Fifty Shades – Love it or hate it

Yep. I’m going there.

I’m not going to post this until Monday, but as I’m writing this, the trailer for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is hours old. Now, you should know that I’ve only read about a third of the first book. The writing was not for me. The characters were not for me. I found Grey to be a total ass and Ava to be a complete doormat and I could not respect either of them as people. And that’s not even talking about the writing. Go read Dave Barry’s most recent piece on it  (WARNING, autoplay ad with noise…sorry about that) and you’ll have an idea of how I felt about the writing.

You should also know that I firmly believe that there is good writing and bad writing and a huge spectrum in between and that just because I don’t like an author’s writing doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. Sometimes books don’t appeal for one reason or another and that’s okay. That said, my editor brain did protest a bunch of times before I gave up on the book.

What I want to talk about today isn’t the writing. It’s not the characters. It’s not the fact that the relationship between Christian and Ava isn’t a good and healthy Dom/sub relationship. No. What I want to talk about today is what the book has done for erotica.

Fifty Shades of Grey actually started out as Twilight fan-fiction. For those of you who don’t know, fan-fiction is the process of taking an existing universe full of characters and worlds and writing a new story based on those characters or that world. Now, I’m not a fan of Twilight either, but again, that’s neither here nor there. I did read every single Twilight book even though I hated myself a little for it.

I don’t know why Fifty Shades took off like it did. Maybe it was simply time. Maybe it was the Twilight tie in. Maybe it was a case of getting the manuscript in front of the right agent at the right moment and being incredibly lucky. For whatever reason, this book SOLD. Holy crap did it sell. And people read it. It had all of the requisite ingredients.

  • Hot, dominant billionaire- check
  • Pretty and average submissive – check
  • A character (Ava) with some of the same insecurities as the rest of us. (I’m not pretty enough, I’m not worldly enough, I’m not worthy.)
  • An air of being forbidden. Sex! Erotic sex! Blindfolds! Restraints! Crops! Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh my!

So it’s not too hard to believe that the book sold. Women read it. They loved it. They were exposed to a whole new side to sexual relationships. I’ve read articles that talked about women becoming more amorous with their husbands while reading this. Women who weren’t confident enough to ask for what they wanted before, suddenly taking charge and telling their men what they wanted. Who knew a book could do so much?

I realized the true impact of Fifty Shades of Grey when I walked out into my living room last year and found my mother reading it. On my couch. I turned around and left the room about as quickly as my legs would carry me. Little old ladies on the airplane were reading it. Whenever someone talks about erotica now, they mention Fifty Shades.

I posted a little rant on my personal Facebook page last week about all of the hype over the trailer. Seriously. It’s not that good of a trailer. And there was a trailer for the trailer. But though I didn’t understand all of the hype, it’s clear that the author did something right. Because even though plenty of people malign the writing or the Dom/sub relationship, the book is a bestseller.
And here’s my final thought on the book. Fifty Shades of Grey made In His Silks possible. Why? Because erotica isn’t relegated to the fringe any more. And for that, I’m thankful.


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