I’m a Fifty Shades of Grey convert.
There, I said it.
Until Tracey recently asked Amanda and me if either of us had read it, I wasn’t admitting to anyone (except my husband) that I not only read Fifty Shades of Grey, but Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Just two months before, I had openly and stubbornly refused to consider reading these books.
You see, I prefer to buck trends whenever possible. And in this case, my decision not to indulge was made in reaction to the incessant gushing of pent-up moms in the bleachers at the town baseball field who thought the trilogy was worthy of a literary award. Seriously, mommy porn? How hard-up do you have to be?
So where was I? Oh yes, I read the entire trilogy. And I liked it. A lot. (I can blame a good friend, whose opinion I very much respect, for my change of heart.)
Once I had read them, it was challenging to refrain from the water cooler critiques which were heavily anti-Fifty Shades. All of my editor friends were saying that any self-respecting writer/editor would never get through the books without covering the pages in red proofreading marks. They were partially right — I was tempted, but distracted enough by the Red Room of Pain scenes to resist picking up a pen and mailing my corrections to author E L James. I also had to overcome a mental top ten list of the most overused fifty shades phrases (Can I get an “Oh my”?). The only thing left to do was laugh at myself for wasting hours on such a guilty pleasure when I barely make time to read anything else. And still, I was glad I did.
Now I am firmly planted on the Fifty Shades bandwagon — that is me, waving the flag, surrendering. But not for all the obvious reasons. Sure the story was hot, steamy mostly. And I even heard of one couple who completely turned around their relationship because the Mrs. had an awakening. But there was more to it than a bunch of sensationalist sex scenes and the BDSM theme. The most intriguing take-away for me was how Anastasia Steele and Christopher Grey spun their extremes into a whirlwind of self-discovery and ultimately met somewhere in the middle.
I would go so far as to say that the story was touching, dare I say even sweet at times. Anastasia and Christian learned to bend (in most interesting ways) and let go of their fears and inhibitions. Their story, fictional as it may appear, gets you thinking about how far you can stray from your comfort zone while still being true to yourself.
The real theme here is about connecting with someone on a deeper level — and how sometimes you have to expand your definition of normal to get there. But I won’t lie, you will have to repeatedly pick your chin up off the sheets and get through a lot of cable ties and clamps before the real story emerges. Not a bad way to pass the time.
Come to think of it, maybe the real lesson here is about trying something before you decide whether or not you like it — kind of like this book.
Soooo, did you read it? What do you think of the Grey frenzy? Amanda had to deal with the Fifty Shades-hype on the baseball field too, except she’s not giving in. Ever.