There is a new phenomenon spreading across the UK and the States amongst women of a certain age, one that is bringing housewives, grandmothers, curious men, office workers and many others together in what appears to be a well kept secret.
You may have noticed it, may have read about it or even heard it being discussed in corners of supermarkets or toddler groups. At times you may have felt self conscious, perhaps even wondered if these people were discussing you and that their whispers ceased when you came near.
Let me reassure you this is not the case (well, in most cases anyway). Let me introduce you to E.L James,creator of the latest Trilogy ’50 Shades’.
I was curious to learn what all the mystique and hype was surrounding this woman’s newest offerings to the book world and happily downloaded my copy of her book – 50 Shades of Grey this morning.
If you are of the screamish, prudish, shy or easily embarrassed world I advise you to not read on.
What I believed to be the latest offering of someone similar to Twilight is actually Erotica. There are no Vampires, Donut eating policeman, Inspectors or any other normal offerings us women receive in our book clubs.
This book of erotica sold its 10 millionth copy last week and seems not to be slowing. EL James has based her characters on the famous Edward Cullen and Bella Swan – only appears to have given them both Viagra and ‘bath salts’ at the same time.
Our two main characters are Anastasia and Christian – a literature student and a successful businessman respectively. Anastasia, a young woman about to graduate who has never even seen a naked man and Christian who is into BDSM. (BDSM is a preference and sometimes form of personal relationship centering around activities that are erotic but may not be sexual, and which may include the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role play. Practitioners of BDSM vary hugely in their perception of what activities are integral to BDSM, and some borderline activities (light bondage, hot wax, blindfolds) may be practiced by people identifying as “vanilla” (ie, not into BDSM) – so inclusion in the community is usually dependent on self-proclaimed identification with).
Whilst researching I have found very mixed reviews of 50 Shades of Grey. Some say it is allowing women to regain control and sexual prowess; others say it is a poor version of Mills and Boon.
What I do know is that no Mills and Boon book I have read contains passages which I can’t repeat on here, but describe in graphic detail Anastasia losing her virginity in several positions, offering her first blow job and learning to pleasure herself in a bubble bath all within the first 5 chapters.
In my opinion it has become such a phenomenon because of the ease of access (pardon the pun) on the Internet and the use of social media among women. It is a book that you know you shouldn’t read, that you know probably will not stretch even one brain cell but, a book that you know you must have, that you must read to ensure joining in the whispered conversations and having a very guilty pleasure.
Has it turned me into a raging nymphomaniac and made me hotfoot it to Homebase for some cable ties? No. Would I read the next one? Sadly, yes, I’ve already downloaded it and can’t wait for Christian Grey, my Galaxy and glass of rosé later tonight. It’s the closest thing to foreplay and I don’t have to feign a headache………