Fifty Shades of Boring

I just read Fifty Shades of Grey, the “erotic” novel that is taking the world by storm. Which is why I read it. Whenever a “blockbuster” book gets an insane level of attention I feel compelled to read it so I can see what the fuss is about. This compulsion means that off the top of my head I have read:

  • Bridges of Madison County
  • Harry Potter 
  • Twilight
  • The DaVinci Code
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull
  • The Valley of the Dolls
  • Love Story
  • The Women’s Room
  • The Hunger Games
  • and now Fifty Shades of Grey

Not all of these books are created equally and I read them for different reasons. Harry Potter I read because it was being banned left and right when it came out and I thought – Really? A children’s book about wizards is Satanism? I loved the book and read them all, and they continued to spark controversy with every release. In fact it was the #1 banned book from 1999 – 2000.

The Hunger Games I read for two reasons. One, my daughter insisted I read it because she thought it was so good, and two, parents were agitating to have it banned which is always a siren call for me. Once I read it we had fabulous conversations about how a society could actually end up that way through political choices, citizen inaction, corruption etc.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Love Story, Valley of the Dolls – you just had to be there. I doubt any of them are worth reading twice. The Women’s Room I read because I knew where my older sister hid her copy, and being illicit (and inappropriate for my age) made it that much better. I really should re-read it as an adult.

Bridges of Madison County took maybe four hours to read and introduced me to the fact that you didn’t actually have to write a lot of words to get a book published, you could use way big margins in a paperback sized hard back and call it a book.

Twilight. So much was bad about this series. Bad writing, weak women characters, the woman’s sexual desires quashed by the wise sparkly guy “for her own good”, getting married the day after High School so you don’t have to be alone, pro-life bullshit story line where the woman would rather die than consider aborting the child that is killing her – I could go on for days about all that is wrong with this book. 

And last but not least The DaVinci Code, Umberto Eco lite for the airport masses, which I could not even finish.

Fifty Shades of Grey is supposedly an erotic novel that ends up being un-sexy. And not because it deals with bondage, and spanking and assorted other game playing. Its just not sexy writing. Maybe because it started as fan fiction for the Twilight crowd. But now it is being hailed as “Mommy Porn” and people are even assigning it in their book clubs. Why? Why? Why?

The woman is a ditsy college student with the mysterious appeal of the Kirsten Stewart character in Twilight, meaning the author tells us how attractive and appealing she is without ever showing us anything on the page that would make us arrive at that conclusion.

And then there’s all of the I-cannot-suspend-disbelief moments in the book like she has never been sexually aroused in her entire life, she has never masturbated or even touched herself “down there’, she has never heard of S&M or bondage and has to look it up on Wikipedia. Seriously?

I just searched erotica on my library website and came up with 384 books. In e-media there are hundreds more. Its not like sex books, or just sexy books, aren’t available, so why are women getting so engaged by this very boring and poorly written book?

A friend remarked “I am frightened that so many American women are finding that series more thrilling than their actual sex lives. Straight men across the country should hang their heads in shame.”

That about says it all.

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