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"Local women love erotic ‘Shades of Grey’ for characters, fantasy"

on Thursday, 26 April 2012. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

InForum FARGO – For years, the only books Megan Riegel read were “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “Breastfeeding 101.”

So when this 31-year-old Fargo mom of two and bank branch manager was looking for a little “me time,” a friend who’s an avid reader suggested she pick up “Fifty Shades of Grey,” an erotic romance that’s become enormously popular among women across the country.

The trilogy by British author E.L. James started as “Twilight” fan fiction, gained a following online, and was released in mass distribution earlier this month.

Locally, the series is as popular as anywhere else, says Mary Schimke, community relations manager for Fargo’s Barnes & Noble. The books are asked for all the time, a store manager says.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” has been described in some media reports as “mommy porn,” as it vividly depicts the world of BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism). The S&M scenes in the books worry some experts. Celebrity therapist Dr. Drew Pinsky called the books violent, and said the obsession with them is “disturbing.”

But local women who love the “Fifty Shades” trilogy cite the captivating relationship between its protagonists, Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, as well as its comedic tone.

“When I first started reading it, I thought it as a bit degrading towards women,” Riegel says. “The farther I got into the books I realized their love is a special, unique love. I think everyone wants that for themselves. Relationships are different from couple to couple.” ...

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