Remember when your mom hid that paperback in her purse growing up? She'd get flustered when you went diving into it's depth for change or a lollipop or a tissue. Its cover was white, its title was in big red letters, there were certain pages dog-eared, the crease so over-folded it was tearing a bit in the corner. You'd try to pull it out and your mom's face would whiten, here eyes would widen, and she'd grab it from you and stuff it back inside. "That's Mummy's book, honey. What do you need? I'll get it for you."
You took your quarter or lolly or tissue and went along your path.
And maybe, later, if you were a precocious brat like me, you'd sneak into her purse after she went to bed, to see what was so forbidden.
That's how I discovered a few books that I perhaps didn't really understand completely. The Kama Sutra. Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask). Hot, steamy romances (those were most of the ones with the pages dog-eared.)
My parents, God bless them, were (and still are) huge readers. I was encouraged to read, and took advantage, because the escape, the imagination, matched my temperament perfectly. I read adult books alongside children's books. I read Roots in preparation for the miniseries, the same with The Thorn Birds. (Don't I remember a steamy sex scene in that? Forbidden sex?)
Every generation has their "book". You know the one I'm talking about - it's naughty. It's got sex - real sex, not the longing kind of stuff that fast forwards through the act itself. One of the more adventurous women in the neighborhood would get the book, read it, dog-ear the good parts, and pass it around. Down and dirty and real. Women discuss it in hushed whispers, in person, passing along the books like contraband.
Even teens always find a book that they relate to. In my time, it was Judy Blume's Forever. The concept of losing our virginity was fast becoming a reality, and that book taught us how it should be - with someone we love - and what can go wrong - free milk from the cow syndrome. It was titillating and terrifying, and so very adult.
This generation had Twilight - and yes, I know it's dumb that the vampires sparkle, but the message of abstinence until marriage - coming from the BOY - wasn't the worst thing our teens could hear. I don't know of anyone who was hurt by waiting to have sex.
Contrary to some schools of thought, we women do like sex. How else do you explain all these kids running around, not to mention the huge demand for birth-control, and the too-high abortion rates? And we like to read a bit of spicy writing. I daresay some of us even like to watch a little spicy television and see some spicy movies, too. A little spicy on the screen and inside the book covers equals a little spicy inside the bed covers, if you catch my drift.
So why has the worldwide phenomenon that is 50 SHADES OF GREY become a practically overnight sensation? It is hardly the first book featuring kinky sex to hit the marketplace, to get passed around, to have blow out book sales, to have everyone's tongues wagging.
It is the first of the digital age. It is the first completely private, far reaching book of erotica. It is the first time a private woman can go to a private bookstore with utter anonymity, ie: sitting by herself on her couch, and download a word of mouth sensation. She can read it, and be titillated by it, in private.
This is powerful. A major shift in the delivery method of the written word. I would bet that the erotic market is going to have a nice boom from this, at last. Some superbly written erotica exists already, so I hope the phenomenon continues.
I haven't read the book. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything I've heard from the book's detractors - the writing is terrible, it's just like Twilight (Hey, I LIKED Twilight), it's smut. No, I haven't read it because I don't get my jollies from S&M. Remember 9 1/2 weeks? I HATED how that went. His dominance, her submissiveness. Same thing here. I think we should all be equals. It's just me. Not saying S&M is bad, or anything, it's just not my particular kink.
But if 50 Shades of Grey gets us talking about sex, gets us in bed with our partners more, helps save a few relationships, then I'm all for it.
See Page 76. I hear that's where all the good stuff happens.