When Is It Okay To Be a Bully?

When it comes to “50 Shades of Grey” and EL James, apparently, anytime.

There seems to be a real phenomena of hatred for this book and the author’s skills. Honestly, I’m troubled by the amount of impassioned vitriol I’ve encountered for this woman and her work, but seeing this finally made me want to speak out:


Nothing against the tweeter–he seemed to be merely saying, “Wow, someone really went to a lot of trouble to dissuade folks from reading this book.” But EL James is a fellow author, and a human being, and this kind of note placed in front of her books is just plain bullying. If this was my book, I can’t imagine how hurtful this would be to see.

As an erotic romance author I feel like I have to keep it a secret that I loved 50 SOG, lest I be judged as having no skill or taste myself due to this outspoken criticism. (*Obviously*…I mean if I loved *that* book, then what does it say about me as a novelist? Right??)

I’m particularly troubled that a large portion of this criticism comes from people who’ve never read the book. To me that feels like rating a recipe as “It Sucked!!” based on only reading the list of ingredients and making a judgement. Totally not helpful.

Was it the best-written book I’ve ever read? No, but then 99.9% of them aren’t. Did that really matter to me in the end? No. I read books for the characters and the story, and when it came to this book, I truly, truly enjoyed it. At its heart 50 SOG is successful because it’s a tragic love story–star-crossed lovers who want to be together but can’t, for seemingly unfixable and hopeless reasons. It just so happens that Christian and Ana’s reasons are not their parents, or war, or social standing, or that he’s a vampire and she’s a human, or whatever other trope you could fill in here. In their case he’s a fucked up guy hooked on dominance and BDSM gear, and she’s…young, naïve, vanilla and really out of her element. They can’t accept each other, but neither of them can change their true nature either. Yet they are miserable without one another. That’s a good story.

I wish we could do better as a community of supporting her as a fellow author. I know it’s likely a very small, vocal minority that’s causing what seems to be a broad-sweeping message, but maybe if some of us simply said, “Hey, I liked the book(s),” maybe that would at least help even things out.

So here’s me admitting it. And I can’t wait for the movie!!!

Did you like 50 Shades of Grey? Admit it in the comments!