Tossing out 50 shades of yuck
BY CAROL MARIN firstname.lastname@example.org July 20, 2012 6:20PM
The viral nature of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy — a virgin-Cinderella-meets-S&M-Adonis-billionaire saga — has been impossible to ignore. But you should try.
Updated: August 23, 2012 10:41AM
As a child, I loved Nancy Drew. She was my heroine. My escape. My wonder.
Then as now, there is nothing like a summer day and a good book. Moments to put away work and melt into different words and worlds.
But sometimes a book can fall into an entirely different category.
I am tortured by Fifty Shades of Grey.
Not. Like. That.
The viral nature of this virgin-Cinderella-meets-S&M-Adonis-billionaire saga makes it impossible to ignore.
Women I know cannot stop talking about it. Up and down the economic ladder, black-white-Hispanic, young to old, the question is the same.
In the middle of just about any conversation lately someone asks: “Have you read it?”
Two weeks ago, I walked into a bookstore where the Fifty Shades trilogy was everywhere, in the window, on display tables and on shelves.
I picked up volume one and pulled out my credit card.
The woman at the cash register looked at me. Looked at the book. And then, with a studied nonchalance, asked, “Would you like this in a bag?”
I could have said no, I prefer you flog me with it. But I resisted.
For the record, I am devoted to the First Amendment and a lifelong opponent of censorship, having never trusted the censors.
Sometime in junior high, I remember being at Sunday mass when — despite my mother’s furious elbowing — I refused to take the annual pledge to the Catholic Church’s Legion of Decency, which dictated which movies and books we could watch or read.
Back when J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye was banned by just about every school board including our own at Palatine High School, my sophomore honors English class read it anyway thanks to a terrific teacher named Roderick Botts who believed we should get to know Holden Caulfield.
Ever since, I have passed that book on to a long list of young people I know.
And they, in turn, have introduced me to Lisbeth Salander, the dark heroine in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. And the brave heart Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.
Though some have condemned The Girl series as misogynist and criticized the Hunger trilogy for excessive violence, I found them powerful and — at times — profound.
But a couple of hours into Fifty Shades of Grey, I did something I have never done. I walked into the kitchen, opened the cupboard under the sink and tossed it in the garbage along with the coffee grounds and eggshells.
To many of us, books are sacred. Save them, lend them, donate them, but never throw them out.
I surprised myself with such a ferocious reaction to this poorly written, repetitive tale of a gorgeous rich guy’s “red room of pain” and a lovely but horrifically naive young woman whose hide he loves to whip.
For the first time that I can remember, I want to warn young women away from this twisted, cynical — to use heroine Anastasia Steele’s favorite word — crap.
I’ll never be a book burner.
But, for a rare moment, I understand the temptation.