Sorry, couldn’t resist that title. This post is going to be about Fifty Shades of Grey, but I’m on cloud nine right now. People are buying Where the Heart Lies! This is (kind of) a new experience for me. I’ve never had a book up for pre-order before (at least I don’t think so), and my editor just tweeted to let me know Where the Heart Lies, which doesn’t come out until July 16, is the second most popular ebook on the Carina website. Wow! Admittedly, it’s on sale for 99 cents during July, so a lot of the buyers that would balk at $5 plus might be willing to take a leap of faith for less than a dollar. Anyway, if you’re interested in keeping track of my newest book’s progress, you can check out the Carina Press website.
And now on to the actual blog post. Fifty Shades of Grey. Seems like everybody’s talking about it. I actually resisted reading this one for a while, but I eventually realized it’s going to be an important influence on my chosen genre. Plus, people kept asking me what I thought about it. And I kept reading what other people thought about it. And finally I decided I needed to make up my own mind about it.
Let me start off by saying that in no way do I consider this a review, and I hope it won’t influence anyone either to read it or not. That’s entirely up to you. I really don’t think Fifty Shades of Grey is going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but, on the other hand, I can now see why it’s made such an impact.
Let’s look at the book honestly. It’s erotica. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Especially when it’s well-written erotica with a bit of a plot, which Fifty Shades definitely is. Is it a book you’d want your mom to catch you reading? Probably not. Your husband? Maybe. Is it a book you can discuss with your friends? Yes. In a book club? Um…probably not. At a quilting bee? Ummmm…. Leave it where your kids can read it? NO!
Fifty Shades of Grey is knocking down barriers. I classify it not only as erotica but as romantic erotica. My first thought when I finished it was, “Wow, the world has changed when a book like this can make it onto bestseller lists and become a household name.” Remember when you had to search a romance for “the good parts”? Well, there’s no searching necessary in Fifty Shades. Flip a couple of pages and you’ll find a good part. Guaranteed.
My second thought was, “Damn. She cheated.” She being the author, E.L. James. Why do I think she cheated? She didn’t finish the story. At least, she didn’t finish the story I wanted her to finish. In fact, she hinted at answers, led me on until the last page. I followed her heroine all the way through to the end, and honestly, I couldn’t believe the last page was the last page. I even double-checked to make sure my Nook had all the pages. She couldn’t end the damn book that way! No author would do that!
Of course, I knew at the time that the book was a trilogy, but I have to admit, I would have preferred that she cut out some of the sex scenes and finish the damn story I wanted her to finish in one book. I’m not sure I want to wade through two more books to have the questions answered that I want answered. I may, but then again, reading time takes away from writing time and I’m not sure I want to spend it on her books. So there, E.L. James! Take that! I may not buy your other books. You can’t make me!
But I probably will.
And that’s where I realized James succeeded where many others fail in the erotica world (and romance and scifi and any other kind of literature). I care about these characters. Amidst all the sex and bondage and other stuff, she created two characters I actually like. I want them to resolve their problems. I want to know the answers to the questions James raised in the first book. And the only way I can find out how the story ends is to read the other books. At least, that’s the only way I’ll be satisfied. (Ahem.) I could probably find a friend who’s read the books and could tell me how it ends and what the answers are, but I want to get there myself. So yeah, I’ll probably be investing more money in James’s career, helping to send Fifty Shades of whatever right back to the top of the bestseller lists. Even though she cheated, I’m going to let her get away with it.