Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fifty Shades... (Summer Issue)

I am not always an “everybody else is doing it so why not me” kind of person, but all the current hype around E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey definitely intrigued me enough to take the plunge into this enticing novel.  I do not think I was quite prepared for the extreme graphic writing that leaves nothing to the imagination, and a few times, I almost decided to stop reading the book.  However, after the shock wore off (or did it?), I became deeply invested in the love story between the heroine Anastasia Steele and her billionaire boyfriend Christian Grey.

Anastasia is a bit clumsy, beautiful but doesn’t know it and has never had a serious boyfriend.  Surprised by her feelings, she becomes relentlessly drawn to a gorgeous billionaire, Christian Grey, who is drawn to her, as well, but warns her that he is no good for her because he has a secret.  Sound familiar?  Yes, the British author has admitted that the novel is based on her love of Edward and Bella in the Twilight Saga.  The parallels between the two books go on and on and are a little too much, in my opinion, but it has not stopped me from agreeing with the vast majority that this is a great read.

James refers to the novel as her “mid-life crisis”, and she never expected that it would be so popular.  Selling two million copies in the first month was certainly a shock to her, and she does not like talking about it much.  She says that she’s not a great writer and had no discipline in the two years she spent obsessively putting the words on her Mac.  My only problem with the writing is a lot of word repetition and the occasional use of British lingo not commonly used by Americans, which the characters are.

Fifty Shades of Grey’s largest known audience has become “soccer moms” needing a little escape from their reality.  On the other hand, I happen to know of some prim and proper grandmothers, curious husbands and even brigadier general in the U.S. Army that have read the book cover to cover and have it proudly displayed on their coffee tables!  News has spread that the racy novel is adding a little spice back into marriages all over the country, and I don’t think it’s just about the “kinky stuff”.  The book covers compromise, expression of feelings, unconditional love and other important ingredients of a successful relationship that all need a bit of a tune up from time to time.  There are still some who are appalled by such controversial writing, but I say everyone, except my mother of course, should give it a try.  “Laters, baby”. 

Fifty Shades of Grey is the first in a series of three novels written by E.L. James.

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