Somewhere in the Middle


Yesterday was devoted to editing, reviewing some of the pictures I took on the weekend and the domestic bliss of the laundry, cleaning and menu planning variety.  I had the TV on in the late afternoon and from time to time certain phrases would slip into my head.  One was on Anderson Cooper Live.  The announcer stated, ‘”Coming up, a woman claims the bestseller ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ destroyed her marriage.”

I smiled at this and shook my head.  We like to blame our problems sometimes on rather obscure things, don’t we?  I am sure if someone’s marriage was sound and solid, reading this book would not be cause for it to fall apart.  Of course, if you just happened to be a huge fan of the English language, this book may cause a certain hostility in you.  In fact, you may find yourself weeping uncontrollably at the unconscionable use of the written word in this book that claims to be an erotica novel.

I have refrained from posting my opinion on this particular book.  I have had a number of very animated conversations with fellow writers on this very topic and yes, sadly we sat there gnashing our teeth and pulling out our hair our and wept and wailed at how poorly this book was written.  We argued about erotica, porn and all the rest of it.  And I don’t even know why we were arguing!  I will blame it on the dastardly book!  We would find ourselves yelling at each other while we were in complete agreement on the topic.  Sad I tell you.  Very sad.

We  finally decided that we could no longer mention this particular book as it just stirred up far too many horrific memories for us.  Now not everyone in my writing group read this book.  One of the guys read it as did I.  I will never get back that week of my life.  I pushed through it, however, becoming increasingly agitated as I scraped my eyes over each page.

I now have nightmares due to phrases such ‘Oh my!’ ‘He murmured, she murmured’ (nobody talks in this book…they all murmur), ‘Holy Shit!  And the phrase that now makes me want cause bodily harm to myself as well as others, are you ready for this?  ‘My inner goddess…” Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

(I swear if these phrases were removed, two hundred of the five hundred pages would be eliminated…yes, that is how often they are used.)

It is interesting to me that so many ‘soccer moms’ are apparently just eating this book up.  Even more astonishing is that they think the sex scenes in this book are racy.  Good lord!  The one time that they start to get into the S & M on a heavier level, she leaves him.  He uses a leather belt or something like that, at her bequest, and spanks her damn good.  And she breaks it off.  Now the other aspect of this book that I disagree with is the misrepresentation of people who do enjoy this lifestyle.  This books make it appear that people who partake in this suffer from some sort of sexual deviancy.

Sadder yet, it’s not erotica!  It really isn’t!  It is simply a bad romance.  That’s it.  And it is a really bad romance.  I am sick of reading about virgins that have a million orgasms their first time out.  And our heroine in this book has never even masturbated!  Yet when he shows her the ‘dungeon’ for the first time, this doesn’t freak her out.   And she is still a virgin when she views this.  There are chains and pulley’s hanging from the ceiling, but of course she finds this mildly curious.  It goes downhill from there.  If I was a virgin and someone wanted me to sign a contract so that they could do certain things to me, for which I knew nothing about, I think I’d pass.  I get the whole ‘animal attraction’ thing,  I really do.  But this book is about as unrealistic as they come.

Someone told me perhaps that’s the point.  I only read the one book.  I won’t waste my time with the rest of it.  One woman I know has read all three and apparently she ‘fixes’ him.  Oh, they still have a wee bit of naughty fun, but it’s vanilla sex, baby, all the way to the altar and the 2.5 children.

I was in a year-long depression and in that year I read over 200 romance / erotica novels.  Don’t ask me why as that is a whole other aspect of psychology that would take a whole lot of explaining that I just don’t want to get into.  Suffice to say I became rather intimate with the formula of this genre.  I read really good books, I read really bad books, I read very intriguing books.  Okay, I am no expert but I know a bad romance when I read one.

So now that I have ranted about this, perhaps I will begin to sleep normally at night.  It happens quite often though when a book will become a bestseller for the strangest reason.  This quite often happens with celebrity books.  I typically don’t read books authored by celebrities or ‘unauthorized’ biographies.  Still, I know they are popular.  For me, as long as it is well written and honours the language code.

Sadly, this book shows the demise of the language in many ways.  Am I overreacting?  Probably.  I can be a little dramatic when something gets under my skin.  And this did.

E. L. James is enjoying her millions and oh, will I be going to see the movie? Not bloody likely.

So keep the faith people.  Hopefully this was one of those odd little anomalies that occur from time to time.

May we embrace and celebrate the creative spirit in its pure form.  Somewhere in the middle of all of this I will endeavor to do my part.

Have a good one.

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