In the third book of the best-selling trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey, the word “gasp” is used more than 70 times. At least that’s what I’ve heard.
I haven’t actually read it yet I’m afraid, nor am I likely to. Before all the Fifty Shades hysteria started I was sent a copy of the first book by a friend who thought that I’d be “really into this”.
I was due to head off on a foreign trip sans husband or family and she thought a good dose of Mr Grey would cheer up my days – and nights I presume – no end.
Dear reader, what can I say? I certainly gasped. But not because I was entranced by the antics of Anastasia and Christian Grey. No, I found myself sighing, rolling my eyes to heaven and eventually, flinging my Kindle half-way across the room and wondering what on earth had all those years of women’s lib been for?
I won’t go on about the fact that the writing is atrocious, except to say that I’ve read better in The Bunty. Nor will I say that I am “against this sort of thing” – because if you really want to read sadomasochistic literature I’d suggest the Marquis de Sade.
If you haven’t managed to get around to reading the book the premise is that Anastasia, an introverted doormat of a woman with abandonment issues, becomes a sexual submissive to Christian Grey, a rich, super-powered, sexy looking businessman.
He makes her sign a contract which ensures he has complete control over everything she does and thinks.
Why, in the name of the Goddess would any self-respecting 21st century woman find this romantic? And yet millions have – at the last count over 100 million copies had been sold – and you can bet that with the film due to be released next week, this could quite possibly double.
It is now the best selling book of all time, translated into 51 different languages. Women who read it can visualise themselves being with hunky Christian but, being stronger characters than wimpy Anastasia, they would be able to sort him out and make him ‘come good’, just like in a fairy-tale.
Of course this is all nonsense – types like the control-freak Mr Grey need to be avoided like Ebola. Women have spent centuries trying to get out of precisely this sort of a marriage, where the man controls everything and the little woman just does what she’s told.
Seemingly – according to friends of mine who know about these things – these books are not about anything as exciting as BDSM, but just run-of-the-mill male abuse of a woman. If women love it I hope that’s because for most of them it is pure fiction and nothing near their reality.
And so I won’t be rushing to finish the series, although I may go to see the film. Why? Two reasons. Jamie. Dornan. Gasp!