Alright. By now at least someone you know has read 50 Shades of Grey, or you’ve read it, or you’ve heard of it, or your favorite sex shop is inexplicably covered in “50 Shades Inspired Kits!”
I too was curious about this “phenomenon,” or at least about how people were so surprised about it. I mean, women reading erotica? With sex in it?! Get out of town and take a bus! I admit I read the Twilight series. It was all pretty awful, the writing, the characters, the story. And yet somehow awfully engaging. Bella is a disaster of a shero nightmare from the Hades pit of despair. As a lover of Tamora Pierce, I felt the icy grip of shame clutch at me whenever I read a page of Bella’s incessant whining. So when I heard someone had published some erotic fan fic, and that the public at large was into it, I was curious, but not ready to commit.
Fortunately I was saved. Apparently E.L. James is a worse writer than Stephanie Meyer, has unwittingly (I can only hope) romanticized domestic abuse and completely and totally misrepresented the kink/BDSM community in ways that amount to slander. The fact that she barely admits that her work is fan fic and actually is SUING PEOPLE FOR WRITING FAN FIC BASED ON HER NOVELS makes me actively dislike her. But what alerted me to these horrors and saved me from wading into a feminist nightmare alone was a woman named Jenny Trout.
Jenny, an erotica author in her own right (pen name Abigail Barnette), set out to do a little industry research and was so horrified by the 50 Shades books that she decided to do a chapter-by-chapter recap, at great psychological risk, on her blog. And they are HILARIOUS. Nothing is spared: from the horrific grammar/syntax problems and the protagonist’s selfish and often nonsensical actions to revealing how Christian Grey is actually an abusive ass and mocking how E.L. James could possibly deny how her books parallel Twilight with a straight face. As I’ve previously said, sometimes you just have to laugh at life’s tragedies or you’ll just never stop crying.
I will give you a link to Jenny’s 50 Shades recaps and your life will be well on its way to being complete. I warn you, though. Once you begin reading, you will not be able to tear your eyes away, so please make yourself a sandwich, finish your laundry, water your plants, and make sure your pets have enough food. Because once you click this link, you’re done for the day.
She will be finished recapping the final book in June, which will be a black day for us all.
OR WILL IT?
Fortunately, Jenny has taken pity on us addicted slobs and has decided to write her own FREE ONLINE 50 Shades-esque erotica called The Boss. It’s vaguely based off the same set up (young woman gets into a relationship with a wealthy older man who is into some kinky stuff), except, you know, not about a self-absorbed moron who is emotionally manipulated by a man who uses his own abusive history as an excuse to be a jerk. (How these books have outsold Harry Potter and become the best-selling romance of all time just breaks my heart. Reminds me of the moment I found out that Garth Brooks had out-platinumed the Beatles. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I like a little country now and then, but for God’s sakes. I weep for humanity sometimes.)
Here is her blurby about it:
I somehow managed to get past security and am now being sent advance copies of her chapters before she posts them (did I mention she will be posting them for free?) And let me tell you, after the first chapter, I AM HOOKED. The writing is excellent, the characters are interesting and relatable and so far no one makes me want to jam a fork in my eye.
It should also be said that I am not getting paid or bribed to say any of this. I don’t get anything other than the warm fuzzies you get when you show someone Hyperbole and a Half or the Washington song for the first time.
Here is the link for The Boss. The first chapter will be posted for public consumption on January 15th, which is sad for me because I’ve already read it and now have to wait for my fix like the pathetic junkie that I am.
But the good news is that you have plenty of time to read all her 50 Shades recaps. Which you should do. Right now.