Whether you love it or hate it... Have read all three books once, five times, or not at all. Went to see the movie on opening weekend or refuse to add to the success, you simply can not ignore the presence of Fifty Shades of Grey (FSOG). Facebook, blogs, commercials, twitter, national news. It is everywhere. I am not intending to insult anyone for their literary/movie tastes but I am to the point where I want to say my piece.
A few years ago, my husband, Jamie and I were at my youngest son's baseball game. We sat in the bleachers at the Catholic school down the road from our house and cheered on his team. Jamie turned to me and asked me something he had only asked me one other time.... "Why haven't you read those books yet?" I didn't have an answer this second time. (The first time revolved around Twilight and I don't care, I am so glad he asked me that first time because it is what prompted me to write my first book, too bad I can't say the same the second time).
As I paid attention to those around us, every single woman either had a copy in their hands or was talking about it. What the hell? The only response I could muster was something along the lines of "I don't know, I'll check it out later." I started listening to the conversations going on around me and was surprised to hear moms talking so openly about an erotica novel. One mom in particular stands out in my mind even years later. She was always perfectly coiffed, dressed, and spoken. She sat there in her white capris, sleeveless polo shirt, and sandals with her Louis Vuitton bag (I looked it up and it cost nearly $2000, and yes it was real) and Prada sunglasses. Her fingers graced by envy inducing diamonds, her nails recently manicured. She was one of the loudest on the bleachers that day, and she was not even paying attention to the game. As I listened to her go on and on about how she couldn't wait until after the game when she could drop her son off at home with his older siblings so she could run to the local adult store to pick up yet another vibrator and stock up on batteries since she had "worn out her current one" and her husband was out of town for the next week.
At that point I joined in the conversation. I needed to know what the big deal was. I had heard of FSOG but since I wasn't a big erotica reader, I hadn't paid it much mind. You would have thought I smeared my face with mud and asked if I looked all right from the looks I got. These women were ravenous, jumping at the chance to convert me to a FSOG fan. WOW... After the game we stopped by the grocery store for a few items and there near the registers was a huge display of THE books. What the hell, why not? I picked up all three books and added them to my cart. Let's just say I did not share the same enthusiasm as the bleacher women. It was painful to read. I will tell you I made it through the first two and nearly finished the third book, but I simply couldn't stomach any more (I have yet to finish those last few chapters).
I am not going to bash E.L. James, though the books were poorly written (has the woman ever heard of a thesaurus for God's sake?!?!) It is awesome that she has been so successful and made erotica acceptable to discuss in public, I think this was the first time it was trendy for women to not only read erotica, but to talk about it EVERYWHERE. I thought FSOG may open its fans' minds and the erotica market would blow up, but the majority of readers of FSOG have not delved further into erotica (in my humble opinion). Several friends of mine would turn fifty shades of red if they read Anne Rice's Beauty series though when it comes to FSOG my friends think Christian and Ana are so delicious. These women (my friends) ravished these books, but stopped there instead of finding something new (and good) to whet their sexual appetites.
The movie was WAY better than the books, but how could it not be?? Movie goers are thankfully deprived of hearing about Ana's Inner Goddess and Subconscious (BTW, you are not aware of your subconscious, so this particularly drove me up the wall). Dakota Johnson
played a pretty good Ana and while I find Jamie Dornan
attractive, he in no way was what I envisioned as THE Christian Grey. Notice that is not a smolder...That part should have gone to Ian Somerhalder
and no I don't give a damn that he has the wrong hair and eye color, no one smolders the way he does... God that man is beautiful... Okay back to the movie or I will go on a Ian-fest... I did enjoy the movie and found it overall sexy, well done, and if the books were like the movie i would have been a fan. The story line is basically the same without all the repetitive words, obnoxious Anaisms, and editorial snafus.
Now to discuss the rash of authors slamming the books and getting called jealous. So what if they are? Would I love to have the success James has had? I would be stupid not to and any author that claims otherwise has questionable sanity. And I wouldn't classify it as jealousy, but would definitely call it admiration for the success ONLY. I don't write erotica, but do write sex scenes and try to make them naughty and realistic and tasteful. I do not find her sex scenes (let's be honest here, it is really the same sex practically in every scene, so I am being generous here) to be that erotic. For me it was more like insert tab A into slot B with a few sex toys tossed in so it passes for something similar to BDSM. I am not going to even touch on whether or not it is actually a true representation of BDSM or that community since I am not involved, but I do know a fair share to think it isn't a good representation of what real BDSM relationships typically are. Side note: I did manage an adult store for five years, and worked for a national adult store for another three. I have also been to swing clubs (for work) and have witnessed every aspect of BDSM that I have heard of. So I do have quite a bit of insight on this matter, FYI.
For me it is hard to figure out what drew so many people to FSOG, maybe their own sex lives are way too vanilla, who knows and who cares, especially since there are so many well written, super sexy, beautiful erotica novels vastly available.
All I do know without question, is that I would love to have the marketing and fan driven success that Ms. James has had. Maybe one day...