Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, Lori Perkins, ed.

I received an Advance Review Copy of Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, edited by Lori Perkins. I found a fair number of errors remaining in the book - a distracting stumbling block for an OCD comma (and other grammar) perfectionist like me.

Although the Table of Contents suggested thought out, orderly presentation of the materials, for the most part, there did not appear to be much organization or flow in the presentation of the different essays.

In addition, a number of the included entries left me wondering why those particular essays had been included and what those essays were supposed to add to this collection.

Nonetheless, a few of the essays were informative and even enjoyable. These "pearls" built upon the little knowledge I had attained from reading the Fifty Shades trilogy.

The Fifty Shades trilogy basically was my introduction to BDSM. Perkins's collection helped me learn how realistic parts of Fifty Shades were or were not; the collection went further and taught me more about the who and how and why associated with the BDSM lifestyle.

Perkins's collection also introduced me to the wide world of fanfic. As a newbie to fanfic, I learned a great deal about this world that has, unbeknownst to me, been evolving all around me, including, inter alia, the relationships between the Fifty Shades trilogy,its fan fiction version, "Master of the Universe", and the original fiction from which that derived, namely the "Twilight" series.

Questions about literature versus pop-culture, fanfic as its own genre, and whether fanfic can even be considered literature were particularly thought provoking. I enjoyed Anne Jamison's consideration of these issues: "If genre fiction is something like literature's ugly cousin (from literature's point of view), and romance is sci-fi, fantasy, and detective fiction's annoying girl cousin, a tag-a-long picked last for the team, then fan fiction has long been the ugly cousins' stepfamily's misshapen mixed-breed dog, the one everyone is too ashamed to let out in public but unable to quite put down or even neuter." (ARC p. 235) Even I had to laugh at this!

There are a handful of quality, helpful, and thought provoking essays in Perkins's compilation; the question is whether it is worth slogging through the remainder of the essays to find these pearls.

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