For the last week or so, I have been consumed by the e-book phenomenon of E.L. James’ trilogy 50 Shades of Grey. Originally, Ms. James’ books were fan fiction efforts based on Twilight and somewhere along the way, she altered them enough to be published as original novels. For now, they are still only available as e-books, but last I heard, the novels were #1, #3, & #4 on Amazon’s best-sellers list.
Why is this interesting? Three reasons:
1) Twilight fans will recognize nearly every scene in these lengthy novels, which is a lot of fun because they’ve been moved around into a different story line and it’s fun to play “find the meadow scene” or “which character is which?”
2) “Christian Grey” is the human alter-ego of our favorite vampire, Edward. He’s as rich and as powerful as Bill Gates, as beautiful as Edward Cullen, and as dangerous to “Anastasia Steele” as Edward is to Bella. He’s terrified that what he wants to do to her will cause him to lose her. Like our own Edward, “Christian” is highly appealing, with a serious dark side, but with the soul of an angel hidden somewhere deep inside.
3) The novels have real sex…LOTS of real sex…and it is explicit, way kinky, and intensely erotic. Gatorade is probably your best choice of beverage to drink as you read. I’m just sayin’.
I was expecting a Twilight ripoff when I started the trilogy, and to be honest, the first seventy pages or so are not well-written and bored me mightily. But as the story continued, the tale permuted, turned in on itself, and morphed into its own tale in its own world. These are E.L. James’ first novels and I can relate to how one’s writing improves with practice. Altogether, the three books have some 1100 pages, so if you like them, there’s plenty to keep you occupied for quite a while.
This version of Edward, like the original himself, touched my soul, made me giggle, made me cry, gave me nightmares, kept me awake all night more than once, and well…wound me up tightly. All the books are NC-17 in content, with extremely explicit sex, so they’re not for everybody, but the intricate psychological drama that unfolds is in many ways, more compelling even than the sexy sex.
I have no doubt that reading these books will affect my own writings for the near future. “My Secret Garden” in the Private Diary of EAC was inspired by 50 Shades of Grey as is “My Year As A Sex Slave.”