The first thing I think you need to know in all of this is that I borrowed a copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey from my mother. That’s right, to get this review under way, I wanted to first read the actual book before reading essays on the book, so I asked my mother if I could borrow her precious copy. Yes, my mother is a diehard fan of 50 Shades, and while she raised a super sex-positive, academic pervert, I would not classify my mother as especially open about these things. In fact, she as a motherly and suburban as they get, which is totally fine, and also the demographic that gone completely wild for these books. And she is no exception.
I’ll be the first person to admit that I was hesitant to read 50 Shades. As much as I have been known to enjoy a vapid love story (*cough, cough Twilight), I had heard many reviews from friends that the negotiation was iffy, the sex unbelievable and the main female character a little too passive. I wasn’t planning to bother with it, but once Fifty Writers On Fifty Shades of Grey graced my desk, I knew I’d have to get in on the hype.
Now, I realize that this is not a review of 50 Shades of Grey, so I will keep my comments brief. All I will say is that I have mixed feelings. I love me some power exchanges and am a big fan of dirty writing, so I did enjoy some of the sexy parts, but I was not impressed with the ways that kink was pathologized, how negotiation was represented, the unrealistic expectations and the incredibly irritating avoidance of the word “vagina” – in any form (seriously people, I cannot STAND the phrase “apex of my thigh”). Anyway, this review isn’t about how I feel about 50 Shades – it’s about how other people feel about it… Fifty other people… Fifty specific people… Fifty writers.
Yep, Fifty Writers On Fifty Shades of Grey snatches this super popular smutty novel from the clutches of horny women everywhere and lays it out on the table to be dissected by all different types of writers. From sex educators and erotic writers, to lawyers and PhDs – everyone gets a turn at giving their point of view. To get it all in, editor Lori Perkins breaks the book down into seven different sections, including Fifty Shades of Writing, Fifty Shades of Romance, Fifty Shades of BDSM, Fifty Shades of Pop Culture and more. Each section offers up a variety of perspectives on the subjects at hand – be it erotic writing, kink, the popularity of the book, etc.
While I really enjoy delving deeper into how 50 Shades has changed the erotic writing niche, and taking a closer look at the ways the book has morphed into an instruction manual on greater pleasure for some women, I have to admit that my favorite essay in this collection is Laura Antoniou’s “Fifty Shades of Holy Crap!”. It truly is a perfect satire of the series. Antoniou hits on all of the elements of the story in a light and teasing way, but actually gets to the point of the ridiculousness of some of the book.
Also mixed in with the academic, intellectual, and funny essays are a few pieces that offer up the same erotic thrill that 50 Shades brings to the table. “The Collar of Blue Stones” by Pamela Madsen is super sexy and sensual, yet somehow still stays on point talking about the book. Oh man do I love me some pervy smartypants! And with this book you get fifty of em!
As an added treat, not only are we reviewing the book, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, we had the good fortune of nabbing interviews with a few of the book’s writers – Marci Hirsch, Midori and Rachel Kenley. Keep an eye out for their 20 questions coming soon!
Satiate your desires with Fifty Writers On Fifty Shades of Grey!