All Good Things: Erica Jong Says “50 Shades” Craze Needs To End (And She’s Right)
1:45 pm, May 16th | by Laura Donovan
New York Times besteller “Fifty Shades of Grey” makes its followers do odd things: Wait several hours to receive an autograph from the writer, grieve over having to say goodbye to main character Christian Grey at the conclusion of the final book, and scream during book signings as 10-year-old girls do at Justin Bieber concerts. But does this kind of devotion last forever? Author Erica Jong, who penned the controversial novel, “Fear of Flying,” has her doubts, and rightfully so.
Though sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff praised the “Fifty Shades” trilogy last week for changing the way women talk about sex, Jong implies in a new piece for New York Social Diary that the series is merely in its honeymoon stage and will not remain a must-have forever. Referencing bondage-loving Grey’s S/M sex room, in which he physically abuses naive 20-something Anastasia Steele for pleasure, Jong says:
“And a porn movie—even what they call mommy porn? I read it. I got to the Red Room with its whips and chains and rubber suits. I didn’t believe a word even though ‘The Story of O’ never fails to arouse.”
That’s not to say she always finds fault with a story similar to that of Grey and Steele. Jong says such a tale must be well told, and “Fifty Shades,” which has been criticized before for being poorly written, simply isn’t:
“This latke? You can take your Master of the Universe in gray. I’m sticking with ‘The Story of O.’ Classics last. This ‘book of one hand,’ as the French say, won’t. Neither will the money.”
“Fifty Shades” mastermind E.L. James never intended to go big with her books, nor did she ever claim to have Shakespeare quality writing talent, so don’t think I’m trying to clip her wings. As an aspiring writer, I find her unexpected rise to fame rather inspirational and encouraging, but it must be said that the relationship between Grey and Steele isn’t going to captivate readers long term. Even if we get a movie out of it, “Fifty Shades” won’t go down in history as revolutionary. James said so herself.