Saturday, July 26, 2014

Why I'm Grateful for Fifty Shades (even though I've never read it)

when the hype started about this little book called Fifty Shades of Grey, i was annoyed.  i'd grown up reading romance novels, but shying away from the sex scenes.  i didn't need to read all of that detail - it detracted from the story.  and the hype around fifty was ALL ABOUT THE SEX and the "red room of pain."  really?  why would someone want to read that?!  ppl coined the phrase "mommy porn" for this book.

then more & more ppl at work, friends, kept saying it wasn't as bad as all the hype & they really enjoyed it & etc., etc.  and i asked about the story, and got a feel for what it was really about aside from the BDSM aspect.  there were other ppl, friends, who had read it who enjoyed the story but thought it could have been told in less chapters (less than 3 books, you know) because while it was good, by book 3 it just felt very repetitive.

and so my resolve to not read the books has held firm.  might that change some time?  sure - i was firmly against e-books for quite the while, and now i enjoy the savings and convenience of my e-books & kindle reader A LOT!  so i'm not saying i'll never read the books, or see the movie.  i'm saying right now, i haven't the desire.

i started off my story today with this information so you'll understand that my thoughts are not coming from the place of a fan of the books.  

recently, there was an article written by someone who hasn't read the books, and it was a very judgmental piece about why they are evil, why no one should read them, why everyone who calls themselves a christian should boycott the movie coming out.  this article talked about the characters and their attributes with authority, and judged them harshly.  again, this person has never read the books, and is basing their information on ... what?  the hype?  the bare bones of certain aspects of the story?  i'm not sure.  i just know that when i read the article, it made me angry at the finger pointing, and the attempt at guilting christians into being against this book because it was wrong.  

but you know what?  

i'm grateful to Fifty Shades, and here's why:

- this book inspired ppl to READ.  i have read countless blogs, comments, FB posts, etc., about how ppl (men AND women) hadn't picked up a book in years, or had never had a desire to read anything, and they picked up fifty shades and loved it so much that they now devour more books in a year than they'd ever read in their lives previously.

- this book inspired some of my favorite authors to finally WRITE the books that had been rattling around in their brains for years.  because of the resurgence of demand for LOVE STORIES, these authors took a chance and began to write.  they hit publish.  they created stories for many others to fall in love with - myself included.  some of my all-time favorite books today would not exist if it weren't for E.L. James and her decision to write this little bit of "fan fiction."  (if that's even what it started out as - i've heard that, but no idea of it's truthfulness!) 

- this book caused ppl to THINK and to DISCUSS and to get together.  it brought ppl together who may otherwise have never met.  it helped create and foster friendships for ppl around the world.  and i just think that is amazing.

i take exception to calling romance and erotica "porn" or "trashy novels."  i take exception to ppl looking down their noses at these stories, calling them anything other than literature.  just because something is not your cup of tea to read does NOT make it wrong.  does not negate the hard work of the author, or the joy it inspires in others.  not everyone enjoys the same type of art - whether that art is in the form of a painting, sculpture, book, movie, music.  it is ALL art.  if it was created out of someone's passion, it IS ART.  the purpose of art is to garner emotion, a reaction.  the reaction doesn't always have to be positive, and the negativity of one person's reaction does not, SHOULD NOT, in any way detract from the positive reaction of someone else.  it does not, and SHOULD NOT detract from the artist's hard work.  

romantic fiction - yes, even erotic fiction - is at its heart about L O V E.  it's about healing and redemption, and sometimes in order to feel the healing or the redemption of the characters, traits that are unattractive or selfish are shared.  sometimes the characters are so bad, you're not sure HOW they will be redeemed.  but if a story is crafted well, the journey to redemption and to their finding that one person who makes them want to be better, who makes them want to stop their selfish and sometimes whoring ways, who makes them think of THEM instead of themselves... it's an amazing journey, and it's what i look for in a book.

are there particular storylines that i, myself, have no desire to read?  
why yes, yes there are!  
i'm not particularly fond of BDSM, love triangles, multiple sexual partners w/in a relationship, or m/m f/f stories.  but do i seek out those stories & bash them or judge the ppl who DO enjoy them?

uh, no.
because that's not my place.  
and when those storylines are a peripheral (such as in Kristen Proby's Breathe With Me - the heroine's best friend is gay, and he has a relationship that follows along w/ the H/h relationship, and was i rooting for that relationship along w/ the H/h's?  you betchya!  would i want to read a whole book with that relationship as the focus?  nope - but there are ppl who would love it!)  

i don't judge ppl who would rather listen to chamber music over 5FDP or breaking benjamin.  i like yanni and shinedown and metallica and justin timberlake and ariana grande and boy bands from the 90's and sometimes elvis and othertimes chubby checker.
i love coffee, don't really like alcohol enough to drink it daily, enjoy a good cheeseburger and sometimes a decent veggie dish.  

(that was sorta a tangent, but hopefully you see my point, a bit?)

so, in conclusion, this is me.
i love the Lord.
i believe in God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.
i believe that Jesus's purpose, the reason he chose to give up heaven for a while & join us on earth to be tortured mercilessly and experience human death, was to teach us about compassion, and love, and to save us from distance from the Father.

and i read romance novels (and yes, there is sex in these novels, but they are NOT trashy and they are NOT pornography), and will continue to do so.
(and yes, i read the sex scenes more often now.  i'm an adult this time around!)

and i'm grateful to Fifty Shades of Grey and E.L. James for taking a risk & putting her story out there, even if i decide to never read them or see the movie.  

ttfn! : ) 

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