I began reading Fifty Shades of Grey because I had to see what all the commotion was about. It was research, really. I’m not a romance reader nor do I seek out books with steamy sex scenes, but this book has the community and country talking, writing and arguing and defending. I read dozens of conflicting reviews and kept tripping over it in the media; they’re making it into a movie, Saturday Night Live did a skit, Entertainment Weekly featured it on the cover of the magazine, it’s at the top of the New York Times Best Seller lists and the list goes on. Frankly, there isn’t anywhere to hide from the Fifty Shades hype.
Having read the reviews I didn’t even want to read it, but I felt compelled to do it. AND, to tell the truth, I was intrigued, as a Twilight fan, knowing that it was written as Twilight fan fiction. I ordered my copy from Amazon and waited anxiously for my copy to arrive. When it arrived, I tore open the package, sat down and started reading. And I didn’t stop.
I can’t say anything new about the quality of writing. The writing is unpolished and the author, E.L. James, certainly needs a good editor. She wrote very much in the style of Young Adult authors, but the quality of writing wasn’t any worse than many popular novels out there.
The sex scenes, while explicit and raw, are nothing new to fiction. Yes, parts made me very uncomfortable, but most of the book was a cotton candy romance. I could have done with vaguer allusions to the kinky sex, but I did think it was an interesting peek into a world that is part of our society. So I skimmed the salacious buts just I do when I run across them in any fiction, whether it’s Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Anne Rice’s fiction or any of a number of best-selling titles.
As I finished reading the last page, I started swearing. Well color me embarrassed, damn it! I’d have to order the next book to see what happens and I’d have to wait several days for the damn book to get here. It turns out I wasn’t reading it because I had to, I was reading it because I enjoyed the story. Never judge a book by its reviews (or hype)…