50 Shades of Grey: would you let your mum read it?
If the above title means nothing to you, chances are you’ve been hidden under a rock, buried under the depths of the vast Arctic Ocean for the last six months – that, or you’re a man (and even they don’t remain unscathed by this literary craze!). It’s the erotic novel that has been sweeping the nation. But why is it only now that such a book has taken the UK – and the world – by storm?
Penned by 40-something, West London-dwelling, mother-of-two Erica James, or E. L. James as she goes by in the literary world, 50 Shades of Grey is the first of a racy trilogy which centres around university graduate Anastasia Steele and the now world-renowned, world-adored, and world-lusted-after fictional character, Christian Grey. The follow-up books are titled Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.
The Fifty Shades series has now racked up sales of an incredible ten million copies (and counting), with rights for the book having been sold in 37 countries; this raunchy trilogy looks set for world domination. But again, we must come back to the question: why now? Romantic literature has been gracing the shelves of libraries for many decades (step forward Mills & Boon) and can be witnessed as far back as the 17th century in the debauched lyricisms of John Wilmot; 50 Shades of Grey itself is even littered with references to one of the original fallen women of literature: Hardy’s Tess D’Urberville.
Well, it appears, James has somewhat hit the spot (pardon the pun) for 21st-century women – and indeed of all ages (both daughters and mothers firm fans). It’s been termed as ‘mummy porn’ but one thing’s more sure: women aren’t ashamed about reading the novel, with it now a firm tube-ride and holiday read.
With a potential movie in the pipeline, people are already placing their bets on who will play the couple. But the real question is: would you watch the film with your mum?
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