Every few years a book will reach cult status. It happened with The Bridges of Madison County and The Da Vinci Code, and now it’s happening with Fifty Shades of Grey. The fact that there are libraries in the South that are banning the book for being too racy is just adding to its allure.
I hated The Bridges of Madison County. I didn’t bother to read The Da Vinci Code. I had no plans to read Fifty Shades of Grey, but since I got a copy for my birthday I figured I’d read it and see what all the fuss was about. It didn’t take me long to realize that this is one horribly written book. It may be #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, but Paris Hilton’s book also made that list, so really. I don’t particularly find the subject matter to be that offensive; what I find offensive is poor writing. Perhaps the fact that I got this for my FIFTY THIRD birthday is why I started to laugh when I discovered that the “incredibly sexy man” who is at the center of the story is the same age as my son, five years younger than my daughter. When I read a book, I have a habit of casting it like a movie. I want to visualize the characters. To me, Christian Grey is Justin Bieber, which makes the steamy parts of the book incredibly hilarious to me. I find the subtlety of Ken Watanabe’s “Chairman” Ken Iwamura in Memoirs of a Geisha to be much more “smoldering” without all the overt, graphic descriptions. Again, age.
Keeping my ear to the tracks, so to speak, I have been paying attention to the facebook buzz on this book from the younger crowd. It would seem that the gals under the age of about 35 just can’t say enough good things about Fifty Shades. I was almost resigned to thinking that it’s just me being the snarky old spoilsport. After all, I am the woman who lists Titanic as one of the worst movies of all time. Then I saw Kathleen Turner being interviewed on TV, and the subject of the book came up. Kathleen Turner, who burned up the screen in 1981 when she starred in Body Heat. Kathleen “Jessica Rabbit” Turner, who was named as one of the sexiest actresses of all time. Kathleen Turner, who said she finds this book to be ridiculous. Ms Turner is 57.
It’s not that women can’t be sexual as we get older. We just know what the young gals will have to find out for themselves; men get better with age. A man under the age of say, 40, just isn’t done yet. They are unbaked cookies; unripe fruit; grape juice vs wine. Sure, they may have a full head of hair and washboard abs, but they lack a certain something. Instead of being the sexy stiletto that kills our feet, older men are the soft, warm slippers that we can’t wait to get home to. Fifty Shades of Grey gave me some good laughs, which I’m sure was not the intent. To each her own, I say. I’d prefer to spend my time with lovely old classics. Cary Grant was FIFTY THREE years old when he starred in An Affair to Remember. That 1957 film has been named the most romantic movie of all time. Fifty three years old; the exact same age as me.