The 50 Shades of Grey debate

So I’m writing a post about a book. That can only mean one thing – I have succumbed to the 50 Shades of Grey madness sweeping the country.

My journey to the introduction of EL James’s threesome (erm, trilogy) began when a friend of mine uttered the words which I’m sure have since been Chinese-whispered to millions of women: “You HAVE to read this book. You won’t be able to put it down.”

50 Shades author EL James

{via}

At that time I had just finished the beautifully written Me Before You. As a good novel does, Jojo Moyes’ work had left me totally captivated by the ability of words to draw you into a convincing world, where you feel a loss that the characters are no longer in your life.

A literary snob I am not. I have no particular genre of choice and will pretty much read whatever takes my fancy. But with 50 Shades, several pages in and I was struggling to find the appeal.

As everyone knows, sex is the seller of these books.

Innocent, virginal student Anastasia Steele embarks on a love affair with billionaire playboy Christian Grey.

Ana’s frankly annoying “inner goddess” wrestles with her “subconscious” as she discovers a world of domination and submission which leaves her panting “holy Jesus” and “holy crap” at an irritating pace.

50 Shades has become something of a phenomenon. In six weeks the series sold an eye-watering amount of copies. Women are proudly dedicating Facebook statuses to Mr Grey. Marriage counsellors are postulating over the differing effects it will have on couples and an academic has even taken time to draw up the first picture of Christian Grey.

Christian Grey by the University of Central Lancashire

One Facebook status I read said: “Need to stop reading these Grey books. They’re making me seriously confused about normal relationships.”

It’s an interesting debate. Books can be powerful. Books describing mind-blowing sex with a man who worships you and has a limitless supply of cash can be even more powerful.

Not difficult to see why relationship experts/feminists/psychologists will be having a field day with the 50 Shades books.

Are readers left comparing the ‘normality’ of their own sexual relationship with the thrilling fantasy of Anastasia and Mr Grey?

Do we feel Anastasia portrays a patronising role of women so eager to give into the ‘strong man’ and lose their free will?

In the aftermath are we running in our hoardes to B&Q to grab some cable ties in between googling where to buy spreader bars? Or are we simply in danger of over analysing fiction?

Cable ties. Sexy

Personally, 50 Shades didn’t do it for me. The detailed sex scenes made me chuckle rather than dive under the covers and then I just got a bit bored.

Whatever your experience was, this one is definitely worth a mention:

A man has pleaded guilty to common assault after squirting his girlfriend with brown sauce because she refused to stop reading aloud passages from racy novel 50 Shades Of Grey.

Raymond Hodgson, 31, told the Carlisle News and Star it had been his intention to show his girlfriend Emma McCormick the real definition of “saucy” after becoming angered that his girlfriend was indulging in the erotic bestseller.

Also good fun are the mock 50 Shades Twitter accounts, especially @50ShedsofGrey, hailed as “erotica for the not-too-modern male.”

As the sun beat down on the shed roof, I sighed in frustration at the sight of her yearning foliage & prayed for an end to the hosepipe ban.”

‘No,’ she sighed, gazing sadly at the large stuffed crust Hawaiian with extra cheese, ‘I said I’m really turned on by orders from dominants’

It was damp, uncomfortable and didn’t last very long but it’s true what they say – you never forget your first shed.

‘Meet me in the shed in half an hour wearing only your wellingtons.’ I sighed and put the phone down. I hated these late-night booty calls. 

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One Thought on “The 50 Shades of Grey debate

  1. Nice blog piece Anna!
    I enjoyed the books, (although I found book 2 a struggle) they made me laugh and I love the possibility that a billionaire may just be waiting around the corner for me – a girl can hope and pray!
    I worry about the women who say, “it’s just not realistic”, well it’s not supposed to be – it’s in the fiction category (it would be a funny old world if half the books written as fiction were realistic). I think it was written as a pure work of fantasy, although I would imagine the intensity and obsession aspect rings true for quite a few. It wasn’t just on Anastasia’s part either, he was as obsessed with her as she was with him.
    As for whether the books were well written – they were funny , annoying, gripping in parts, boring in others – not unlike a lot of books. I doubt EL James intended them to be classic works of literature, just something to escape to – to give us a giggle, enjoy the fantasy of being swept off our feet by some insanely rich, hansome man and enjoy a bit of kinky f*****y in between!

I love comments. Thank you.

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