Sunday, July 01, 2012

Thoughts About the Fifty Shades Trilogy

When I first heard about this series, I was very confused. What's the big deal about another erotic series? There are already hundreds of excellent eroticas on the market.

But that's not what this series is.

I read the Fifty Shades trilogy recently and was blown away. The author is frickin' brilliant. I'm not talking about the writing -- which is usually what people mention when they bring up this series -- or the erotic content -- which is secondary to the larger arc -- although I will say that the editing was highly questionable. No. I'm talking about the story.

E L James took inspiration from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, the movie Pretty Woman, aspects of the In Death series by J.D. Robb and a few other hugely popular franchises, then mixed the components together with a heavy dose of one of our favorite themes: redemption through love.

I totally see why this series is popular. How could it miss after combining so many previously successful plot points?

Brilliant, I tell you. Frickin' amazing. After reading the books, I just sat there, shaking my head, wishing I'd come up with the blended idea.

As a psychotherapist, I like dark psychological tales, so this one was right up my alley. I'd categorize this series as Dark Psychological Erotic Romance. And E L scored, big-time.

After reading the books, I'm now very confused by all the writers I've heard trashing the series. I suspect envy and jealousy (I certainly feel those things!). I really think I'm lucky to be able to enjoy a story that grabs me despite editorial challenges -- to see beyond the flaws. I know not everyone chooses to do that.

As author Kristine Katherine Rusch says in a recent blog post about perfection, there is no perfect story:

What are your thoughts about this series? No author- or book-trashing please. I'll just delete your comments.


Anonymous Wendy said...

I loved all 3 books as well. I agree with you that some other writers might be jealous that they did not come up with the blending as well. I knew it was a good story that grabbed me, when I wanted there to be a fourth book.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Brenna Ash said...

Hi Lynda,
I agree with your post, editing and writing aside, I really enjoyed the overall story. I ripped through the three books in no time. I think if people ignored the editing aspects and paid attention to the actual story and how Ana and Christian grow throughout the series, they would really like it. I thought it was really good.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Roxy Boroughs said...

My husband's reading the first book right now and says he totally understands why it's popular. And now that you've recommended it too, Lynda, it's going on my Must Read list.

3:02 PM  
Blogger Tawny Stokes said...

I totally understand why its popular, just like I understand why Twilight became popular. It has nothing to do with the actual writing, but the story.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read the series yet, but I plan too. Sometimes the story is just too good and you can overlook the errors. BDSM has a lot of mystery to it and its taking main stream by storm. Just think of the doors that author.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Haysmont said...

What if you don't like dark or BDSM? I don't think I'm going to read it. I didn't read Twilight either. It's mostly a matter of what you're into, I guess.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

I did a lot of skimming through the sex, which I didn't find interesting in general. I think someone could read it if she/he isn't a fan of BDSM (like me), but not if she/he doesn't enjoy psychological shadows. That's what this whole book is about.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Jewel's Gems said...

I agree with you, Lynda:-)

11:19 AM  
Blogger Helen Scott Taylor said...

I agree with you on all points, Lynda. The erotic label is a red herring. That is not what it's about at all. Nor is it about BDSM. I shake my head every time I see a list in a magazine of other erotic titles that they are pushing with the label that if you loved 50 shades, you'll love these. They have either not read the book, or have misunderstood it. I think there's a hefty dose of Harlequin Presents type appeal in there as well.

And for Elizabeth, I don't like BDSM or dark either, but I couldn't put this series down until I'd read the last word.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Lyndi Lamont said...

Thanks, Lynda, that explains a lot. I have friends who love Twilight who liked this series, too. I probably won't read it. Not into either BDSM BDSM Twilight, mainly because I couldn't stand Bella. Loved the Kushiel's Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey, even though some of the BDSM made me cringe. Another great story but beautifully written.

I can see the appeal to the HQN Presents crowd, too, with Andrew being a rich alpha male.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Clare Austin said...

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3:22 PM  
Blogger Clare Austin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Viola Estrella said...

Hi Lynda,
I haven't read the books yet, but the way you talk about them makes me want to. :-) It's unfortunate that success is followed by jealousy and anger, especially when the source is fellow authors. In the perfect world, we'd all be patting each other on the backs. I wish that were the case more often.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would someone leave a comment if you are going to delete what you don't like anyway? I have not read the book yet, but I hear a lot about it. I would try it if I could get some honest opinions regarding the serious. I thought your blog, and comments from others would help me make that choice, but I would rather have a wide spectrum of opinions.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Anonymous: I don't delete what I don't like (I saw someone deleted their own messages). I delete (if it happens) author-bashing or book-bashing comments. This book seems to draw a lot of angry, non-discussion-type comments. Those are the ones I have no use for. All rational opinions are welcome.

11:04 AM  
Blogger KIMBERLY ALLEN said...

I love this series a lot. Thanks for sharing Lynda :) more power to you

I am kim - a child psychologist denver

6:10 AM  
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7:27 AM  
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