In the trend of writing a shitty book to profit off someone else’s shitty book, a 50 Shades Of Grey bedside companion now exists.
A couple of months ago, while waiting for my boyfriend to pay for some books at Barnes and Noble, I was standing near a table littered — and I do use that verb intentionally — with some books I had never heard of before. I picked one up and opened to a random page, only to encounter a creepy fucker forcing some girl to call him “sir” and other weird things, written by E.L James, who seemed to possess a sixth grade literacy level. What the hell is this…
Well obviously in the following weeks I learned what it was. Fifty Shades of Grey mania quickly swept the country and was dubbed “mommy porn” — which strikes me as odd, because I know for a fact my mom would quite literally cry if she read one page of that book. And I use the word book lightly.
So naturally, I thought “Wow, a Twilight fan fiction that takes the “girl devotes entire life to vampire” story to the next level in a tale about a man with control issues from his childhood who tries to dominate a young girl not only in the bedroom but in every facet of her life? Not only does that scream literary masterpiece, but it sounds like it will be great for young girls everywhere!” Yeah…those few pages in Barnes and Noble were more than enough for me.
And now, Marisa Bennett has written Fifty Shades of Pleasure: A Bedside Companion: Sex Secrets That Hurt So Good, to accompany the work of E.L. James — who I am horrified to learn is a mother of two. In any case, when I was asked to read this literary gem by my Crushable editor, I couldn’t well say no. So to paraphrase Frank Costanza, I got a lot of problems with these people, and now, you’re gonna hear about them.
Kicking off my magical reading experience was a blatant word omission on the first page, so I knew this was going to be not only well-written but thoroughly edited; not at all like a book they were rushing to publication before the Fifty Shades trend fizzled out (oh the glorious day).
It reads: “This quaint set of letters umbrellas a whole host dirty little sex tricks and lifestyles.” First of all, no one has ever called the acronym BDSM “quaint.” And second of all, you think you would’ve thrown an “of” in there before you sent this to publication, but hey that’s just me. Moving on.
Here’s where Ms. Bennett had a stroke of literary genius. “This isn’t going to be just some trashy book about bondage and submission,” she thought to herself, “because I’m going to find some quotes from famous books and authors, take most of them completely out of context, and scatter them throughout this book. Yeah. That’ll show that I’m well-read and educated and know what I’m talking about.”
That brainstorm – maybe it was her, maybe an editor – resulted in quotes like “No empty handed man can lure a bird,” from The Canterbury Tales, in the chapter about flogs and paddles. I’m pretty sure – no actually I am one hundred percent positive – that is not what Chaucer was talking about. Just like I’m sure “Love is the fulfilling of the law,” in the book of Romans (yeah, she pulled from the Bible) was not talking about sexual role-playing. It’s one thing to throw together a companion to Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s another to manipulate the words of authors who actually knew what they were doing.