This blog talks about fairly sexually explicit material (not so so much) but fair warning.
But I’ve got to bring up the topic… 50 Shades of Grey…I know, I know it’s been beat to death. And I don’t even want to discuss the ramifications of its originations as FanFic. Dear Author did that better than I ever could.
I will say in full disclosure - I didn’t care for the book. Which of course I would never do publicly except in the rare cases when the book becomes so big (and let’s face it the author doesn’t care about my opinion at this point) that it becomes a discussible topic.
As far as I’m concerned books like the DaVinci Code, Harry Potter and yes, Twilight are open for discussion both pro and con because of the tremendous impact they made when released.
Before the kerfuffle on this book started I had a friend (a non romance reading friend) who suggested this book. Her quote… “All the moms are talking about it.” Then she goes on to say it’s a little kinky… to which I said – sign me up. I’m always up for good kink.
This however was not it. Neither good nor particularly kinky in my opinion. What’s funny is as I was reading it I was like… here we go again. What is it with these books and the Mary Sue that seem to resonate. I felt about this book exactly as I felt about Twilight which when I found out it was previously or allegedly or whatever – Twilight FanFic I thought to myself – well done whoever you are. You hit the exact same vibe.
And like Twilight – I get to a certain extent the appeal. Two million books sold. Five million for the movie rights alone! This book is about BSDM or BDSM or some combination of those letters. It’s about dominants and submissives. Alpha’s males to the extreme max. There is something titillating about it. Especially for people who haven’t read anything like this before.
But my point is if there is an audience so big out there for this book – why aren’t these women reading romance novels which deal with sexuality and sexual issues in a much more interesting and way more titillating way!
I mean comparing the sex in this book to authors like Kresely Cole or Maya Banks or Sylvia Day is like comparing a spring rain to a hurricane. So if it’s the kink you want, than you’re looking in a very tame place. And you can’t tell me it’s not, because I’m sorry the story just doesn’t hold up without it.
The worst, however, is the attitude of the heroine. The “I don’t like it. I like it.” “No please don’t. Do it some more.” drove me nearly insane. Is that what’s making this book so popular? Is it that “no, no this is wrong… please do it harder” concept that makes it acceptable for women who would never read erotica or highly explicit romance to suddenly read this book?
To my way of thinking if you like to get spanked own it. And heroines in romance novels today definitely reflect that. Maybe there are some still out there but I think mostly as women we’ve stopped writing the “No means Yes” kind of stories. The Flame and Flower just doesn’t hold up anymore. And while those types of books lead women into the romance genre, I would wager very few readers who read those books 20 years ago would put up with today what Kathleen Woodiwiss’s heroines put up with back then.
No means no. Yes means yes. If you like a belt on the butt then say so. If it’s not your thing don’t get involved with a guy who is into that. I mean really. I wanted to spank this girl for being such a dumbass! Certainly characters will think about why it is they like this particular fetish, or what it says about his or her past and/or internal psychology, but this story barely touches that. And really only with him.
If there are women out there, who don’t read romance, who are reading this book and enjoying it for what it is, just like I enjoyed the The Flame and the Flower 20 years ago, then we as romance writers need to find these women and bring them up to speed with how it’s really done in romance.