OVER THE SUMMER at every party or get together Ive been to, the topic of the erotic novel '50 Shades of Grey' has come up, with I have to say, mixed reviews.
It's a must read I am told, a woman's book and a good page turner. All the men that I met that have read it say its awful. Never having got round to reading it I have now aquired, as a pressie from my husband, the 50 Shades trilogy to see what all the fuss is about.
Written by Erika Leonard James, a British author, she describes her books as her mid-life crisis, exploring all her sexual fantasies in the world of bondage, sadism and Masochism; and to say it is utter tosh would be an understatement.
The story of Christian Grey, a wealthy young entrepreneur, and 22-year-old college senior, Ana Steele, is like a very badly written Mills & Boon. The story is so far-fetched you have to leave your brains at page one. The story is, of course, not what has catapulted this novel to world-wide acclaim – it is page after page of bondage and masochism sex scenes that has done that.
There is no explanation of how Grey has become so wealthy at such a young age and why he has a penchant for Masochism, only a vague reference to his "whorehouse slut of a mother". He just wants sex, with no romance, and along comes Miss Steele who as a supposedly intelligent woman finds him so attractive that she tries to justify his demands. We know this as every time she looks at him there is paragraph after paragraph of how handsome he is. Steele is besoted that she is willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement that she will not speak to anyone about what they do.
He lavishes her with gifts, a car, a laptop and first edition copies of Tess of the d'Urbervilles (something the author would benefit greatly in reading) and has his own helicopter, a string of fast cars and has a room specially built to accommodate his sexual practices; the room of pain as Miss Steele calls it.
Later on in the book she is also asked to sign a contract which details what she is willing or unwilling to submit to. Grey will be the dominant and Steele the submissive and as such she can't touch him, look him in the eye and has to be up for sex at his command.The list of sexual practices, some I had never heard of, would make any woman run a mile, but not so Miss Steele. Maybe Ive lead a sheltered life.
As a reader I could find nothing in the two main characters that made me care one way or another about what happened to them and I honestly found it hard to swallow that a supposedly intelligent woman would allow a man to beat her until she wept. I ended up dreading their next date as it was just pages of sex with repetitive writing.
The novel is sprinkled liberally and repeatedly with asinine phrases, winning no prizes for its prose and exceedingly awful descriptions. This is no literary masterpiece, believe me, and I am astonished that this book has been in the top ten best sellers around the world. Described as mummy porn, although God knows why, it's been credited with saving marriages and making couples talk to one another about marital problems although the two main characters in the book do little talking.
E L James released 50 Shades as an e-book and the demand through word of mouth was such that Vintage books re-released a revised edition in April 2012 and its taken the world by storm, now the best selling paperback ever. In August 2012 Amazon have sold more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey than their previous best seller Harry Potter, and the film rights have been bought by Universal Pictures.
Really good authors must despair when they see rubbish like this being sought after by the public and it just goes to show that you don't need to be able to write to become a best seller. Just come up with a ludicrous plot and lots of sex scenes. Of course E L James is laughing all the way to the bank, now a millionaire several times over.
Now on the second book with one to go, the Scot in me cannot put an unread book back on my shelf but at least I can say I have read it, and depressingly the list of family and friends that want to borrow it is lengthy – a testimony to the power of word of mouth marketing.
I have informed my husband if he buys me rubbish like this again I will string him up – and not for any sexual gratification.