Every now and then I make the mistake of trying to explain my reading/reviewing hobby to a friend or acquaintance who rarely or never reads for pleasure.
"I read romance and fantasy."
"Oh, like Fifty Shades?"
No. Not like Fifty Shades of Grey. Not at all. I read good books.
The truth is that I did skim through this infamous novel in an attempt to determine if it was worth reviewing, even just for comedic purposes, and I just couldn't work up the motivation. The writing is bad. And I don't mean so bad it's funny, I just mean bad. If there's one thing I've learned from reviewing, it's that the best seller list is a lousy indication of quality.
Now, I know there are readers out there for whom Fifty Shades of Grey is their favorite novel. Someone out there, somewhere, uses this book as the bench mark for comparing all books. I know, because this book is a best seller that has a movie deal. I don't understand why. I assume it goes back to the idea that books (and movies, and so forth), can be deeply flawed and yet still have some mysterious quality that captivates you on a deep, visceral level.
It also seems like a lot of people who have picked up Fifty Shades and loved it were experiencing erotica for the first time. I talked to one older lady that said she, "Can't believe the things people are writing these days." As though BDSM erotica is brand new. I once tracked down a copy of the third book for a wife who claimed that they had "livened things up quite a bit!" Good for you, lady. Novelty can be a powerful thing.
For me erotic romance is old news, so this doesn't impress me. It's similar to the reason Twilight itself didn't work for me--I'd been reading PNR for years by the time it came to my attention so...meh.
So that's why I won't be reviewing Fifty Shades during Romance month, despite the fact that it falls well within the genre and is very popular. Besides, what could I say about it that hasn't already been said by better reviewers than myself?
That said, if you read it and enjoyed it and having nothing but good things to say about it? That's cool. Feel free to tell us about it in the comment box. Happy Reading!