This is precisely what is wrong with our society.
When Twilight fanfiction with BDSM are the top 3 novels of the decade, we’re clearly living in an age of decline — morally speaking.
The books, written by E.L. James, chronicle the #ItsComplicated relationship between a young college graduate and a slightly older billionaire with massive relationship issues. The books focus on their BDSM relationship which miraculously turns into romance. It’s like Cinderella minus the Fairy Godmother but plus whips and handcuffs. (Presumably.)
Hooray for feminism… or something.
The first book, Fifty Shades of Grey was originally written as fan-fiction based on the teen vampire romance Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Where Twilight was labeled by some on the left as “abstinence porn” due to the author’s Mormon faith drawing a red-line on premarital sex, the Fifty Shades series goes in the completely opposite direction where the sexual relationship is the central part of the story.
Readers, particularly women, bought the books in record numbers. The first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, published in 2011, sold an estimated 15.2 million copies, while the second, also published in 2011, Fifty Shades Darker, sold about 10.4 million copies. The third book, Fifty Shades Freed, published in 2012, sold 9.3 million copies. This makes the trilogy of books number 1, 2, and 3, respectively as the bestselling novels of the decade.
At the beginning of the decade, British author E.L. James’s erotic “Fifty Shades of Grey” novel became a surprise hit, selling millions of copies, spawning two sequels and three film adaptations.
Now, as the 2010s near their end, James’s “Fifty Shades” books hold the first, second and third place on a list of the decade’s best-selling books, according to NDP BookScan, which collects point-of-sale data for the publishing industry.
In all, the trilogy had 35 million print and e-book sales between 2011 and 2019.
The saga chronicles the decidedly NSFW sexual exploits of the young, shy and beautiful Anastasia Steele and her mysterious, seductive and fabulously wealthy older boyfriend, Christian Grey. The series, which focuses on their BDSM relationship, is particularly popular with female audiences.
Source: CNN Business
Notably, the trilogy has made its way onto the big screen and each of the three movies has received very poor ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed all had one-star ratings and very low critic ratings.
The next two books on the Bestselling Novels of the Decade list were also made into movies — The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Those movies were much more successful and received awards, not jeers. Octavia Spencer was awarded an Oscar for her role in The Help, and two of her co-stars were nominated for Academy Awards. The teen dystopian novel, The Hunger Games, was nominated for a whole host of awards.
Many critics have panned the Fifty Shades trilogy as “poorly written” but clearly poorly written doesn’t mean it won’t sell. It’s also been excoriated as celebrating an abusive relationship. (To be fair, the same criticisms were made of its more chaste inspiration, Twilight.)
If you, (like me,) don’t want to subject yourself to BDSM erotica as well as the awful writing in Fifty Shades of Grey, but cannot imagine that it could be as bad as critics claim, take a gander at a few snippets from just the first book chronicled on this blog.
If that’s an accurate sample of the writing, you couldn’t pay me to read that crap.
It’s interesting to note that in this #MeToo era, these are the top three novels of the decade. It seems like a mixed message, no?
Twitter users were pretty solidly in the “not a fan” camp.
Best selling doesn’t mean best written ?
— MisterGlass (@NotElijahPrice) December 20, 2019
and we wonder why men keep getting the wrong message???
— sunny and young (@portendra) December 19, 2019
More evidence of the decline of our society.
— Susan Marie ???️??♀️ (@SusanHurlburt1) December 19, 2019
Weren’t these books essentially fan fiction to the Twilight series?
— Witch for Sanders 2020 (@HoffmanAbby) December 19, 2019
Engulf the earth in fire
— Sancho Panzadivision (@oathborker) December 19, 2019
Nothing says the end of society as we know it than ‘r’ rated bondage porn for middle-aged women are the to sellers of a decade.
— Ho³ (@i8dbbq) December 19, 2019
— Dirty Steve (@Bogus_Sting) December 19, 2019
I'm sorry. I don't believe this. ??♀️
— Elizabeth Mesías (@LizzyVernet) December 19, 2019
Sorry, @LizzyVernet… this is the world we live in.
The best comment was by the managing editor of The Gospel Coalition, Mark Smethurst:
And it’s only “romantic” because the guy’s a billionaire. If he were living in a trailer, it’d make for a ‘Criminal Minds’ episode.
— Matt Smethurst (@MattSmethurst) December 19, 2019