My Thoughts on 50 Shades of Grey

I am completely fascinated by the frenzy surrounding 50 Shades of Grey, and you can rest assured that this isn’t another blog post reviewing the book as I haven’t read it, but it seems I can’t avoid hearing about it, and ultimately that is what I find so fascinating. Why has this book got everyone hot under the collar?

In the last 48 hours particularly, 50 SOG’s as it shall now be known, has been inescapable. My Facebook page has been busy with people talking about it, those that love it, those that hate it, those who are trying to persevere with it despite not really liking it and those who have been made to feel bad because they had not even heard of it. I’ve overheard friends talking about Mr Grey as they excitedly discussed excerpts from the book including certain events in an elevator.

I’ve seen the Saturday Night Live Amazon advert where various families prepare to surprise their mothers on Mothers day only to find them otherwise engaged whilst reading 50 SOG’s. Not to mention the many other spoofs circulating the internet. Twitter seems to be alive with the sound of musing, with Al Murray amongst others hilariously tweeting and re-tweeting about 50 shades of Gran which included some rather dubious double entendre about jigsaw puzzles and knitting! I have read a Facebook viral of 50 Shades of Chav in which you will find several references to the lead characters being on benefits and wearing velour tracksuits.

Image from http://www.businessinsider.com/The genre of erotic novels has been around for years, so why all of a sudden, is E L James making a reported 160 thousand dollars a day from writing another one? And why is it so socially acceptable to be talking about this book and it’s content now? Whilst there still seems to be a few who are whispering about it, most are quite happily discussing the contents of what is essentially porn in a paperback.

Is it because her characters are more relatable? With the protagonist and antagonist being 21 and 27 respectively, reading about the sex lives of people who are the age I was so long ago I can barely remember it, doesn’t really appeal to me. By all accounts Grey isn’t your usual erotic novel hero, so it’s appeal can’t be based on a fantasy of a hero we would all want for ourselves, unless we harbour the fantasy of our hero being a bastard.

Is it because it is more racy? I’m not sure that is it either, with the accessibility of so much pornography on the internet I am sure there are cheaper and quicker ways of finding something to ‘float your boat’. Though I am sure there will be a large amount of people arguing that visual stimulation isn’t the same thing as reading it and using your imagination and I agree that reading is very different to watching.

http://theworkshop360.wordpress.com/page/4/Does it’s appeal lie in escapism? Generally that is why people read books, to be transported somewhere other than their lives. During the Depression in America, the austerity and bleakness of the times fuelled record sales of Margaret Mitchell’s ‘Gone with the Wind’ are we seeing another similar response to the global economic downturn of 2012?

Will it go down in literary history and become a text by which all other texts are measured or will it be placed in the spank bank only to be returned to as and when needed?

Is it just simply a case of the sheer volume of people talking about it? Has this been the best marketing ploy in the history of literature, or a happy accident? Are we all being swept along on the wave of Grey because everyone else is doing it? Wait a minute am I back in school arriving one day to find out that the latest craze is Lo Lo balls (Google it) and no one told me? Right I’m off to Amazon to download 50 SOG’s now!

I genuinely would love to know if you love it or hate it and why, leave a comment.

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About amywriting

I love words. I love the way they sound, the meaning they have, the way that they are used. I love their power, their creativity and how descriptive and evocative they can be. Any chance that I get to be creative and use words well gets me very excited. I love poetry, song, art, music, photography, baking, creating, experimenting and laughing!

Posted on July 1, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Maybe it’s just ‘a thing’ and there always has to be ‘a thing’ going on.

  2. I hate the book. And I haven’t read it. I realise that not reading it means I’m probably not entitled to hate it, but that’s just the way it is. Here’s the thing. I love books. I read constantly – I always have something on the go. Right now I’m in the middle of The Hunger Games trilogy, and it’s compelling stuff. The reason it is compelling is because it has a great plot that is fast-moving, full of twists, and has me completely gripped because I absolutely have to know how it works out. I love the characters – they are complex, and I find them immensely appealing. And above all, the books are extremely well written. You know me, Amy – I’m a grammar freak. I can’t deal with a badly written book. I read a crime drama a while back that had a great plot, but it was dragged out, and so full of cheesy metaphors that it was a real struggle to get to the end, even though the plot was so compelling.

    I’ve read articles and reviews for 50 SOG. It sounds appalling. The excerpts I’ve read are so badly written, I wonder if they forgot to put it through the editing process. Great literature, this ain’t. So anyone saying they are reading it for the quality of the writing is telling a big fat lie. The characters sound wooden and unrealistic – the plot is thin, and mostly revolves around this couple having violent sex 20 times a day. So people aren’t reading it for the plot. So the natural conclusion is that people are reading it for the sex. Which is completely fine. But if you are going to read erotica, read decent erotica. Just because it’s about sex isn’t an excuse to just churn out mindless drivel, and expect people to be fine with that. Erotica isn’t my thing – personally I’d rather have a good crime drama with a few murders and a mystery to be solved. But if people like erotica, then read decent erotic literature. I read a quote earlier that described it as “Mills & Boon – with whips”. I can’t think of much worse.

    I read an article in the Guardian some months back about pornography for women – it made the point that women are less visually turned on than men, and tend to need to engage their emotions, which is why women are more drawn to erotic stories than visual pornography. It predicted an increase in erotic stories and novels aimed at women, particularly as women become more confident in expressing their sexuality. I wonder how women would feel if they sat down on the train opposite a guy reading a porn mag. But women are reading this book everywhere. I know women who are reading this book in bed at night while next to their husbands. Again, if he pulled out a porn mag…??

    And I haven’t even got started on the demeaning treatment of women in the book!! Aaargh!! I’ll stop now – apologies for an overly long comment! Good topic!

    • Ah Em, I love it that you tell it like it is! Is it a case of the Emperors new clothes? No one wants to put their hand up and say, erm…but this is terrible?

  3. I think the people reading it probably know it’s terrible. I have friends who are crazy booklovers, who read the same kind of literature I do, and know how to appreciate good writing, and yet they are still raving about this stupid book. And the only reason is because women are getting to engage in something a bit risque, a bit pornographic, that turns them on, but comes in a book with a nice cover, and that makes it respectable, because everyone else is reading it, so it must be ok. The way I’m hearing women talking about it, I think they feel a bit daring reading it. If that’s what women want to read, there are plenty of decent authors out there. But I think it’s exactly what you suggested it is – porn in a paperback. Not for me.

  4. I have been wondering about all the hype around this book. A woman in the queue to sign up for the Summer Playscheme was reading it and certainly let everyone know who joined the queue. ‘Guess what I’m reading – aren’t I really naughty?’ squealed every time, especially when a man arrived. I haven’t read it and I don’t intend to – although whether that’s from discernment or book snobbery, I’m not really sure. I think your reference to ‘Gone with the Wind’ and how popular it was in its day is relevant – you only have to see how popular the Harry Potter books (and films) were with young people (and adults). Pure escapism – like 50 SOG or does it go deeper than that? Domination? Control?

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