greyEvery once in a while, a book will pop out of nowhere and get all kinds of mega media attention.  Usually, this is limited to Nicholas Sparks’ novels in which the heroine (and sometimes the hero) usually dies, but this time out it’s linked to a novel that is, unmistakably, a romance.  With an HEA and everything.

I’ve read the book – the first two, in fact – and, excuse me, if I just don’t see what the Big Deal is all about.  Fifty Shades of Grey flirts with BDSM, but isn’t really, since the focus is on how “wrong” the hero is for his obsession and it seems to me as if the BDSM lifestyle is diminished increasingly throughout the first two books.  I haven’t read the last one, yet, but I’d be pretty damn surprised if a BDSM-lite HEA isn’t involved.

Now, for the eleventy-seventh time, I’m not knocking BDSM, but it’s just not my thing, okay? But the BDSM in this book is of the ultra mild variety so, if any of the masses out there are reading it for their secret BDSM thrill, the truth is there really have to be books out there that can more effectively satisfy that desire.

So, why the Big Deal?  From the Today show to Dr. Drew, the book is getting the kind of press a publicist could only dream about.  And more.  Honestly, I don’t get it.  As far as BDSM goes, there has to be better out there.  As far as romance goes, I know there’s better out there.  The only explanation I can come up with is that the author just happened upon one of those cultural moments where her book just hit.

So, I can’t join the tsk tskers as Dr. Drew did on the Today show on Monday. I wouldn’t want anyone under 18 to read it, but for responsible adults, hello, what’s the problem? I also can’t join the fan club.  I thought the book was largely okay – far from the best I’d ever read and far from the worst, too.  As for the BDSM message, it seemed to me that it was all about the hero being too damaged to love so he sets up these contracts with a series of women.  How the heroine goes from potential contractee to lover is the gist of the story.

See, it’s a romance novel.  A flawed, not very good one, but that’s what it is.  The absurdly young billionaire and the naive, young college student.  Just like a million HPs.

As for the fanfic aspects of the story, I honestly didn’t really see the connection to Twilight beyond some superficialities.  The author clearly wrote her own story and it’s hers to sell to the movies or wherever she might like.

So, what did you think?  Did you read it?  Are you as puzzled as I am by all the attention?

– Sandy AAR

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