Books · Witterings

Book Club #3 – Fifty Shades of Grey – E.L. James

I cannot believe our book club has reached book 3 – and we had an almost full house this time round. The book to read for this meeting was the publishing phenomenon which is Fifty Shades of Grey.

So after the normal, hellos, cups of tea and delicious nibbles and also a phone call to chase C up for being late! (She actually lives opposite me!) We got on with the business in hand. We had all read the book, C had read all three, L was now on book 3 and S and S were on book 2. K and I had stopped at book 1. That was enough for us interestingly, though I am not sure perhaps months (or years) down the line I or K would want to read the others.

So the first aim was to try and focus on book 1. To do so, I had printed some discussion questions off a website and everyone picked one at random, to start the discussion off. I won’t repeat all of them here as that could get a bit tedious and boring, and with stuff going on, it is only nearly three weeks later I have got round to writing this post and my memory might not be what it was!

However, As more of his character and background are revealed, does your attitude toward Christian change? I think we all could feel for him as it was obvious that what had happened in the past was shaping his current and his future. Although we know from fellow readers, that you find out more in subsequent books. This question also applies to Ana, as well and I think we all felt differently about her at points in the book.

Discussion obviously moved on to the book portraying women in a degrading light. None of us agreed with this. And in fact most thought it was going to be a lot worse than it was including the description of the sex scenes. The quality of writing was an issue for some of us, the repetitiveness but as S pointed out she is not a reader and therefore found it easy to read, readily admitting that maybe it was because of both the storyline as well as the writing.

Many have described the book as a page turner – did you have trouble putting it down? What do you think explains the runaway success of Fifty Shades, first published as an ebook? What is the audience and who should or should not read the book? A group made up of mothers as well as daughters gives a very broad view on the subject of who should read the book. And as observation was made, there is nothing to stop anyone of any age going into a bookshop and purchasing the book. Would the bookseller stop the sale because for example the girl seemed to be only 10 or 11? I have not heard of a case of this? In fact some research from the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) about book classification says

Publications in the UK, including books and magazines, are subject to UK law such as the Obscene Publications Acts and the Protection of Children Act 1978, as well as laws governing incitement to hatred on racial, religious and sexual orientation grounds. There have also been occasional attempts to block the publication of some books in the UK which have been felt by the Government to threaten national security.

When the film is made, what certificate will it get? Is 18 to high? Would a 15 be more appropriate? Would the audience be made up of more women than men? All questions that stemmed from reading the book, and to be honest I do not think any of us had the definitive answer to any of them. And as for who to play the lead characters…. perhaps when it eventually does come out, we will have a book club outing!

Those with young teenage girls, were certainly not going to let them read the book. The worry perhaps as discussion flowed that they would think this is ‘normal’  and is this book doing the rounds as an ‘underground’ type of book. Being passed on secretly between teenagers, sniggering whilst the exchange takes place, and reading secretly under the covers.

Plenty of laughter and tea and coffee at this particular meeting. I think we came to three conclusions/statements about the book.

1. I can understand the attraction (of the book) but not the obsession. (Beautifully put by K)

2. Sex isn’t a new concept. What is all the fuss about it has been going on since time began. (Quite, L!)

3. It got me reading. (S) Anything that gets people reading, is good in my opinion. Okay so we are not asking them to read all the great works now. Just pick up a book, and indulge in another world for a while. You might find you could enjoy it.

In conclusion from a very pleasant evening that lasted about 2 hours and everyone seems to enjoy themselves. Reading is definitely a solitary exercise that brings everyone together! A few books swapped and the next book given out for our next meeting, supplied by Transworld Publishers; The Mistress’s Revenge by Tamar Cohen. With the suggestion of the book after that (House Rules by Jodi Picoult) too and the evening came to a lovely conclusion.