The New York Times Magazine Blog recenlty ran an article about the success of Fifty Shades of Grey in France. According to the “experts” there is no reason Fifty Shades of Grey should be a success in France.
The French have a history of great writers, particularly in the area of erotica and sadism. And of course there is the stereotype of the sexually free French woman. Why the heck would they need some “American-style Puritanism?” Ouch!
I was thinking along the same line this summer, until I did an interview with a French Magazine. We discussed if the French, or why the French might or might not enjoy the series. And going with the more sexually free french, I had said I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t catch there the same way it has in puritan America. Ok, I didn’t say puritan America, but you get the idea. But I was corrected, the image is of the French being more sexually free, but they still have a lot of the same issues as woman in America do.
But I think if you look more closely at the demographics of the Fifty Shades of Grey readership, you’ll find it crosses many boundaries. Readers ages range from teens to 80s, woman from Spain, Phillipines, Israel, Brazil, Turkey and Egypt are reading the books. When I look at the map of just this blogs readership, there are few countries that are not represented. The one place that I find the biggest resistance is from the Christians. But even that is a weak group resisting the books, I know plenty of Christians who have read and enjoyed the series, including Mags.
And how could I forget the critics, they hate the books. Whether American, British or French, they have all decided the book is crap. Is the writing the best? No, but it’s a romance novel not The Great Gatsby, it was written on a Blackberry and self published.
In the end what the critics are missing is that Fifty is a romance novel. Yes, there is sex and some of it is a little kinky. But they fixate on that and tell us we’re not supposed to like that because the writing is bad. Meanwhile they’re missing the point, it’s an intruguing story, similar to what would read in any other romance novel. But E L James managed to put a little twist to it and create characters that you don’t want to like, but can’t help but like and then fall in love with. And really, love is love and sex is sex no matter what country you are from or what religion you practice and somewhere in every woman is a need to have both.