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“Twilight for the Boudoir”

I’m not ashamed to admit that I loved 50 Shades of Grey.

Sure, I laughed to my husband about the terrible prose and ridiculous characters.  And then I waited till he fell asleep to read the next chapter.  I complained to my girlfriends about the heroine’s “Inner Goddess.”  And then I picked it back up on the sly and kept right on reading.  In fact, for two weeks of my life that I’ll never get back, I utterly neglected the “TBR” pile on my nightstand, ignored my book club’s current book, stopped reading about project management for work, and kept leafing through 50 Shades of Grey to find out what new, um, entanglements Ana and Christian would find themselves in for the evening.

In case you’ve missed all the buzz, let me fill you in.  50 Shades of Grey is a juicy little piece of erotica that’s been cropping up all over popular culture lately, from Good Morning America and The View to the New York Times bestseller list.  It’s Twilight for the boudoir — gorgeous but insecure young woman falls for impossibly handsome, brooding gazillionaire.  But instead of fangs, this guy’s got handcuffs, a dungeon, and a 10 page NDA contract he makes all his girlfriends sign.

The fun thing about 50 Shades of Grey is that it is so “girl next door.”  It’s such a far cry from old school erotic classics like The Story of O, Venus in Furs, or Story of the Eye, but that’s kind of what makes it so fun.  Anastasia isn’t some new wave French girl or a 19th century German dominatrix, but a 21st century American woman who could be your college roommate.  She grapples with the modern woman’s dilemma of wanting to have her cake and eat it, too — she wants a strong, sexy guy to protect her and take control, but she wants him to do his half of the housework, too.

And the thing is, it works.  If you can make it through the first six chapters, which are a little dull, the heat turns way up and Ana and Christian become blank canvases for all your little daydreams.  The plot is sorta vanilla, but the romantic scenes between our heroes rank at roughly 65,000 on the Scoville scale.  Dr. Oz has said it’s helping women save their relationships.  Sherri Shepherd from The View can’t get enough of it.  And even Kristin Wiig has made the case for why anyone who likes a little heat in their fiction might not want to miss 50 Shades of Grey.

The only thing that drove me crazy is that the story ends on a complete cliffhanger.  But not to worry, gals and guys — we’ve got the second and third books in the series, too.   –Rachel, Adult Progams

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