More Than Fifty Shades

When I worked at a national news magazine, I learned that the optimal “cover story” evoked an equal number of “pro” and “con” responses. I found that to be roughly true after my recent blog post on the popular Fifty Shades of Grey series: half of the respondents thanked me for the warning not to read the book(s), and the other half expressed gratitude for encouraging the read.

What’s most interesting is that 90 percent of these remarks came through one-one-one conversations or personal emails, not comments on the WordPress or Facebook posts. Could my loyal readers be afraid to admit publically that they’re reading – and even enjoying – E. L. James’ books?

Do we need permission to take a break from our duties as serious grownups at work and home, where we normally spend our days stressed and hurried, cooking, driving, cleaning, spectating and reading children’ s books or school papers?

Is it so wrong to take flight from our normally frantic lives, and maybe even to fantasize a bit?

I admit that I did read the first book out of obligation to the book club (our meeting is this Thursday; I’ll let you know how the discussion goes). But, aside from the over-the-top sexual stuff (who knew you could do that with a riding crop, that balls could be inserted there and that you could buy things to “plug” certain orifices) – the story grew on me. And, when Book I came to a sudden halt, I moved right on to Book II (Fifty Shades Darker), and got sucked into the story of Christian and Ana’s burgeoning relationship.

So, ladies – and brave gentlemen – give yourself a little permission to escape every now and then, and let us know how the “trip” feels.

–        Linda Williams Rorem, 9 June 2012


  1. After reading Linda’s first posting I was intrigued and decided to purchase it on my Kindle. Needless to say, I barely slept for 4 days as I voraciously read all three books. Yes, one could dwell on the kinky, sexual descriptions in the book, but I personally could not wait to see what happened next in the relationship. I found myself becoming immune to the sex scenes and eventually quickly skimmed over them so I could hurriedly move onto what was going to happen next in the story. I have already started to think about what Hollywood hunk will play Christian and who will be vulnerable, yet strong Ana. I’d describe the books as the “Twilight” for housewives (comparable love story and rudimentary writing).

    • SO brave of you to admit you enjoyed the books! I agree; the story is compelling, despite it all. Who would you cast as Christian and Ana?

      • Since I am horrible at names and fairly out of touch with “young” actors, I had to type in Hollywood hunks on Google to help my cause: Ryan Gosling (he was the one I thought of), Chris Evans (Captain America), Ian Somerhalder, Chris Pine, or Liam Hemsworth. For Ana: Mila Kunis, Cobie Smulders, Missy Peregrym, or Emma Roberts. My guess is Hollywood has already picked their stars and they are not one of the names listed above. It will be intriguing to see who eventually get picked…or more importantly, if Hollywood turn the books into movies.

        • Thanks, Stacy. We discussed your suggestions last night at our book club gathering. We had to Google most of the names to figure you who those actors were! Everyone loved the suggestions for Christian, and Emma Roberts seemed the best pick for Ana. Hollywood — are you listening?

  2. Carol Gullstad says:

    The responses to Linda’s blog have been fascinating. I have also received only private messages about it with women telling me they will only look at the book on an e-reader. In addition, some are seeking suggestions for other books in the same genre but requesting the information through private messaging! A true cultural phenomenon and yes, I have read them.

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