Call it what you wish: erotic fiction, “mommy porn,” or simply an exercise in terrible writing, but it’s undeniable that Fifty Shades of Grey was the reading franchise of the year. The trilogy was written by a British television executive with no formal literary training who kicked off her unlikely career by penning Twilight fan-fiction. The Grey series highlights a young woman’s budding relationship with a billionaire who happens to be into bondage and domination. It was published in mid-2011 and gradually gained notoriety in circles of married suburban women. By March of 2012, however, the book club hit broke through as a mainstream blockbuster. Not that every fan was vocal about their enjoyment; thanks to the proliferation of Kindles and other e-book readers, many middle-aged women got their Fifty Shades fix covertly. A parody commercial on Saturday Night Live suggested that Fifty Shades of Grey was all a mother could want for Mother’s Day, and dozens of blogs and articles tried to visualize the fictional characters, imagining who would play the whips-and-chains fanatic Christian Grey in the Hollywood production – which, since the frenzy, has been green-lit by Universal Pictures.
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