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Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey Paperback – November 20, 2012

3.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fascinating examination of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy … Love Fifty Shades or hate it, this engaging and eclectic read has a little bit of something for everyone."
Publishers Weekly starred review

"Food for thought for readers eager to learn more about the series and the lifestyle it depicts."
Kirkus Reviews

"Written by some of my heroes in the industry, including Judith Regan, M.J. Rose, Heather Graham, Sylvia Day and forty-six others, it offers a way to understand [Fifty Shades'] popularity and appreciate its impact."
ForeWord Reviews staff pick

"For fans of the trilogy and readers who enjoy erotica and erotic romance novels, and for those interested in pop culture."
Library Journal

About the Author

Lori Perkins is a founder and former editorial director of erotica e-publisher Ravenous Romance, and has been a literary agent for 20 years. She is the author of The Insider's Guide to Getting an Agent (Writers Digest Books), and has edited 20 erotica anthologies and more than 100 erotic novels, as well as published erotica under a pseudonym.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Smart Pop Books (November 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937856429
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937856427
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,556,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As an author of erotica, I admit that my first response to the phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey was envy. Not necessarily, "Why her and not me?" More along the lines of, "Why her and not one of us?" Because, believe it or not, erotica authors existed before E.L. James and her fanfic of Stephanie Myers Twilight Series gobsmacked the world and created a niche even more irritating than "chicklit." That niche is "mommyporn."

I read Fifty Shades of Grey It's the story of a naïve virgin who falls helplessly in love with a young, gorgeous, billionaire who somewhat inexplicably falls equally hard for her. But he's a Dominant and she isn't particularly attracted to the world of BDSM. She's just attracted to him. Christian Grey needs to Dominate because he was abused as a child, first by his crack whore Mom and then by an adult female friend of his adoptive Mother. Anastasia Steele is compelled to submit to punishment because she's in love with Christian and his kink is Sadomasochism. He gives her hope, by deflowering her with vanilla sex, but he takes it away again by revealing that his desire is only ever truly slaked when he inflicts pain on his partner.

Here we have two situations that are considered no-no's in the world of erotica publishing. BDSM can be used to heal victims of abuse but it isn't (shall I say "wasn't"?) a popular plot line with editors. Similarly editors, in the main, prefer their submissive protagonists to be, if not eager, at least "horrified but thrilled" and not just plain horrified.

Finally, all the editors I've ever worked with like to buy well-written erotica, and Fifty Shades of Grey is not very well written.
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I am no fan of “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Infamously awful writing aside, Anastasia’s a shallow, naïve, airheaded pushover, and Christian’s an unregenerate sicko. Indeed, these books sell a fantasy in which codependency, sadism and psychopathy are equated with romance. Translated into real life, such a relationship would be little more than a recipe for perpetual misery, dysfunction and abuse.

But even as much as I despise these books, I am interested in the ideas they have inspired. In spite of the execrable writing, the banal, jejune characterizations, the idiotic pop-psychology, and the ignorant misrepresentations of BDSM, the trilogy has inspired a good deal of highly intelligent discourse, and this superb, engaging collection of essays, “Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey”, offers a rich banquet of food for thought, some exceptionally fine, palate-cleansing writing, and many hours of reading pleasure.

To be honest, I have to say that some of my enjoyment was rooted in Schadenfreude. I most relished those pieces that supported or reinforced my own prejudices—the ones that put James and her trio of best-sellers down the hardest. And yet, I found a great deal of intellectual stimulation and even inspiration in many of the “pro-FSG” essays. There is a broad range of point-of-view, opinion, and style represented here, from scholarly monograph and high-brow criticism, to unapologetically treacley fan-girl fawning, and gossamer adulatory fluff. Fortunately, most writers have staked out an agreeably literate middle ground.

What all the contributors here seem to agree on is that Fifty Shades has become a “game changer” both for publishers and readers, though what this contagious little meme actually conveys is not always clear.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I received my copy from Smart Pop Books through NetGalley

Divided into six sections this book analyses the Fifty Shades of Grey books and phenomena from every conceivable angle. The literary merits and quality of the writing are discussed; the book is compared to and given its place in a long history of romantic and erotic literature; publishers comment on the randomness of the success this book achieved. Lawyers evaluate the content and the value of the contract Christian Grey wants Ana to sign and people who live the lifestyle comment on the way their BDSM relationship is described and Christian's mastery. Feminists tell us why these books are bad for the cause while other women tell us how and why these books empower us. I know I'm forgetting angles here, but I'm fairly sure that this book didn't leave a single one out.

To be honest, I was more interested in the factual analysis of the book than I was in the literary one. As far as the pro's and cons of the story, the way it is told, originality and literary merit are concerned, the authors in this book didn't say a lot, if anything, that I haven't said, thought or written myself (although it is of course always gratifying to see "professionals" agreeing with what you thought was an "amateur's" point of view).
I was far more fascinated with the things I learned about contracts, the thoughts and opinions of those involved in the BDSM life-style and discovering how fanfiction actually works.

Did I find a lot of new opinions in this book? Well no, I didn't. I found all the pro and con arguments I have read many times before again in these pages. But, it was nice to have them all together if only because it felt like taking part in a balanced debate.
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