Where I write

Where I write

May 14, 2012

Fifty Shades of Envy

I didn't blog last week because I was too busy reading the book which it seems women from Maine to Atlanta to Seattle are reading and talking about. Those of you who have read, it I need only mention the name Christan Grey and you will either get excited or be disgusted. Judging by sales, and the fact it is on the New York Times Best Seller list, more women are falling into the excited, dare I say, lust, category.

My friend and I each bought the book at the airport book store. The male clerk said he couldn't keep enough in stock. He hadn't read the book, he said, but he heard it is "empowering to women." A well-heeled woman dressed in a gray business suit (I swear it was gray) purchased one, as well. My friend and I looked at each other and said, "why not give it a try?" My friend bought all three and decided after reading just a few chapters that she didn't like the book and gave the others away. Myself, I'm interested, as a writer, what is capturing the interest of so many women, why just a gray tie on the cover is enough to create a best seller. Oh,  yes, I admit it, the sex-filled chapters aren't that painful to read either. Well, maybe painful isn't the correct word to use with this book.

Even the conservative daily newspaper here in Arizona is reporting upon the novel. This recent article interviews all sorts of sex experts who attempt to analyze why women are so fascinated with Christan Grey, the hero, and Anastasia, the heroine. The two characters could also be called the dominate and the submissive. You guess which is which. Basically, without giving too much away, Christan has a room like this. Or at least it looks like this in my imagination.
It's called his red room of pain. Yep. Women across America are reading a book about a man, granted a handsome, rich man, who is into sadistic sex. Women who bake pies for socials and belong to the PTA and who sing in church want to read about a red room of pain. They are also learning about the varied uses for equipment you can purchase at your local hardware store. And you thought Ace Hardware was boring. Why, after reading a chapter from Fifty Shades of Gray, you might even think these fellows at your local hardware store are hot. Or maybe not.
Christian Grey likes to shop at hardware stores. Maybe next time you are at the hardware store and you see someone purchasing plastic tie downs you might not assume they are to secure a cover and might be instead to secure a person to, say, a ceiling. Hey, this book makes you think that way. Read it. You'll see. One of my coworkers, a young woman, says she likes to go home with a bottle of wine and read the book. I bet she's not alone. So what is the reason that women who don't like men to tell them to make coffee in the workplace anymore, or how to dress, or what to say, want to read about a man spanking a nice young woman with a riding crop?
Who knows! All I know is that the woman who wrote that book is a middle age, unremarkable looking woman with a husband and two kids. Now her and her husband have a fat bank account and no worries about putting their kids through college. E L is  the gal on the left, in front with the long brown hair, and funky glasses. She sorta looks like my neighbor. She's no glamour queen. Maybe that's what makes her story even more intriguing, though with much less sex, than her books. She's a slightly over weight, middle aged woman, with kids. How much more typical can she get??

 E L says all her life she wanted to write books that people would "fall in love with." And she's succeeded. Okay so there are critics who say she ripped off the story idea from Twilight. And, in the book she uses the phrase "inner goddess" so much that I've wanted to put tape over the goddesses mouth. (oops I think I have been reading the book too much!)  

Okay so Fifty Shades of Gray isn't everyone cup of tea, and I'm sure it would make all my literary writing teachers cringe. I admit. I'm jealous of all her success as a writer. And any writer who says they aren't is also the writer who says money doesn't buy happiness. Perhaps not, but it sure would be nice to get my floors redone, pay off my mortgage and maybe get that red Cadillac I'm dream about owning. (see past blog)

Does Fifty Shades of Gray empower woman? I'm not sure of that, either. I don't really care. I know it's struck( dare I use that word) a chord with women. Without this book how would we ever know how many women desire to be tied to a bed post! It doesn't mean all women are going to expect to be spanked with a ruler. Nah. But they like reading about it.

  Now I must end this blog because have to go back to the book. Our Christan Grey is about to escort  Anastasia into his private dining room, for a lovely dinner (he always wants her to eat! Imagine that!) which is adjacent to his red room and he just got back from Home Depot. Let the games begin.


Kathy Kolvek said...

I just finished Book One. I too could put it down. Not becuase I'm into that stuff. I kept hoping Ana would tell him to get lost. My question to you as a writer...Why a trilogy? Why not just one larger book? Is it that we would pay $10 for one but not $30? BTW - I just purchased Book Two. :-/

Stella said...

I think Kathy just answered her own question with her last sentence.
I haven't read the books, any of them. I've heard how horribly they are written. But I too, am intrigued with what it is about them that is capturing women's attention. Maybe it is because it takes us away from the realm of the norm. It's a fantasy. And a sexual fantasy at that. You describe the author, 'how much more normal can she be?' And yet, she wrote this incredibly fascinating, albeit not literary, story about a sexual realm most people don't dare enter. Want a quick escape from the 9-5 of a job you don't love, driving the kids here and there, cooking, cleaning, debt, a boring or nonexistent sex life with a husband you're all too familiar with? Read this book.

C.B. Wentworth said...

I read all three Fifty Shades books in the space of a week. I normally don't like books in this genre, but I couldn't put them down. :-) Maybe its because they were originally Twilight fan fiction or maybe Christian is just a dang interesting character, but I kept turning pages. :-)

SunsetCindi said...

From what I've been reading in the papers and seeing on TV, there is definitely no 'gray' area here, you either love it or hate it. I am intrigued and ready to read. Can I borrow your copy?

Expostulator said...

Dast we ask how you got the picture of your little den of pain? Hmmmmm?

BTW, the question of can money buy happiness is still being debated. I say yes, up to a point. Is this a good prompt?