I admit to reading my share of sexy novels. In grade 6 or 7, my best friend has a mom with boxes of Harlequin romance novels. My friend let me take one home to read. I forget the title only it was about an English woman somehow caught up with a group of gypsies. It was the first novel I learned the real name was Romany people. As a curious tween it also introduced me to an explicit description of sexual intercourse, and the term ‘he nuzzled her neck’. I didn’t know what neck nuzzling was exactly, but it sounded like fun.
Fast forward to 2013 and I have concluded a few women have some kind of ‘porn stash’, or as I call it ‘a collection of smutty books’. Instead of walking into sketchy stores, we browse among the one place such an open secret can exist: the book store. The bookstore no longer has the monopoly on the smutty book. Thanks to e-books, readers can enjoy their guilty pleasures without the covers shouting:
Hey! Reading Smutty Book! Make Your Judgments Here!
50 Shades of Grey took people by surprise for a variety of reason other than its origins as Twilight fan fiction or initial e-book publication. Women clamoured for the book, wishing they had a Christian Grey in their lives, or else hoping for a renewed spark in the dying embers of a sex life.
After reading bits and pieces on Tumblr, I finally downloaded the novel and find myself 10% into the book. I feel turned on alright; I feel turned on to laugh. I don’t think the author had any intention of writing a comedic novel, but I find myself involuntarily snorting my way through it. It’s starts with the repeated use of ‘damn’ and ‘crap’ within the first two chapters. As much as I tried to quell the critical voice in my head, I really don’t like the narrator/main character. Well, if you don’t like the book, why bother reading it? questions of the chorus.
On occasion one has to read a bad book to be a good writer. As William Faulkner once said:
Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.
I don’t believe I am the only one reading 50 Shades of Grey as a ‘good’ book. Somehow this book has beaten a lot of odds and I want to know why. I also needed a good laugh now and then. It breaks the cardinal rule in writing first person narration by using a mirror scene as a way to describe the character. It’s also hard not read to read Christian Grey’s description without thinking of Robert Pattison. An image squelching any spark, but I am over 40 and like my men talented and hot. (The order is interchangeable.)
Will this fearless reader finish 50 Shades of Grey? Will she do it and nearly die of laughter trying? (I haven’t even hit the BDSM moments.)