Yes, I’ve finally given in and read the book that everyone’s talking about.
It got to the stage where I was beginning to feel left out of conversations that were taking place all around me – from our daily ideas meeting in the Fabulous office, to comments on Twitter and chats with the girls over a glass of wine. So I took the plunge (so to speak).
I’m sure most of you know the book’s story, but for those who’ve been living in a cave for the past six months, Fifty Shades Of Grey is the first in a trilogy of books following virgin Anastasia Steele who’s about to graduate from university in America, and gorgeous, charismatic businessman Christian Gray, who’s determined to awake Ana’s sexuality and teach her about sex. Mainly by introducing her to S&M (in his famous red room of pain) and demanding she agree to be his submissive. Nice.
So much has been written both in support of Fifty Shades and attacking it, but what did I think? Well, first of all, I DO get why everyone is talking about it. The fact that last week the three books sold almost a million paper copies between them in the UK cannot be ignored. What the books do is enable women to read ‘soft porn’ on the train to work, in the doctor’s waiting room or in fact wherever they choose. In this sense, they’re a step forward for women. On the other hand, the fact that Ana has to agree to be Christian’s ‘submissive’ in order to have any kind of relationship with him, could be seen as a step back for women. She may find she gets a sexual thrill from being dominated, but it feels a bit depressing that it is the man who is in control. Why couldn’t it have been the other way round?
Personally, I found the sex scenes more cringey than steamy, and generally the book was quite hard going because of the way it’s written. To be honest, if I read the words ‘inner goddess’ , ‘holy crap’ or ‘oh my’ one more time, I may vomit.
But author E.L James has never claimed that Fifty Shades is going to win the Booker Prize. The book is an escape for women, a fantasy, and in that sense, completely harmless.
Whatever your view of this amazing phenomenon, it feels like everyone’s a winner. E.L James is now a very rich woman, women – and men - have had their sex lives reignited, plus the publishing world is experiencing a much-needed boost. People across the world are talking about books, and that can only be a good thing.
Tell me what you thought about Fifty Shades on Twitter @FabFrosty or join the debate on Facebook.