Friday, August 3, 2012

Christain* (for Christian*)

Okay, I'll admit it. I just read Fifty Shades of Grey. (Please don't spank me.) It's just that I became curious after all that love followed by all that hate (kind of like the plotline of the book itself) currently flooding the airwaves and blogosphere. (E.L. James's runaway bestseller/fanfic ripoff has reportedly outsold the Harry Potter franchise in Britain during the short time it's been out on both bookstands and nightstands, and has inspired the normally straight-laced Newsweek to come up with the icky moniker "mommy porn.") It isn't just snarky hipster bloggers, though, who seem offended that a middle-aged, married mother of two should have dared to take the world of kinky sex by the horns. (Or is that horny sex by the kinks?) Naysayers also include the likes of Dr. Drew Pinsky, earnest TV therapist, and writer Erica Jong, famous for her own sexual coming-out story, Fear of Flying, which came out almost forty years ago. (They both see Fifty Shades as being "bad for women" and regard it as less of a harmless fantasy than a male-female "paradigm" for abuse.) On the other hand, the irrepressible Dr. Ruth Westheimer has said that if Christian Grey "were available and I would be much, much younger and not married, I would also go for a night with him." Not, she hastens to add, "because of the sadistic elements—that’s not for me. But because he has a plane; he has a helicopter; he knows how to deal with women and he knows how to make love." Christian also has red satin bedsheets (to help hide possible blood stains?) and is further stained by some maltreatment in his own childhood (which implied equation is bound to make healthy-minded BDSM aficionados a little angry as well). I was warned (in some cases by those who, by their own admission, wouldn't be caught dead actually reading the damn thing, but were eager to join the online chorus of Worst. Book. Ever) that it contains a great many typographical errors and that the writing was execrable. I only noticed a handful of typos (pretty much par for the course these days, in any case) and personally found the work to be exactly like most porn and/or romance novels: rather too repetitious with the vocabulary (both erotic and not); a bit too corny; and in need of a better editor. On the other hand, it was surprisingly funny in parts, and Anastasia Steele (the would-be "submissive") was a lot more articulate, sarcastic, and downright contrary than one might have expected. (See The Story of O, etc.) Today's typo crops up (sorry!) 116 times in OhioLINK, and gets "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat. Be a good girl (or boy) now and get cracking on this one right away.

(I couldn't find any pictures of the book or author that weren't potentially subject to copyright, so here is another depiction of "fifty shades of grey." Use your imagination, or Google, to see more. Photo captioned Playa de Janubio, LZ-703 in Yaiza, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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