Finally -- a book series for adults. I understand the appeal of Harry Potter. I appreciate the romance of Twilight and I even got hooked by the excitement surrounding The Hunger Games. But Fifty Shades of Grey is another animal entirely. The first book of the trilogy is already being called "mommy porn," and with good reason. It's like a Harlequin Romance published by Larry Flynt. I mean that in a good way.
Ironically, I first heard about this explicit publishing phenomenon on one of the holiest days of the year -- Good Friday, which also happened to coincide with the first night of Passover. I overheard several different conversations about the graphic S&M romance book, first at the office and then, later that evening. at a Seder (who knew sex mixed with religion!). Women who I generally considered discreet, if not demure, suddenly seemed charged with a with a sexual energy that startled me and piqued my interest enough to buy and read the first book myself.
Wow. Mommy porn, indeed. I can attest that what's good for the gander is good for the goose. Simply put, I enjoyed it. A lot. Of course, there was nothing about the book that was realistic. The characters have perfect names: Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele, Katherine Kavanaugh. They all have flawless bodies and beautiful faces. No cellulite here. The anti-hero is only 27 years old but he is, somehow, a self-made billionaire whose altruistic and humanitarian efforts take him to Darfur. The heroine is a 22-year stunner who happens to be a virgin. Perfect. But let's face it, overweight, middle-aged, middle class couples into bondage are not the stuff of fantasy. This is.
I bought a copy for my wife, hopeful that the fiction may somehow translate into a personal reality, although not to the extent written in the book. (A guy can dream, right?) The trilogy was written by a woman named E L James. As a man, I'd like to thank her personally for prompting discussion of a topic that would have branded me a pervert had I written about it or talked about it with my wife or her friends. It's apparent from the reaction to the book (landing at the top of the New York Times's best seller list) that women are indeed cerebral creatures. The written word clearly turns them on. Guys, of course, are notoriously visual animals (ask Hugh Hefner how popular he became for the articles in his magazine). While the book is titillating (no pun intended) I must be honest -- I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie.