The Fifty Shades trilogy (“Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Fifty Shades Freed” and “Fifty Shades Darker”), aka ‘Twilight’ fan fiction, is written by E. L. James, a female British author and former TV executive. According to People, the books is about a virginal 21-year-old college student Anastasia Steele and a charming, 27-year-old millionaire Christian Grey. The catch is that Christian is a sexual deviant who only engages in dominant-submissive relationships with women. Despite her inexperience, Ana agrees to enter the unconventional relationship and falls for him in the process.
Judging from the setup of the novel, you may also guess that it involves a lot of BDSM erotica. It is surprising to many people that it has become a big hit among American women, so popular that it has been dubbed “mommy porn” or “S&M for Dummies.” Frank Santo, who reviewed the book for the Daily News, tries to explain why women don’t find Ana’s submission offensive and off-putting:
Just as the majority of men who watch pornography do not actually think of their significant others as lascivious, orange-skinned, clearly-faking-it sexual acrobats, I seriously doubt that most women would prefer their men like Christian Grey: domineering, stalking, devoid of any humor or personality whatsoever. They are all kind of silly, these fantasies of ours, and were they to come true, we’d just want something else. Pornography is fundamentally absurd, but will endure regardless.
He also admitted:
For me, being a straight, white male of rather vanilla sexual inclinations, the experience of reading E. L. James’ “50 Shades of Grey” on the subway was enough to make me feel like a complete psychopath.
Published by a small independent press in Australia and an “obscure” author (New York Times), Fifty Shades of Grey enjoys most of its success in digital release. According to the NY Times, e-book downloads propelled “Fifty Shades of Grey” to No. 1 on the New York Times e-book fiction best-seller list (March 3, 2012) and No. 3 position on Amazon’s best-seller list. This is a great illustration of how tremendously the erotica genre has benefited from e-readers, devices that give people freedom to read discreetly.
Because the novel has become such a hit, the logical next step is to make it into a movie. Universal Studios and Focus Features have reportedly won the bid (EW), and E. L. James must be smiling wide at her big fat $5 million check. The concern is that, considering how hard-core the porn is, it would be difficult to make the book into an R-rated movie. Fifty Shades has also been compared to the Millennium trilogy in this aspect.
I don’t know if I will have time to try read Fifty Shades, but I’m naturally intrigued by it. Will you ever read this? Do you think this novel is worth all the buzz around it?