Deb Rachel Tackles The Hottest Series Since… Ever?

My first thought when I saw this week’s topic? Fifty Shades, of course.

If there were ever a time when hot books were all the rage, it makes sense it would be the year of the crazy heat wave. It’s almost as if Christian Grey himself brought about our 100 degree temps.

But seriously, I’m excited to have the opportunity to discuss this latest literary phenomenon. Because I am dying to understand it. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey. I enjoyed it. I did. It took me all of five days, after all. I have no regrets.

The thing is, I don’t quite get the ‘why’ behind the hoopla. It’s not like there have never before been erotic novels. Anastasia Steele is not the first heroine to get caught up in hot, mind-blowing sex. (I keep thinking of that scene in A League of Their Own when Madonna’s character is teaching her teammate to read from a romance novel and she’s sounding out “milky white bre… breasts.”)

But it’s the first erotic novel I’ve read. It’s the first for legions of women. And I just keep wondering, why this one?

I asked a friend who manages a bookstore and she said it’s the S&M of it all. “Sure there are other romance novels. But those are all bodice-ripping sex. This is bondage sex.”

One of the women in my book club (Yes! We read it in book club! Want to get to know the fellow members of your group better? Read a sex book) posited that at their core, most women want to save a man the way Ana saves Christian.

E.L. James told Today that many women just want to be dominated. “Once you’re in charge of your job, your house, your children, getting the food on the table, doing all of this, all of the time, it’d be nice for someone else to be in charge for a bit maybe,” she said.

I don’t have an answer, clearly. I just know that whatever the reason, Fifty Shades is getting women everywhere all hot and bothered.

What do you think? Why are the Fifty Shades books such a hot commodity?

11 Replies to “Deb Rachel Tackles The Hottest Series Since… Ever?”

  1. I should start by saying I’ve only read an excerpt…. that said, I’m clueless but really trying to figure it out, too. It’s such a fascinating phenomenon, maybe along the same lines as zombies and fantasy — that life is so complicated and stressful these days, we really want something to take us away. Have you read the book ON THE ISLAND that was a self-pub success story (to put it very mildly)? Not erotica but perhaps popular for the same reason — escapism? Otherwise is the S&M an exageration of women just wanting to be taken care of after doing so much? As a writer, I’d love to figure it out 🙂

  2. I think you’re definitely right, Julia, that is has something to do with escapism. And wanting to be taken care of. And yes, from a writer’s standpoint it’s especially curious — what do the people want? Do we all need to write about riding crops to sell books (I’m thinking not…) I’ve never heard of On The Island — I’ll have to look into it. So fascinating…

  3. Not sure what starts a phenomenon like this, precisely, but once it reaches critical mass it has a life of its own. It snowballs — everyone wants to read it because everyone else seems to be reading it. Even those who might not have been inclined to read it at first might buy it just to see what the big deal is.

  4. Rachel, you make the point I have always made about this book–it’s not like this is the first book of its kind to come along–so why this one? Who can know, right? But it is SUCH a phenomenon. Yeesh!!

  5. I am half why through the first book and I don’t understand all the hoopla. I had decided that I was going to skim through the rest, say I read the book and eliminate the need to read the second and third book. But I meant someone this weekend that said I should reconsider, look beyond the sex. She explains there is a story behind Ana, she doesn’t fully succumb to Christain Grey, but ultimately stands her ground. I’m not sure this is the case, but she convinced me to finish the book. I’ll then decide if I want to read two and three, at this moment, I don’t think so.

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  7. The answers are FOOD FUN. 1) You can ask a total snartger, Hey do you know of any good places to eat around here? I’m sure they will ask what kind of food you like and there goes a convo about good food and you can take it a step further and ask if that person might wanna meet there some time to hang out. 2) Fun. I don’t really know this neighborhood where to ppl usually hang out. Now while these are helpful hint, please be careful who you start a convo with, not everyone is a friendly as they may look. Be selective and be smart.

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