When I picked up ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ last month, I had no clue what it entailed. After reading about first 20 pages in the bookstore, the first impression was: This is no piece of literature but I have to know what will happen to Anastasia and Christian. I had no clue what BDSM meant in my goodie two shoes life.
I had read too many serious things in past few months and wanted something relaxing, something to read on the beach and forgot about the book till I was facing three days of being in airports or on the road last week. By the third day, I had already finished first two books (urgently downloaded the other two books of the trilogy on Kindle) and continued reading on the fourth day till it was all over.
The truth is, though I’m a fast reader, reading more than 1500 pages within four days isn’t something easy to do. My secret: skip over the repeating sex scenes and it boils down to about 600 pages. Some sauciness is marred by the bland language of the writer whose word bank is limited.
As a hardcore literature student and a feminist, I shouldn’t be caught admitting that I’ve read Fifty Shades but not reading it on principle would mean missing out on knowing what exactly is the hoopla about. And trust me, all those giving opinions don’t know how Anastasia struggles with the domination and brings the man out in the real world. She is no exemplary woman, nor does she have any depth but then she is no literary heroine. She just dances on the graves of Tess of D’urbervilles and Jane Eyre.
Christian Grey too is a CEO version of Edward Cullen (literally, as these Fifty Shades books were written and became popular online as fan fiction for Twilight before they were published as a new trilogy. Interesting how fan fiction doesn’t just have life of its own but has reached mainstream.)
If success of books were merely dependent on quality of their prose and content, we wouldn’t have so many best sellers flocking the shelves. Success of Fifty Shades has come out of its ability to break barriers without much substance. It appeals to women who aren’t shy, don’t hide behind innuendos, and use elaborate profanities. The success of Fifty Shades belongs to the uninhibited women. If the world can love a Bridesmaids, then why not this.
Mind you, I’m not defending it. Fifty Shades is highly offensive to womankind. But it also works like reverse psychology. It makes a woman think of what she must not tolerate. I wanted to find something positive about it and feel that I hadn’t wasted my time.
Just before a generation (and even now in some cases), wives needed to be ‘submissive’ and ‘agreeable’ in India. Wonder how many unattractive and poor Christian Greys roam the streets these days. I just hope Ekta Kapoor doesn’t make a Fifty Shades of Ram Kapoor.
Despite no literary merits, it brings out a lot of issues out in the open and one of them is, why does imagination seem to be dying a slow death?
It is the kind of book that too many will read and won’t admit to it.
Be ready for Christian Grey, he is going to take over the pop psyche till something more appetizing comes along.