Friday, January 10, 2014

Fifty Shades of Bleh!

I read Fifty Shades of Grey all the way through. Skipped bits here and there but pretty much read the whole thing. I felt obligated to finish, much as I hated it. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And I wanted to make sure I gave the book every chance to cast its spell upon me, as it has with so many book clubs across the country.  

Yes, I'm a bit late to the party, but it took me a while to work up the nerve.

If you read my one star review, you know I thought it was a really bad book. I’d say it’s probably the worst book to ever make the New York Times Bestseller List.

And therein lies the question. Why did so many people shell out their hard earned cash to buy a perfectly dreadful book? And then go on to rave about it to their friends, in turn causing them to buy it?

Believe me, my author friends and I would kill (or at least consider it) to know the answer to that one.

My money’s on dumb luck. The planets happened to be in proper alignment for E.L. James to cash in on a sudden, intense desire for Mommy Porn. Or possibly a deal with the devil. 

No wait—that was Dan Brown and The Da Vinci Code.

I also believe that there’s an element of that old Anderson fairy tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. All your friends think the book is fantastic. They tell you anyone who doesn’t love the book is sexually repressed and narrow minded.

I have no problem with erotica or bondage, but I do with using the word “murmur” 139 times. By the way, I got the number from the review by Goodreads member Katrina Passic Lumsden. A most entertaining assessment, by the way. You can read it here:

I also have a hunch that people who don’t read many books, read this one. It sounds like how a good book should be written, they say. Ana talks just like I do, so that means it’s realistic, right? And every good author uses lots of adverbs. Makes it sound fancy.

Fifty Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction, under the original title Master Of The Universe, which James published on her own website, then later as an ebook and print on demand book through The Writers’ Coffee Shop. And it spread like wildfire.

It’s another one of those stories about how someone wrote an ebook and made lots of money. I suspect E.L. James is now nearly as rich as her billionaire character. It’s a good thing the Amazon site is practically limitless, because the success of Fifty Shades has certainly spawned more than a few attempts at Mommy Porn.

But there is a redeeming aspect to E.L. James’s work. This is the sort of book that can be a revelation to aspiring writers everywhere. They can have that moment when they say to themselves “I could write a better book than this,” and then go ahead and do it. 

And I’m quite sure those books will be worth reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment