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"'Mommy Porn' Book Lets Ladies Love Erotica, Jerky Male Characters"

on Saturday, 10 March 2012. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

The Gothamist

Apparently bereft over the season end of Downton Abbey, American women have set their sights on an erotic British novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, about a naive college student's seduction by a billionaire businessman and its accompanying graphic depictions of BDSM: "Uncoiling from the floor, rising lazily, like a jungle cat, he points the end of the riding crop at my navel, leisurely circling it — tantalizing me. At the touch of the leather, I quiver and gasp." But don't laugh—women are apparently excited enough to do it with their dudes after reading this!

Since it's sent moms on the Upper East Side and elsewhere into a frenzy and prompted a Today show segment, publishers were in a bidding war for the U.S. rights to launch the "Mommy porn" in blockbuster style (it was first published by a small Australian publishing house). According to the NY Times, "Publishing executives said the word-of-mouth excitement accompanying 'Fifty Shades of Grey' was reminiscent of that accompanying novels like 'The Da Vinci Code,' 'The Kite Runner' and 'Eat, Pray, Love.'"

While some women are raving about it (sample 5-star review on GoodReads: " Usually, I give 3 stars to all novels with erotic twist, but this one took me by suprise. First of all, all sex parts weren't pathetic with lots of dumb, sleazy words. And everything actually has a meaning and a story behind"), one Westchester woman told the Times, "What I found fascinating is that there are all these supermotivated, smart, educated women saying this was like the greatest thing they’ve ever read. I don’t get it. There’s a lot of violence, and this guy is abhorrent sometimes." Or as another GoodReads reviewer noted, "I don't know, this is like the BDSM version of Edward and Bella, and half of the time I don't know if I should be turned on or scared as hell. Probably both." And, yes, the book started as Twilight fan-fic.

The author, E.L. James, was unmasked by The Evening Standard as Erika Leonard, has referred to the book as her "mid-life crisis." Indeed: One UES mother of three told the Post, "It’s just a fun escape from the daily mundane of trudging kids around and, you know, marriage... The person who recommended it to me said, ‘It will make you want to have sex with your husband.’ And it did!"

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