The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by EL James has sold 100 million copies worldwide. It’s number eight in the top ten bestselling books of all time. Many heterosexual couples have raved about how it saved their relationship, made it spicier. I’m happy for all of the readers who found happiness through this book or the series. I’m not a New York Times bestselling author. Would I love to have the kind of success that James has had? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a diplomatic opinion about this novel.
I took a writing class at the same time I read Fifty Shades of Grey when it was released in print for the first time. The novella I worked on in class was the same genre as her novel, something I had written long before it was published. As I read her book it came across as an early draft, a work in progress. My biggest complaint as a feminist and as a writer was the worn out story line of a rich Prince Charming who tries to save a young virgin from her boring life. Or a rich Prince Charming who tries to save himself with a young virgin. Both are cliche. This especially irked me since the setting wasn’t our mother’s or grandmother’s generation, but our daughter’s. The dialogue was repetitive at times. Some scenarios were too perfect, incredulous to read.
Did I stop reading the book after I started it? No. James understands plot and for that I turned the pages, finished Fifty Shades of Grey, and learned from it as I worked on my novella. I didn’t read the next two books in the trilogy though. Despite the fact that I didn’t like her first novel, I give her credit for helping many women own their sexuality because of her work.
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