I'm reading nasty blogs and scathing reports about how people think the popular novel 50 Shades of Gray is beneath them, they are not interested in a little kinky sex (us Puritans, we like the missionary position, don't yacha know), and damning all women (and a few men) who have found enjoyment in the novels.
I'm one of those women -- who enjoyed the books. Did I realize it wasn't reality? Well, of course. Would I like to meet the man who could get "it up" 13 times a day with no effort -- actually, no -- that would just tire me out incredibly. Would I like to have 27 orgasms in one really fantastic tryst? Well, maybe . . . but I'd probably really rather go to sleep after two good ones (okay, three or four?). Do I want to partake in sadistic sex rituals -- NOT ON YOUR LIFE! Pain is NOT part of the bargain in a sexual encounter. But maybe I do like a little bit of the "take charge" guy on occasion -- the one who cannot wait to ravish my private bits and pieces or who is anxious to please me repeatedly before taking pleasure for himself. The one who DEMANDS I enjoy myself first. Does this make me a crass reader who has no taste in literature? According to the on-line naysayers, definitely.
Well, personally, I think all those fantasy sci-fi readers who like made-up languages and impossible aliens and worlds away from Earth are a bit weird, themselves. What's the difference between a little sexual make-believe and creating a whole universe of vampires, werewovles, and elves -- all who usually (often) have sex in some form or other -- or at least a lot of heavy romance before the "cut"?
I also really enjoy cozy mysteries -- they're sweet and homespun. They don't have chopped up body parts or people drinking blood on every page. Actually, the same is true of 50 Shades -- it has sex but it does NOT have violence. I've read everything Jan Karon ever wrote - and enjoyed the religious world she has populated through her Father Tim novels. I haven't read Moby Dick because I hated it and couldn't get passed the first 100 pages -- but I loved Mockingbird, anything by John Irving, all the Harry Potter's (see - we with our perverted sex drives can even read children's / YA lit). Shakespeare, Dickens, and Jane Austen are perennial favorites -- and nobody's cleaner than Austen.
So back off all you snobs who think you are better than reading 50 Shades. It may not be your cup of tea (like sci fi is NOT for me) -- but don't trash talk those of us who get a little thrill from reading about a life we'll never have -- and we know it. After all, any of you EVER really read Romeo and Juliet and actually understood it -- now, talk about "dirty."
Edited to add: My friend Adi in Singapore found this wonderful review of the book -- and I like it so much that you should check it out (her note is in the comments).
Guardian Review of 50 Shades of Gray