New York Times bestselling novel Fifty Shades of Grey has become the must have book of the summer. The novel is the first of a trilogy tracing the relationship between Anastasia Steele, a young college graduate, and Christian Grey, a successful entrepreneur. It involves explicit and violent sexual encounters between these two characters.
Due to its popularity and controversial content, a Tellwut member (Tellwuter) posted a survey that aimed to gain a better understanding of the opinions surrounding this erotic novel. The survey, titled “A Summer Read or Time for a Book Ban” caught the attention of almost thirteen hundred Tellwut voters, the majority being aged 18-34 and female, with 30% of total voters having read the novel or planning to in the future.
The majority of voters agreed that, “this book puts its reader in touch with thoughts and sensations considered taboo; allowing them to explore their feelings”; with a much smaller percentage agreeing that the feelings created while reading this book are dangerous physiologically and physically. 11% of readers claimed to have enjoyed the “naughty” feeling they got from reading this novel commonly referred to as “Mommy Porn”.
Additionally, 70% of voters came to the conclusion that the book should not be banned from libraries and bookstores, because of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech prevails, no matter how poorly written or egregious the topic. Never-the-less 30% of voters did feel it should be banned as “it is not decent, [and] promotes the continued jading of our society”.
Author E.L James was inspired by the popular Twilight saga, making this book a fan fiction novel. Due to this comparison with the popular teen novel, it seems to initially draw readers to buying the book. Now it seems to have become pure curiosity, over what one Tellwut reader referred to as “smutty” content. Further results included voters bashing the “lackluster” description, and providing the opinion that it “was not well written”.
Recently Universal Pictures has purchased the right to make the film based on the novel, and E.L James has already signed on two producers. From that arises a set of new questions such as; who would Tellwuters want to play the lead roles? and would you allow your teenage daughters to read this book?