When a friend told me about this book, the first question I had for her was, “Does it have teenage vampires in it?” Her response was no, but it takes place in the state of Washington. Suddenly, I saw shades of Twilight. (Sorry, could not resist that one.)
Later I learned that the author, E.L. James, was inspired by the Twilight series to conjure up her own fantasy of “paranormal” true love.
With the summer reading season at full throttle, there is evidence everywhere that the novel is the “it” book for a beach vacation. At CostCo, I noticed a giant display of the paperback next to the oversized beach towels and Speedo bathing suits.
I conducted a highly technical survey to find out who is reading this lusty tale. Most of my Facebook friends who have read it are twenty or thirty something. The lads who delivered my new bookcase said their girl friends are reading it but their mothers wouldn’t approve if they read it. The telemarketer who called to sell me timeshare said she had never heard of the book. I decided not to ask my mother-in-law, a life time book club member, if she was familiar with the much publicized erotica.
To date, Amazon readers have posted around seven thousand reviews. As you will see from the votes, it is almost a fifty-fifty split between the “love, love, love it” crowd and everybody else.
Sampling a few of the one star voter comments, most of the criticisms are about form and style. After expounding the many reasons why the book is a stinker, one reviewer comments that his only regret is that he didn’t write it. I’m sure Ms. James is glad of this, too.
One five star reviewer caught my eye. She confesses that she has never been a book reader, but this one changed her life. Which makes me wonder, should we pass judgment on a book if the story is compelling and the characters create empathy among the readers? Isn’t that what fiction writing is all about?
It’s apparent that the reading community is excited about Ms. James’ story of fantasy and romance. The media applauds Ms. James for her courage to pursue her dreams of writing.
This Common Reader is just happy that another writer who motivates people to pick up a book and read has emerged.