This morning, a Twitter pal asked if I had reviewed 50 Shades of Grey yet. I have been ‘tweeting lyrical’ about it and hadn’t really thought of actually reviewing it. Then whilst driving to pick up Littlest from nursery there was a discussion on Radio 2 about it. I took this as a sign and thought I would share my opinions about the book that seems to have taken the nation by storm.
I will start by affirming that this is MY opinion and you are all quite welcome to agree/disagree/not give a stuff about what I say. I heard about the book on twitter and it seems the internet has taken a large part of the responsibility for its popularity and success. I have met many people who have read the book and think it’s awful, and that just about sums it up. It isn’t well-written, but still – they’ve all bought it! Sales are booming; it’s no.1 in the Waterstones bestsellers. My friend actually had to order a copy!
So, the book. It has been dubbed ‘Mummy porn’ which I take to mean it appeals to the stereotypical bored suburban housewife for whom sex has been replaced with small children, laundry and chronic fatigue. I don’t really like the term (or the stereotype) but I am sure there’s an element of truth there. For those of you who haven’t read it, or even heard of it, it is the first book in a trilogy about a young rich bloke with a troubled background who likes to be a Dominant and only has relationships with Submissives who have to sign a contract and can cope with ‘the red room’ without a few gin and tonics to steel them up first. He meets and falls in love with Ana, a graduate who also happens to be a virgin. Convenient. She does her best to ‘do it his way’ but ends up wanting more….
It’s a bit of a thin plot isn’t it? And so, alas, is the writing. It is really poorly written – the plot, characters and detail are lacking.
Yes, it titillates at times, but to be honest you’d be better off reading a bit of Jilly Cooper. The ‘erotic’ scenes are pretty run of the mill, not particularly graphic and littered with exclamations of ‘Holy Cow’ and ‘Oh My’. As my friend said – she thought the only people who said ‘Holy Cow’ were Batman and Robin and the endless ‘Oh Mys’ made me wonder if I was actually reading the adult version of the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy does Dominance.
50 Shades of Grey is an easy read and likely to shock your Aunty Mabel (or maybe not). It seems to have put a bit of pepper back into a few relationships and has, at least, given the nation something to talk about that doesn’t involve the jubilee/olympics. Hats off to the author and may she bask in the sunshine of her success. However, a great literary read it is not. But, you don’t go to Macdonalds and expect a Michelin star dish. Likewise, this aint no booker prize candidate but really….who’s reading it for the syntax?