In this fantasy he shows up at my boring job and we have an awkward but meaningful conversation. In this fantasy he just happens to walk by my house when I’m outside reading a Victorian novel and wearing a really flattering top. In this fantasy he shows up at the bar and I don’t accidentally have my first kiss ever with the wrong guy. In this fantasy he wants me so much that it drives him insane. In this fantasy he can barely control himself.
I went to see Fifty Shades of Grey in NYC’s Union Square at noon on a Tuesday. It had been out for ten days. The Internet had said the stars had no chemistry and obviously hated sex. A lot of my Facebook friends had said I should boycott it because it romanticized an abusive relationship. Rory and Alison had told me the sex scenes were incredibly boring, but the paperwork scenes were delightful. Marisa had posted a photo on Instagram of her and Matt looking sad after they watched it. So I basically knew what to expect. Continue reading
With the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey out in theaters now, and the conversation around both the film and the books reaching a fever pitch, I want to weigh in on it as a cultural text. And in case you’re wondering—although I have not yet seen the film (my hope is to see a Mystery Science Theater-style screening with a hundred of my closest kinky friends), yes, I have read the books. Or, at least, I took one or two of the books down from a public library shelf while my children played nearby, and I speed-read through it in horror, taking pictures of particularly appalling passages with my phone, because, after years of making assumptions about this piece of self-published fan fiction turned cultural “mommy porn” phenomenon, it turned out to be even worse than I’d imagined.
How is it worse? What are my issues with it? Well, for starters, I feel that the prose is so bad, you guys. SO. BAD. It is trite and clumsy and repetitive and dull. It’s not even worth it for me to bother quoting it here: you can find plenty of excerpted examples online, or you can do what I did, and pull a copy off your local library shelf and flip to any page at random. But trust me: I’ve been teaching and editing creative writing for many years: I know what I’m talking about here. E.L. James writes shoddy, sorry-ass prose. Continue reading