The Hook Turns Fifty Shades of Red!

As a blogger/would-be bestselling author, I find myself paying close attention to the hottest titles burning up the literary charts these days.

And of course, right now the hottest of the hot is the Fifty Shades of Grey series. Let’s face it, these “stories” are nothing more than one woman’s masturbation sessions transcribed to print and cyberspace. That having been said, all three books are selling like crazy – to say the least – simultaneously, no less!

Fifty Shades of Grey began as a Twilight fan fiction piece, but sensing its potential, the author – and “Mommy Porn” addict in question – E.L. James (her real name is Erika Leonard) decided to revamp her work and produce a tale of two horny, damaged, human lovers. From the author’s website: “When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

 Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.”

Leonard is right about one thing: millions of desperate housewives are obsessed by her work, and despite a public outcry  – Grey has been removed from library shelves in four Florida counties, one Georgia county outside of Atlanta, and  Gwinnett County, Georgia, as well as certain libraries in Wisconsin – millions of women have declared the series  “romantic” and “beautifully-written”.

Which women, you ask? For that matter, you’re probably wondering just what this erotic fiction series has to do with a bellman’s exploits, right? Well, I’ll tell you; I’ve encountered more than one horny housewife with a copy sticking out of her bag recently and they all ask me the same thing, “Do you have a wife? Has she read this series? It touched my heart!”

I’ll say this; its not women’s hearts that are being touched by this series….

I’ve tried to avoid engaging in any prolonged conversations with my guests where this novel is concerned. Nothing good would come of that, I think. There  is one irrefutable truth that I am more than willing to speak, though.

If this series had been written by a man, all hell would be breaking loose right now. Period.

When men read  – or view – porn, they are labeled “vulgar”, “disgusting” and “sick” by women. But when a woman publishes her fantasies about being dominated and degraded, she is lauded by her gender and the result is a publishing phenomenon.

I was expressing this very point to a colleague recently when the phone rang at the Bell Desk. I can only assume what follows was inspired – on a subconscious level of course – by our discussion of what constitutes romance these days…

THE HOOK: Hello, Bell Desk. How may I love you?

  • Tears began to well up in my colleague’s eyes.
  • My face froze in an expression formed by a mixture of horror and disbelief.
  • I moved the phone away from my face; terrified of the conversation that awaited me and the explanation I’d have to conjure up.

Fortunately, Fate was on my side – for once – and the voice on the other end belonged to a GSA (guest service agent) who was so engaged in an issue with an unruly couple that she honestly hadn’t heard my amorous declaration. She did, however, press the issue, so I had little choice but to come clean. She found the humor in the situation – turns out a few of the gals were discussing the Grey series that very morning – and sent me off to deal with her unruly guests and help them switch rooms.

In most hostile guest negotiations a third party will find the guest receptive to their presence. Sure enough, these folks were warm and friendly; especially the wife. As we made our way to their new suite, a certain book returned to haunt me.

CHATTY WIFE: (Holding a copy of Fifty Shades Freed) Have you heard of these books? They’re so romantic…

My lingering embarrassment disappeared and frustration set back in. It was time to put on my game face.

Niagara Falls Comic-Con 2012

June 9. 2012 10 A.M – 7 P.M.
Scotiabank Convention Centre
Niagara Falls. Ontario. Canada

For full details, click here, fan boys and girls!

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About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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52 Responses to The Hook Turns Fifty Shades of Red!

  1. Woman says:

    “But when a woman publishes her fantasies about being dominated and degraded, she is lauded by her gender and the result is a publishing phenomenon.”

    Not quite so.

    I’ve not read these books, and to be hones, I’ve no real intention of doing so.

    I write erotica and my entire blog is dedicated to female masturbation, fantasy, erotica and life in China (too lazy to have another blog for that) and one of the main reasons I am having a tough time of getting published is because there is not enough BDSM or rather yet dominance and submission in my work. And because I refuse to bring someone submitting to another into my work. I like an edge to my erotica, but not what it seems the public is wanting.

    What I hate about society is that they go on and on and on about women embracing their sexuality, and I do. Yet, the only thing that is published is dominance and submission. I hate how I am told that I should be happy that these books are being published because that will open the door for works such as mine, yet I don’t do nor will I write about BDSM.

    I am actually quite put out regarding these books as not every woman wants to be degraded nor dominated. From time to time… sure, but not as a the basis of everything.

    I’m also quite put out as yes I agree with you Mister The Hook, if a man were to write this, he’d be torched in the city centre as a neanderthal. Seems equality is only something women are allowed to scream for. And that makes me red in the face.

