Following the long awaited announcement of the casting for Fifty Shades of Grey, I thought it only apt that I share with you my book club experience with the naughty novel and thoughts on the book coming to the big screen...
When I first invited my mum and my potential mother in law (at the time), to join the book club, I of course never anticipated that one day, I would have to participate in a discussion involving the workings (and sizes) of a butt plug, the pros and cons of BDSM (a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, just so we're clear...) or say the word 'Kinky F**kery' aloud and probably more than once during the evening. But it happened. And I survived (thanks to my good pal Pinot Grigio). But can safely say that it is a part of our book club history that I don't wish to repeat in a hurry! And to think, my mother chose the book. Oh the shame..
The book was a huge hit, not just with our group, but the rest of the world and finally the wheels are in motion for this highly anticipated book to be brought to life. The cast have been announced; Charlie Hunnam (Byker Grove, Queer as Folk) will play Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson (The Social Network, 21 Jump Street) as Anastasia Steel. The response to their casting has, as expected, been divided. When a book makes as huge an impact on readers lives, as the Fifty Shades trilogy has, its impossible to please everyone's imagination. But I'm pretty sure the casting decisions wont hold people back from flocking to the cinemas to see it.
Just recently I was discussing this idea with my friends and I asked them if they thought that people would actually go to the cinema to see this film? Their responses were varied; most couldn't wait to see it, others weren't convinced the sauceyness would live up to the book anyway and others said it depended on who they saw it with (i.e. don't ask mum and mother-in-laws to come!). Oh the shame. I found discussing the book cringey enough, but to actually then witness the spanking, chains, balls and wipes in full swing on a giant screen...Oh the shame! Surely I'm not the only prude out there that isn't in a hurry to watch this "acceptable porno" in my local cinema. Popcorn, anyone? Er no thanks. Only handcuffs and copious amounts of alcohol will get me in that cinema.
People were even coy when reading the book in public. Only the electronic book readers were sitting smugly on trains and buses with their discrete covers, leaving us traditional ye olde book lovers hunched over with our heads in our handbags hiding the book and our blushed cheeks. I even found a website where someone (obviously very sad, lonely, bored and probably sex deprived) had created a website, attempting to name and shame people reading the book in public! Smug E-readers 1, Ye Olde's 0.
Needless to say, the film will be huge success when released next year, but I certainly wont be arranging a book club outing to the cinema to see Fifty Shades of Grey anytime soon.
Until next time...
Fifty Shades Of Grey- Book Club Discussion Questions
- What is your interpretation of the title 'Fifty Shades of Grey'?
- If we remove the erotic sex scenes from the text is it just a modern day love story?
- Why do you think the novel marketed as a "steamy erotica for suburban housewives" is so popular?
- Do you think E.L. James' straightforward and repetitive style makes you quite blasé about the graphic sex scenes as the novel develops?
- Do you think it is only the hype and clever marketing of the novel that has got it to the top of the book charts or is it James' writing style that makes it a novel you can't put down? What did you think of James' writing style?
- Did you feel a strong connection to either Christian or Ana?
- Do you find an imbalance in the honesty Christian expects from Ana versus the honesty he gives to her?
- What was your initial impression of Christian? Did this change as we learnt more about his past?
- How did you feel about Ana's character? Did you find her convincing, irritating, the typical damsel in distress?
- Do you think Ana's inexperience makes her more prepared to accept the relationship Christian is offering?
- Why do you think Christian is so drawn to Ana in the first place?
- Do you feel the book really is as degrading toward women as many critics have proclaimed? After all, Ana is a consenting adult and is making choices based on her own desires.
- Who would be your Mr. Grey?