I have read all about the furor of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey. Her books have graced the first through fourth position on Amazon’s Top 100 for weeks now. I considered downloading a copy of the book to my Kindle to see what this craze was all about. Then I read the reviews.
Almost half the reviewers gave it a one-star rating for a variety of reasons. Bad writing was one of the chief complaints. Others complained about the non-stop sex and the lack of a solid storyline. Some said that the sex scenes were very similar to those of the popular Twilight series (which I never read because I’m not into vampires). The deal-breaker came when I read the following from an Amazon reviewer:
“This book is nothing more than 500 pages of drivel about how badly a man can treat a woman, and how long she will stay with him through it all. It has nothing to do with real BDSM relationships (not that I know much about that, but from what people are saying this “book” is a very poor representation). It is an extremely dangerous thing to send this kind of message to women. This man is sick. He is not about love, he is about pain. He is not about mutual pleasure, he is about HIS pleasure. Don’t we have enough of that in this world already?”
The last three sentences of the above review struck a bad chord in me. This is not a love story but a twisted, violent sexual fantasy. Many people have read all three books and loved them, despite their literary flaws. I will not read this trilogy for several reasons.
One, I don’t like stories that are filled wanton sex on every other page. There has to be a real story about realistic characters. Besides, you can read plenty of these kinds of stories online for free. Why spend the money on something as poorly written as this book?
Two, the author didn’t do her research about BDSM relationships because many readers who have read this book said that it was grossly misrepresented. While I’m not into that scene, I might have some characters who are. If that happens, I will not use this book as a reference.
Finally, I will not read this book because of the message it sends to young and inexperienced women. The world has enough problems with domestic violence, marital rape, and date rape as it is. I’m going to pass on this one.
Samantha Kemp-Jackson has written an interesting piece about why Fifty Shades of Grey keeps flying off the shelves, online and off. You can read about that on Huffington Post.