Edward with a Whip

Like so many American families, mine has been torn apart by an inability to agree on Team Edward or Team Jacob. My sister says Edward is a control freak and a stalker. I say Jacob is a potential date-rapist and a moron. She calls Bella’s feelings for Edward an unhealthy obsession. I call them true love. That’s why when she called to tell me about a book that was, and I quote, “a grown up version of Twilight” I was hesitant to get involved. I mean, why reopen those wounds?

Then, of course, I read Fifty Shades of Grey anyway.

In it a young woman meets and falls in love with an older, more experienced, gorgeous, tortured millionaire. He’s controlling, bossy, and inexplicably worried about her safety even before there’s a threat to it. He tells her he’s bad for her but that he can’t stay away from her. Then the girl befriends a werewolf—Wait. No, sorry, that’s Twilight. In this book they enter into a BDSM relationship where she is the submissive. They’re really similar books, which makes sense because Fifty Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction.

[Don’t you think  Stephanie “no sex ‘til we’re married” Meyer probably hates that? Edward with a riding crop? Bella handcuffed to a bedpost. That’s not just premarital, it’s deviant!]

As a general rule I don’t understand fan fiction. I don’t get the appeal. For me, it’s not the real (fictional) characters unless the real author is the one moving them around. For example, although Christian Grey talks about butt plugs and ball gags quite freely, I don’t imagine Edward Cullen could force himself to say either. That said, once I put the Twilight connection aside and got passed the massive overuse of the phrase inner goddess, Fifty Shades of Grey was an interesting read – full of sex and intensity and beautiful, emotionally crippled soul mates, which are like my favorite kind.

Also, I really dig it when something magic like this happens to a writer and suddenly, for no reason, their work just catches on. I heard that I could have found the whole story online for free with just a little clever googling but I was happy to pay for all three books in the trilogy. E.L. James has my thirty dollars and my congratulations.