Forgive me. Behold me get on my knees and beg you all for forgiveness.
Because I, a culprit whose head is worthy of being severed from the body with the blade of a French guillotine, have just committed a crime (and I shall never be free of guilt) by plopping the sacred Fyodor Dostoyevsky into the same subject line as E.L. James.
Everything in life has a catalyst. You go to the bathroom, because you have to pee. You eat a hamburger, because your stomach bells start ringing. You go to a funeral, because somebody was taken from life.
I am writing this post, because a teenager on the train today forced me to write it. I was on the train on my way home from the city, reading one of my favorite books: Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot. A new generation sitting in front of me was curious about the title, and asked me what it was about. After telling her the whats and the whens (it was written) and the who’s (it was written by), I got nothing out of her other than: “Meh. Why would anyone write a book like that?”
She went on and on about how people back then wrote because there were no other jobs for them to do. She called them lazy drunks. She also went on asking if I ever read “literature” of today.
It depends, I said, as I am someone who will give just about anything a try, although I find it hard to find the kind of literature today that could hold a candle to the works of centuries ago.
“You have to read Fifty Shades of Gray!” she said. “The writer is amazing. I could really get into the book and connect with all of the characters.”
“Okay,” I said. I had heard about Fifty Shades of Gray before, but the title never really tickled my fancy.
So I got home. I grabbed the kindle my darling granddaughter got me, and I browsed for Fifty Shades of Gray to see what the hype was about.
One page in, I thought about the girl’s comment, “The writer is amazing.”
Now, this may be because I’m an old man, but I saw nothing close to amazing in her style. Let me rephrase that. I saw no style at all. What I saw was a bundle consisting of about twenty words, and those twenty words scattered all over the book.
E.L. JAMES cannot write. But why would anyone call her, or the book, amazing? Why would a book of such sickening subject matter gain the kind of “VIP STATUS” it did? And how on earth can a book like Fifty Shades ever be compared with the classics of masterminds whose hands produced some of the most touching, thought-provoking books that will forever live on?
I don’t know. But all I know is that, while reading the book, I had to stop, stop before my eyes dropped out of their sockets with hapless cries. This is not literature. This is nothing. Nothing at all. It’s worse than the rotten foods that escape our bodies once they have had their time to “Settle down.”
To add some humor (alas, very sad one!) to this subject. I checked the customer reviews of all Dostoyevsky (and even Tolstoy) books to see the kind of comments and thoughts people had after reading their work.
I saw stuff like:
“Awful! I bought the book and had to throw it away because its such bullshit not even my bookshelf wanted to have it!”
“What a douche! I guess publishers would publish just about anyone back then!”
“I bought this for my child and regret it! He hates it!”
“I think the writer was really trying to show off by using way too many and too complicated words. He must have been using a Thesaurus??”
“Hell no! Worst buy ever! Glad times have changed.”
“Lazy a** drunken writers who cant write. Writing the most depressing sh**s ever and claiming they know everything about life. Some of the chapters make no sense at all.”
And then I went back to Fifty Shades of Gray to look at some of the comments there. While there were many who agreed with me, this time I will go ahead and choose some out of the majority to show just what awful a situation this is.
“Best writer ever! I love EL James and cant wait for more from her!”
“Truly enjoyed it”
“Yes the sex is hot, hot, hot, but I love the storyline even better!!!”
“Best book ever! So much better then the movie itself . Its so intense and sexy. It transported me to another world”
“Best book I have read! This is my 4 th time. I saw the movie and just had to re read the book!”
Unfortunately, writers, and books like E.L. James, rob other “talented” writers of their chances to be seen. People, our generation, is becoming more and more obsessed with these nauseating SM novels that seem as though they have been written for little kids with its “prose” that they won’t even give other works a chance. Especially if those other works contain no sex.
It makes me sad. Sad to be living in today. Maybe I ought to blush. Yes. I go to my room now and “I blush.”
P.S. How can you know that you are blushing without looking in a mirror? And when you look in that mirror, please don’t tell me, “I look at my pretty blue eyes.”
P.P.S Ladies: If you had to choose between Prince Myshkin and Christian Gray – who would be your pick?
Gentlemen: If you had to choose between Nastassya Filippovna or Anastasia Fifty – who would be your pick?