Sex sells — and apparently so does dreadful writing.
As long as its about young, beautiful, helpless females being sexually dominated by older, handsome, billionaire demigods with awesome tie collections and a questionable moral compass (some things never change I guess). I just read that the book ’50 Shades of Grey’ has sold over 100 million copies and even if you are one of the 20 million who thought it was a paint swatch book (thank you Anthony Lane) that still leaves 80 million people who willingly bought and read this book. As I write, over 100 million people, mostly women, have swarmed to the theatres to watch the movie version.
Now, I was a never a huge fan of the Harry Potter series but at least JK Rowling can write. I honestly tried to read ’50 Shades’ just to see what the fuss was about and could not get past the first 10 pages. Dave Barry offers this great insight on the writing style of E.L. James:
I think I might be the only man who read this book. I did it sneakily, hiding the cover, especially when I was on the airplane, which is actually a good place to read this book because you have access to a barf bag. I say this because of the writing style, which is…OK, here’s one tiny sample of this writing style:
“Did you give him our address?”
No, but stalking is one of his specialties,” I muse matter-of-factly. Kate’s brow knits further.
That’s right: This is the kind of book where, instead of saying things, characters muse them, and they are somehow able to muse them matter-of-factly. And these matter-of-fact musings cause other characters’ brows—which of course were already knitted—to knit still further. The book is over five hundred pages long and the whole thing is written like that. If Jane Austen (another bestselling female British author) came back to life and read this book, she would kill herself.
As much as I laughed at Dave Barry and Anthony Lane’s reviews, I was also disturbed by this excerpt from one anonymous mom to her teenage kids:
This is not a love story. Rather, it’s a movie about a narcissistic man’s controlling and violent sexual desires and his sense of entitlement to use and abuse a vulnerable young woman’s body and mind as tools for his own gratification. It’s all about his needs, coupled with the arrogant expectation that she should comply, regardless of her discomfort, to please him.
I sat in the theatre and looked around me at hundreds of women, buying into this so-called ‘sexy love story’ and I felt sick. If an entire theatre of women three times your age couldn’t see how damaging this plot line is, how on earth are teenage girls and boys supposed to?
Please, my daughters, don’t allow this romanticizing of sexual domestic abuse fool you into believing that you should ever allow yourself to be treated like Anastasia Steele. Please, my son, don’t watch this one day and believe that it’s ever okay to intimidate, manipulate or disrespect a woman like the ‘hero,’ Christian Grey. Nobody, male or female, wants or deserves to be disrespected, manipulated or violated against his or her wishes.
As I said, I could not get through the book and have no intention of lining Ms James coffers by seeing the movie. But for those of you who have enjoyed or loathed either? I’d love to hear your opinion…