Yes, every writer on the planet has given their two cents about what the success of this novel means to them. I'm late. Sorry. I wasn't even going to write anything about it, but my good friend Jay Fingers wrote a piece this week mentioning that the trilogy had sold 10 millions copies. And I just had to pause and reflect on that for a minute.
10 million copies. Holy shit. That is crazy.
First of all, I have to admit that I have not read it. And I'm pretty sure I won't be. Well, I'm definitely sure I won't be. I just looked it up on Amazon and it's 528 pages long. There is no way in hell I would ever be able to finish that.
So, being the industrious woman that I am, I did the next best thing. I read all of the pages that Amazon would let me see, for free. But they wouldn't let me see any of the smutty stuff, so I looked up some smutty free passages and I found them on Jezebel.
Now, you may be saying, You can't judge a 528 page book by reading 20 pages of it. But, yes you can. When Jonathan Franzen published his newest novel, and everyone once again began to talk about what a fantastic writer he was, I realized that I had never read a word that he had written. I went to Google, looked up Jonathan Franzen quotes, and devoured every single one. It was clear to me, in one sentence, that I wanted to read his work. I ordered The Corrections immediately. I'm still on page 50- but hey- I have every intention of reading it.
Needless to say, this did not happen when I read a few pages of Fifty Shades of Grey. Maybe it's because Anastasia Steele is the most mother f-ing ridiculous name that anyone has given a protagonist, ever. Maybe it's because she used the word gamine on page two. Maybe it's because I think her writing style is crap. The bottom line is- who cares? I won't read it.
Instead, I read all of that backlash about it, because I find that more interesting. Of course, the feminist backlash is the stuff that interests me the most. Next is the "real writer" backlash.
There have been lots of observations about the novel as anti-feminist. Of course, it's anti-feminist for women to fantasize about being dominated, right? Katie Roiphe, probably the first woman ever to argue that women have a hand in date rape (gross) claims that the book offers an escape from the dreariness and hard work of equality. Oh god, really? The idea that any woman would pick up a piece of Twilight fan fiction to escape the hard work of equality is just stupid. Almost as stupid as the phrase the hard work of equality. And implying that millions of women across the land are doing themselves a disservice by reading some harmless erotica is pretty insulting. It's not anti-feminist to fantasize about being sexually dominated. Give me a break. And in BDSM relationships, the one that is being dominated controls all of the action, because they are the one that decides when it stops. Ever heard of a safe-word. Duh.
And naturally, other writers are pissed. Of course they are! The publishing industry is ridiculously hard to break into. And this woman, who writes things like, My inner goddess is prostrate, is now a wildly famous, successful author. That sucks. But that's life.
That fact brings me to this point. Creative people- yes I am talking to you- there is an endless amount of inspiration out there. If one person makes it, discovers the next big thing, and becomes a gazillionaire on the back of some poorly written erotica- who cares? If anything, it should inspire you- just a little. Whatever you think of this woman and her work, she created something out of nothing, and sold 10 million copies of it. That's impressive.
That's enough for today. My inner goddess is prostrate, and I think I just heard my husband walk in the door.
Just kidding. I have to do laundry.