Wednesday, September 26, 2012

50 Shades of Wretch

So, today at the day job, I read an article (which seems to have since disappeared - will link when I find it) by the "author" of Jane Eye Laid Bare, Eve Sinclair*, defending the book and her choices in writing it.

A lot of the article had to do with eroticism and how 50 Shades of Grey is liberating for women, and people shouldn't be ashamed to read erotic books and eroticism is different from porn, etc, etc. - and for the first half of the article, I could kind of see what she was saying.  I have zero problem with people reading whatever they want  and even though the snippets of 50 Shades I've come across are enough to make me want to stick a fish fork up my nose and wiggle it rigorously to erase all traces of the prose from my brain, my attitude tends to be, just because I find something distasteful doesn't mean other people ought not to enjoy it. I agree with her about the porn**, I have no issue at all with porn, be it on paper or film.

In (roughly) the second half of the article, Sinclair defends her reasons for essentially hijacking a classic novel for her own gain.  Except, her reasons are ridiculous.  Firstly, that Jane Eyre is already a pretty erotic novel.  Well, yes.  So why the need to wave the this part is sexy banner?  Why would you want to take something subtle and replace it with something in-your-face?  That's something like taking a perfectly seasoned turkey and then coating it in a thick paste of ground thyme because, well, everyone likes thyme and anyway, it already had some thyme and that tasted really good.  This concept of sticking porn into classic novels has to be the best argument for leave well enough alone I've ever heard.

The other main reason she gives for her book is that no one had a problem with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - and I agree that anyone who was OK with that should be OK with this.  I had a huge problem with it.  Just to be clear, I didn't read it.  Possibly the zombie scenes were perfectly integrated and the changes and additions were as brilliantly written as the rest.  I kind of doubt it, but that's not the point.  Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favourite book.  I have read it either 12.5 or 13.5 times (it does get a bit difficult to keep track) and even though it sounds cliched, every time I read it, I find something new, some new meaning that has previously escaped me, some facet of one of the mains' characters that suddenly makes everything clearer.  To add to it is to destroy it.  Since I'm on a roll with the similes, let's throw in a metaphor. Say you have something perfect and wonderful, an extremely elegant, perfectly cut, expensive designer gown - and  let's say you also have something popular and kind of cool, some interesting buttons from an old woolly sweater... THERE IS NO REASON TO COMBINE THESE THINGS - but the horrendous hipster gown of doom effect is not really my problem with P&P&Z or with JELB.  My problem isn't even with the insane amount of hubris someone would need to read the originals and think Meh, I could do better.  My problem is that hubris combined with riding the coattails of an excellent author who is dead and can't defend themselves.  Seriously, try that shit with an author who's still alive, why don't you?  Or, better yet, make up your own universe, throw in some of your own characters, and see where that takes you.

*Is this supposed to sound like some sort of twisted nursery rhyme?
**Sinclair calls it eroticism.  I say naked people engaged in sex acts = porn, but that's just semantics.

1 comment:

Rhiannon said...

My biggest problem with the whole 50 Shades ridiculousness isn't that it's fanfic, bad BDSM porn for bored housewives, or that it sold so many's that they took this story off the internet and changed some details...but didn't actually edit it.

Where the hell were the editors? There's more awkward phrasing in the first two pages of that book than in some of the worst fanfic-y twaddle to ever be spewed forth onto the internet, and yet no one seems to care.

I mean, come on. Has the English language collapsed so much that that publisher couldn't hire someone who'd say "" and write all over the manuscript in thick, red pen?