    Good post.

    • The Hook says:

      As usual, Woman, you bring something of value to the table! Thank you for opening up about your own publishing experiences/struggles. If I am ever in a position to assist you, I most certainly will.

      • Woman says:

        I love erotica and I would love to see the kind of erotica I love to read published. But I don’t think that will happen for a long long long time. Simply because, there is no market for it.

        Thank-you Mister The Hook!!! And it’s all good!!! I write, I may not get paid for what I write, but at least what I write gets read and that is enough!!! I have ditties in books and magazines so I have hope that maybe….. maybe….

        And I cannot wait to try to get a copy of your works in my hands one day!!!

      • The Hook says:

        I hope that happens soon!

    • Well said! I think I will head over and check out your blog! Life in China, that must be interesting! 😉

  2. mumchic says:

    Oh you are so so so SO right! As an aspiring writer, EL James’ work puts me to shame – pun very much intended. I mean what were arrow books thinking? Sure enough, the story starts off interesting..suave,rich, elusive bachelor enamored by a young, petite rough diamond.What girl does not want to be swept off by the likes of Christian Grey? So James does play a bit into the typical want-to-be-loved side of the female psyche but past page 90 something, I had to stop reading. It didn’t help that I was on the bus at the time and felt my cheeks flushing in embarrassment at what I was reading. I found myself wondering if the guy sitting next to me had snuck a little glance at what was making me so uncomfortable.
    The writing is redundant and almost predictable.And after a little while you realise, your intellect is above this crap. Having said that, I can see why the book has gone viral.Apparently, reading a NYT bestseller, no matter how much of it is just porn, is legit.
    Thanks Hook , glad i’m not the only one who is going fifty shades of red !

  3. Michael says:

    This just confirms my theory that nothing good can come from Twilight.

  4. susielindau says:

    No one from my book club liked it. My daughter read the first one and liked it, but put down the second in the series because it was too repetitive…..

  5. Cameron says:

    Whatever your feelings are on erotica, romance, etc., what I’ve read of 50 Shades is just bad writing: immature, poorly edited, uncritiqued writing. Bah.

    I also read a really interesting review that suggests that James knows little about the actual BDSM community and practice from an emotional POV, and is portraying it in a potentially dangerous and damaging light for people who might be interested in incorporating it into their lifestyle.

    Want some nummy erotica that reads like actual literature? There are lots out there. Spare me the juvenile cliches.

    Not that I have an opinion, mind you 😉

  6. Tracy says:

    I always love the titles of your post! I haven’t read this series yet, but I have gotten a bunch of requests to join reading circles for it. I’m afraid they’ll turn into Vagina and Me classes.
    As an aspiring writer, I used to get really angry when an author with no talent was getting a ton of publicity for no reason (i.e. Twilight – I think she stole my journals from 7th grade). But now I see that at least it gets people talking about books and excited to share them with their friends. And then you start to hear, “well if you liked this book you have to read this book.” It’s the trickle down theory for literature.
    And you never know, someone might say, if you liked shades of gray, you have to read the sexy, erotic tales of the Hook.

  7. ridafatima says:

    i just stopped at the 10th word of 4th sentence and then……………………………………………………… 🙂

  8. Whatever turns you on….! Haven’t read the series nor will I (I’m not much of a reader)… However; I know it is true that the thought of a charming and wonderful lover has brought many real life situations to a point of personal erotica, and has unleashed uninhibited passion. One’s imagination is a sure bet singular ‘button’ of the deepest personal conquest of joy (or, at least, it can be).
    Sounds like there are a lot of unfulfilled, love (or sex) starved woman in the world. If this series allows them to enjoy life a little more, or to feel more womanly, or to gain sexual satisfaction, or to learn more about the sexual act, then so be it…. Each to his own… c’est la vie…. And, my dear Hook, I do agree with you: Should such a book be written by a male, t’would be a very different outcome… Oh well, that’s the human condition!
    THE HOOK: Hello, Bell Desk. How may I love you?
    I would have loved to be the one on the other end of that phone exchange…. Now, what would I have answered?

  9. I opened up the book, read a few sentences and dismissed it as a Harlequin Romance with sex thrown in.. I have nothing against sexuality being a well-written part of a book, movie, etc, but the amateurish nature of that book just bored me… You’re so fun.. “How may I love you?” “Let me count the ways..”

