Thursday, June 21, 2012

E L James, Fifty Shades of Grey and the odd appeal of 'Mummy Porn'

The woman was mired in middle age and didn't seem like the kind to be swayed by "Mummy porn."

But she was almost breathless in her enthusiasm for this one. "It's called Shades and Grey and it's a trilogy. I don't read much but I couldn't put this down. I had to rush out to the store in the middle of the night to buy the next one. And I don't read much."


I don't think the fact it was a trilogy was the issue. She didn't seem the type to put her foot on the gas to get a copy of Return of the King.

Fifty Shades of Grey it seems is about a demure girl who starts a relationship with a billionaire who wants to dominate her on his yacht, in his Penthouse and just about anywhere else you can think of dominating an erstwhile demure girl.

I had never heard of it.

This may be because I have had my head in the sand for the last six months - or maybe just up my own bottom.

Now I come to think of it I recall some conversation a few weeks ago among wannabee authors about the rise of "Mummy Porn."

The argument goes something like this. If you sat on the train leafing through a copy of "White Hot Quivering Passion," you might get self conscious. But because everybody now has a Kindle, other folks can't tell what you are reading on the train - and you don't have to take it up to some sales assistant who will shout out in a loud voice: "Price check on "White Hot Quivering Passion."

Fifty Shades of Grey, according to the Daily Mail explores the "relationship between submissive graduate Anastasia Steele and manipulative billionaire Christian Grey who wants to dominate her in his 'red room of pain'."

It sounds like The Masque of the Red Death by Poe, but I doubt if it's anything like that.

Author E L James, who is outselling JK Rowling and everyone else in the stratosphere, is a previously little known writer in her late 40s who tends to show a lot of cleavage in her publicity shots, no doubt to be in tune with the racy nature of her novel.

I'm still curious about how a few spanking scenes can fill three novels but obviously it worked for Ms. James and her great big bulging pocket book.

Matthew Curry of Lovehoney, a seller of erotic books and other stuff, told the Daily Mail the novel has dragged the erotic sex industry cleanly out of its brown paper bag.

‘Not only has Lovehoney seen nearly a 400 per cent increase in sales of erotic fiction, but an increase in the sales of blindfolds, restraints, and intimately revealing lingerie as turned-on couples recreate some of the book's steamy chapters," he said.

All of this leaves a dilemma for us wannabe writers. Do we get off our high horses, read the thing and pen some "Mummy porn" in the hope that one day our cleavages will be featured in the Daily Mail (time to step up those gym sessions for me) or do we sit tight and hope it goes away?

When I first heard about this I had it pinned down as some LA fad. It left me feeling all British and superior. But it turns out E L James is British while her rather more eruidite and less accessible namesake Henry James was an American who hung out a lot in Britain.

So perhaps it's really Americans who are uptight about sex in the same way as many can be about religion while the Brits drop out and let it hang out.

Don't just take my word for it. Read this headline from the Palm Beach Post.

Brevard libraries pull erotic best-seller 'Fifty Shades of Grey'


27 comments:

  1. I'm as flummoxed by its success as you are, David, especially as it's reportedly terribly badly written.

    Just goes to show there was a niche out there, a huge niche, and our lass has filled it. Watch out for the new bandwagon.

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    1. I know Sarah - there will be a bandwagon for sure - cab't say I've readit but a lot of people are saying the same re how it's written.

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  2. I've heard of it. I'm voting for sit tight and hope it goes away.

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    1. ha - it will be coming to your library soon I am sure Daisy

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  3. Several of my friends have mentioned on Facebook that they are reading it. One of them referred to it as 'Fifty Shades of Red' b/c she's embarrassed reading it. And another was mortified b/c she forgot to put it away and found that her young teen daughter had moved the book, ergo probably glanced at it as well. I haven't read it and probably won't unless I borrow it from someone.

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    1. well you know there is a curiosity and all that JoJo

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  4. I've read it. I closed my eyes and cringed ever so slightly over the way it was written, but the woman is right - it is compelling, and I'm taking my hat off to E.L James - if anything, for that.

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    1. really - all three Lizzie? - I think the DaVinci code wasn't well written but it was a page turner

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  5. I refuse to read this book, only because it started out as Twilight erotic fan fiction.

    I find that offensive. It's not even original!

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    1. oh really - am ignorant re Twlilight Jen.

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  6. If I see it at a garage sale, I may pick it up, but my to-read list is already so long that I may never be without a book again!

    Pearl

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    1. I know what you mean Pearl - I have half read books all over the place.

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  7. I think it's so popular for exactly the reason you note - most American women are so wrapped up in "propriety" this is their only outlet for something exciting. Because it's a book, and not porn, it must be "OK." Ha!

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    1. really Valley Writer - have an odd image of straight laced women sneaking a peak during a dull service at Baptist Church

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  8. So 'erotic Twilight fan fiction' is selling now. Just thinking about all the bad Twilight fanfics on the internet I read to have a laugh. All of those authors could be millionaires,... or the readers of 50SoG could just fucking read them for free.

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    1. I know Starla - am so ignorant re this Twilight existence...

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  9. I'm halfway through the 2nd book and haven't picked it up in a few weeks because it gets a bit pedestrian. Well, at least as pedestrian as spanking and nipple clamps can get.

    And it is incredibly poorly written! So much so that my book club has decided for our next meeting we are all bringing our own chapters for grading. Should be interesting!

    The things that I am finding interesting are

    1. calling it Mommy Porn. Sheesh, I hate that
    2. that so many people are sooooooo surprised that women would like this. Again - sheesh. I don't even know how to address that one. Isn't anyone having good sex anywhere??

    apologies for the mini-ranting. :(

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    1. Tis a good mini rant Deborah - probably right re sex and it seems nobody cares much about how badly written it is as long as the nipple clamps don't get tooo pedestrian lol..

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  10. Of all the fantastic books out there, I am amazed that this thing ever got picked up. But then, I'm quite perplexed by many reads that find a publisher. Cannot bring myself to touch it. Mummy porn. (Must everything have a strap line?) Ugh!

    I don't get it. Different strokes, I guess. :-/

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    1. I agree it's an awful strap line Jayne and the one the media has run with - well a lot of trash seems to get published

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  11. Interesting read and comments. Just taking it all in for now. I might have to take a glimpse at it, just to see its layout. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. could be interesting eh Jacqueline. I could read a couple of chapers but not three volumes.

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  12. This gal wrote what she loved and other writers should do the same, I think. That folks will jump on the bandwagon is inevitable, I suppose. That some women feel the need to hide behind their Kindles is unfortunate but understandable, when others seek to demean them by calling something they're enjoying "Mommy porn." So what if they want to read sexy stuff? Let them do it without the ridicule, for pity's sake.
    Some Dark Romantic

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    1. Indeed Mina - I wonder who first labelled it 'Mommy porn' and how that kind of tagline sticks? I doubt if she cares as she sinks in dough mind you...

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  13. Ian Somerhalder has finally responded to rumors that he's a favorite to play this role in the Fifty shades Movie

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  14. Thank you so much for the wonderful book! I finished it a few days ago and cannot get it out of my head. It is pure magic. It was everything I hoped it would be and much more. Thank you so much. You are a great writer... EL James.
    Fifty Shades Of Grey

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  15. The Movie Fifty Shades Provide the trilogy for fans to read the latest news on the movie casting; Jamie Dornan with Dakota Johnson as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele and much more.
    Fifty Shades Movie

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