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S&M Novel Fifty Shades Of Grey Tops Best-Seller Lists

Submitted by on March 14, 2012 – 8:59 amOne Comment

The New York Times best-seller list is hallowed ground, reserved for spies, cookbooks, detectives, boy wizards, and even some “high literature.” So what does it say that the current occupant of the #1 spot is the explicit story of a virginal coed entering an S&M relationship? It’s called “mommy porn” (no, not that kind), and some people think it’s the natural evolution of Twilight.

Fifty Shades of Grey follows virgin college senior Anastasia Steele as a chance encounter brings her into the life of 28-year-old English billionaire Christian Grey. Christian eventually invites Ana to be the “submissive” in a dom/sub relationship.

And then, apparently, a lot of BDSM stuff happens.

Many critics think that this is a bridge to erotica (in a good way) for many mainstream women who normally wouldn’t be caught dead reading such stuff. (This perception is probably helped by the fact that author E.L. James was a successful TV producer in her 40s and mother of two when she wrote the book.) Here, they can explore sexuality through the relatively legit form of a novel– or even anonymously on a coverless e-reader.

But most also state the similarities between this book and another series about taboo passion: yes, Fifty Shades is Twilight with leather instead of vampires. The protagonist is handsome, obscenely wealthy, and has a secret; and the heroine must cut herself off from the world she’s known to be with him. (Also, James reportedly first published the text on a Twilight fan fiction page.) But whereas Edward and Bella stayed apart until marriage, no such inhibitions exist with Christian and Ana. As the fans of the vampire series grow up and look for more adult fare (the first novel was published eight years ago), they seem to be turning here.

How is the actual writing, though? Aside from “the good parts,” critics don’t seem so impressed. Jesse Kornbluth at The Huffington Post calls it “only marginally better written than Snooki‘s book.” Even devotees of bodice-ripping romance novels are finding faults. Sarah Wendell at SmartBitchesTrashyBooks thought it was “melancholy and meandering,” with a heroine narrator “so maudlin and wimpy,” Wendell couldn’t finish the book. But that obviously hasn’t hurt the book’s sales, and hasn’t stopped it from earning 4.5 out of 5 stars on both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites (out of thousands of reviews).

Have you read Fifty Shades Of Grey? What do you think?

[via L.A. Times]

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