This summer, as I sit by the pool, I may look a little pink in the face, but it won't be for the lack of sunscreen. My current reading material has me blushing regularly, so much so that I'm not sure I can read it in public.
The books that have me flustered are E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey series. With women nationwide going bonkers over these books, curiosity got the best of me, and I had to see what the fuss was about.
The first in the series, Fifty Shades of Grey, starts in similar fashion to the Twilight series, another book series that has women riveted. The protagonist, a young woman, Anastasia "Ana" Steele in Fifty Shades/ Isabella "Bella" Swan in Twilight, though beautiful and intelligent, lacking in self-esteem, but full of independence, resides in Washington State (Seattle/Forks), and within the first few chapters encounters an Adonis of a man (Christian Grey/Edward Cullen) who she finds superior to herself in station and beauty, but is irrevocably drawn to him, regardless of her instincts screaming, "No, don't do it!"
Both male leads have a secret lifestyle which they are hiding, and the main character must uncover their mystery, all the while falling in love/lust with someone who could be rather dangerous.
And that's where the similarities end! While Twilight's unrequited love and sexual tension in the teenager/vampire relationship keeps readers enthralled, and hoping the couple will finally kiss before they have to buy the next book, the no-holds-barred (literally) sexual escapades of Fifty Shades of Grey will make you gasp, snarf your soda, and exclaim out loud, "No, they didn't!"
While reading on an airplane recently, I had to put the book away, for fear that someone would glance over my shoulder and a word like "riding whip," "bondage," "safe word," or much worse would jump off the page, and their judgement would burn through the back of my head. At home, I can't even read the book in the presence of my children because they might sense that Mommy is reading something naughty.
So will I be able to finish the series poolside this summer? While I'm determined to find out what's to come of Ana and her Christian, it's unlikely that I can bring myself to read about their exploits during the kids' swim lessons. I'll just sneak in a chapter here or there, and continue hiding my Grey.