There has recently been a cultural phenomenon. You would think that something that has become so popular would be the peak of its genre. You would think that it would be worth all the fuss. I’m sure you have an inkling of what I’m talking about. I wasn’t going to blog about it, but an article I read on Wednesday has spurred me into action. I shall not remain silent.
Fifty Shades of Grey has just overtaken the amazon booksales of the Harry Potter series in the UK. I feel sick. I am really quite disgusted at humanity – and that’s something I don’t like saying, as I’m generally pretty optimistic. But this pushed me over the edge.
I’m not even going to dwell on the fact that it’s just Twilight fan fiction with the names changed. That’s a whole other complaint. Some of you who’ve read other posts in this blog will be aware that I am … disdainful … of Twilight, although I do admit that I have read the books and at the time – I was sixteen – I did like them. Not for a few years though!
I haven’t actually read Fifty Shades: I don’t want to torture my brain. But my Mum read it for her book group (wow, that’s not the average choice for them…!) and said it was appalling. Misogynistic, badly written, and with little depth to the characters, it is something I don’t want to touch with a pointed stick. But there’s obviously something about it that millions of women love. When I was on work experience, all the women in my office were reading it; when I was on holiday I saw a disgusting amount of copies.
We all know what that one thing is: sex. Sex sells. There is none in Harry Potter, and yet that series is the most successful of all time. That just shows how much more talent JK Rowling has than EL James. EL James, author of Fifty Shades, can obviously tell that all you need in a bestseller is a shitload of sex, with a little plot squished into the sides. Not what I call worthy of an Amazon bestseller.
But the frustrating thing is that people keep buying the bloody things! It’s not only the author I must blame: it’s the people. I don’t want to insult their intelligence, but there are so many better books out there – some of which probably have as much sex in as Fifty Shades – which deserve to be read. But people are just falling for media manipulation, and they can’t see it! I feel like I’m standing on the other side of a pane of glass, trying to get people to stop reading and pick up some Jane Austen, but no one will listen!! I had a rant about it on Facebook and an overwhelming amount of people agreed with me. I’m by no means the only one. So why don’t all the people who actually care about maintaining high standards of writing do something? Don’t ask me what – I think storming Number Ten might be a little over-dramatic and completely irrelevant… But what can we do??
I just googled “I hate bad writing”, and the covers of Fifty Shades and Twilight came up. Just saying.