  10. Where have I been? I’ve heard the titles but thought the title sounded so bland I’ve never bothered with them. Now, I’m quite partial to a Twilight or a rom com, but badly written fiction I can not stomach! If Smidge didn’t think it was decent, then I’ll give it a miss. Though, the good thing about having a kindle is no one can tell what I’m reading 😉

  11. Jo Bryant says:

    What is wrong with sex that is great, makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you equally enjoy the pleasure and the exquisite knife-like edge you ride to reach that pinnacle ? I will never understand the need to take pleasure in to pain territory. Not that i have a problem with those that do – different strokes (hehehe…pun intended) and all that. I have not read these books but going on what I have read of people who have, I think I will give them a miss.

  12. Haven’t read them, but then I’m not a horny housewife. I don’t like reading stuff about being degraded. And you’re dead right, we can’t preach about porn and then get stuck into our own! (although I guess you could say any written porn doesn’t involve the cooperation/exploitation of anybody other than the author).

  13. Oh the moment i read what you asked/offered on the phone i forgot about the book..Oh no I wish someone would have heard it specially the lady with the sure she would have stalked you after that 😆

  14. Yeah I’ve avoided reading these books which is unlike me, as I was sucked right into Twilight but this story just doesn’t appeal and I’ve heard the writing is pretty poor. The thing is she’s gonna make millions from them – sigh. And it’s going to be a film apparently …

  15. raisingdaisy says:

    LOL and OMG!! That’s just too funny! Just think if it had been one of those frustrated housewives on the phone, who just happened to be reading that book – she may have thought your hotel opened a new service! 😉

    That book doesn’t appeal to me in the least. I think sub-par writers rely on shock value and controversial subject matter to get themselves into the limelight and make millions. You’re right – if it had been a male author, the books would have been exclusively sold in adult fantasy stores and he’d have been labeled a pervert. Crazy societies we live in, don’t you think?

  16. I’m not quite done Fifty Shades of Grey, and I won’t be buying any more of them. I heard they were sooo good, and had to see what the fuss was about but um, no. The story is fine (although a bit unbelievable – a virgin has sex for the first time and has 3 orgasms? Not likely), it’s the writing that annoys the crap out of me. I swear when I’m done it, I’m going to go through the book with a highlighter and report on how many times she mentions someone’s breath hitching. I’m not kidding – she repeats the same things over and over. I’m over it already.

    I’ve been exposed to some really good erotica in my life, and this doesn’t even come close. It’s fine for the ordinary housewife but we know I’m far from ordinary so I personally need something a bit more creative.

  17. Val says:

    I haven’t read these books or even heard about them till now! Dear Hook, if they turn up in the house, should I be happy or worried?

  18. Hate commenting on books I haven’t written, and I get seriously annoyed at people who criticize best-sellers as “terrible” and people who like them as “idiots with no taste.” When something sells well, I like to know what the fuss is about, and even if I don’t care for it personally, I try to see why millions of others like it. I don’t think I’ll be picking up this series, though, as these days I don’t read anything I wouldn’t want my 14-year-old to read, but I am curious about the psychology of people who are so into erotica. And I’m wondering if commenter Cameron is correct and that BDSM is incorrectly portrayed… that would be obnoxious. So I may have to sneak into our local Chapters and sit down in a secluded corner… 😉

    • The Hook says:

      I’m sure there are some redeeming qualities to these books – they’ve sold millions, after all – but I just don’t “get” them. But then again, I’m not the target demographic, am I?
      Have fun with your “research”..

  19. Books I haven’t READ. Haven’t READ. I shouldn’t leave comments before noon!

  20. mamaji says:

    my ex wife read these books, and loved it.

    she told me to read it.

    i didnt, as i was done with doing what she told me too.

    but yes, the whole world is reading it, and they are best sellers. I may have a read to see what the fuss is about.

  21. mumchic says:

    Hookey !! I have nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award (although I know you don’t qualify the beautiful category but you are still one of my favourites!). To accept this award, you are asked to thank and link to your nominator, display the award badge on your site and nominate 6 other blogs for the award. See my post

  22. xdanigirl says:

    I found the first book on iTunes before they became crazy popular and it was free. The reviews were so bad, however, that I didn’t bother getting it. The next time I saw the book it was like $15.99 I think. (Not sure, I’ve stuffed my brain with much more useful information since then! And I made it through about 50 to 100 pages before giving up on the book.) If anyone really wants to read these books you should send them over to Alice at Wonderland’s blog. Her summaries are much better than the books! And the interviews with the characters are pretty awesome.

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