After the plane reached its cruising altitude, I fired up the iPad and dove into my book club’s current selection. I had started the novel the prior day, so knew the direction it was heading, but when I reached the potential “contract” between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, I started feeling a bit uncomfortable.
My unease was heightened by the fact that I was seated next to a very sensibly dressed elderly couple, who were eating sandwiches they had packed for the flight while rushing to finish James Michener’s Alaska before arriving in Seattle for a cruise.
So, as I read Ana’s thoughts on hard and soft limits with Mr. Grey, I was grateful that I hadn’t brought along a paperback with a tell-tale cover. However, just in case, every time my sweet seat-mate turned to look out the window, I tilted my e-reader just a little to the right.
Those who know me well will note the irony of my reading Fifty Shades of Grey. One of my college majors was literature, and most of my friends and colleagues consider me a serious reader.
And yet, in the past few years, I’ve raced through the Twilight, Hunger Games and Stieg Larsson series, so I guess that even in my rapidly advancing age, I’m capable of change – or at least flexibility. And, like millions of other middle-aged moms, I’m now reading a novel that’s widely considered “mommy porn.”
Fifty Shades of Grey is the story of a virginal, soon-to-graduate college student who strikes up a relationship with a late-20s gazillionaire, who has a taste for eroticism and contracts the sexual novice to become his “submissive” for a three-month period.
Although the book tops several New York Times best-seller lists and is being translated into 30 languages, it is not for the faint of heart or sexually reserved. In fact, it has been banned – so far – by public libraries in Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin.
And while the content is titillating, the writing is far from high brow. As Huffington Post writer Julie Gerstenblatt recently noted, “I thought it was awfully written and yet I couldn’t put it down.”
To hear more about the book, click here for this week’s PermissionSlips post. My friend and colleague and I update our blog weekly.