretty ordinary, IMHO and a tad unrealistic although there may well be women who can go from virgin to multiple orgasms through PIV sex alone in one easy step and if there are then good luck to them. The major character Anastasia is a bit naive, as you would expect in a latter day virgin I guess, which is all part of the appeal but I would have thought that if you googled f*sting and decided it wasn’t for you wouldn’t you also google a*al and decide to put some boundaries around that as well, at least until you knew what it was all about. It’s not like there isn’t lots of information on that on the internet. Not that it ever happens in the first book. Bit of a teaser there. Not wanting to scare the punters perhaps?
I think what really made me *headdesk* at the end was when Anastasia finally decided to let Christian have his BDSM way with her, by using a leather strap on her bottom, she was shocked that it hurt. Really? Someone is going to thwack you with a great big leather strap and you are surprised when it hurts. I know this is so the plot fits into the ‘running away from Edward’ thing in Twilight, but it seemed to be labouring the point a bit.
I can’t find the review I read recently which described how the reviewer felt like he was trapped in a bedroom with Anastasia and Christian and that they were just too into each other for it to be sexy. That resonated too. I have tried tracking it down on twitter but I’m sorry I can’t wade through that many bad jokes, outright hatred and awfulness anymore. Apparently the fact that E L James is an older woman should turn off everyone who is enjoying the books. How lovely.
I think a lot of the criticism about this book may have come from people who have read better erotica, I know I certainly have. In terms of erotica I was more bemused and at times bewildered by this book than anything else. But if you’ve never read any before then I’m sure it would be quite interesting. Perhaps this will spark an interest in a whole new batch of people who will go onto find enjoyment in the vast range of titles out there. Or help someone realise that what they thought was just them is an interest shared by many. Or just have a rich fantasy life in their head which they never intend to act upon. Whatever works for them.
So shorter me: I won’t judge you for reading and enjoying this book, but I will hope that perhaps you might find your way to, what I think is, better trashy fiction or well written erotica. That said if you are looking for something easy to read, occassionally funny even if unintentionally, with sparks of brilliance – the emails really are the best bit – then you will probably be able to pick up a copy in charity shops fairly soon. It will be interesting to see how many make it to Lifeline bookfairs and the like around the place.
The links below do not necessarily represent my opinion. I just thought they were interesting.
On defending people who have enjoyed the book:
On the realism of the portrayal of the BDSM community:
On why this isn’t masturbation material:
*I picked up all three Hunger Games books for $30 and they were awesome.