I had just plopped down on a lounge chair when Brittany came by to ask me if I wanted a cocktail.
Brittany was dressed in the poolside uniform, which was a pair of tan shorts and a tropical print shirt, and I could see her nametag shining in the hot, afternoon sun.
She flashed me a smile. “Hi, can I get you something?”
I happened to be alone. Mr. Moss and the boys were golfing somewhere on the island, and I had lugged all my books down to the hotel pool to read. For a moment, I squinted into the sun and considered one of my toughest decisions of the day. Pina Colada or Mojito?
While she waited, Brittany glanced over at my books. There, in a stack with Anna Quindlen, Lisa Unger and Stephen King’s memoir on writing, was the Fifty Shades of Grey lying at my feet.
After I decided on my drink, she lingered. I couldn’t see her eyes through her black sunglasses, but I could hear the hesitancy in her voice.
“Oh, are you reading that book too?” She asked, glancing at Fifty Shades of Grey.
I made a face. “Well, sort of. But I’m having a hard time getting through it.”
“You are?” Her voice brightened and she kept going. “I know what you mean; I tried reading it, and honestly,” she glanced over her shoulder and lowered her voice, “I couldn’t even finish it. I’m sorry, but I don’t get what everyone loves about that book!”
I was curious. I wondered if her age was a factor. Did younger women find the submissive-dominant relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey more troubling?
“Really? Have a lot of your friends read it?” I asked
“Oh my God, yes. Everyone here has,” she gestured towards the restaurant and bar. “Everyone’s read it and loves it. And they just can’t believe it. They just cannot believe that I don’t feel the same way.” She tossed her blonde hair off her shoulder while she said these last words.
I couldn’t resist asking her age.
Twenty-two. So. Apparently, women of all ages were reading this erotic best-seller. I decided to probe a bit more.
“Well, that’s interesting. Because you’re actually the first woman I’ve spoken to who hasn’t finished reading it. And I know what you mean. I don’t really get it either, and I feel like I’m forcing myself to keep reading, just to find out what the heck everyone sees in it. By the way, what do you think of Christian?”
“I think he’s soooo creepy! Disturbed. And my friends love him, which I can’t understand.” She paused for a second. “Maybe it’s his money, or the fact that he’s supposed to be so good-looking. I dunno, but I can’t imagine a guy telling me what to do like that.”
She lowers her voice and mimics the stern voice of Christian Grey, “Eat, now!”
I couldn’t help smiling. Of all the things that Christian orders Anastasia to do, she had chosen to mention the battles over food.
She laughs. “Yeah, my boyfriend tried that once and I set him straight. Oh, and another thing. All the supposedly hot sex? It didn’t work for me either cause I couldn’t get past all the other stuff. Yuck.”
I tell her about my blog and that I’m trying to finish the book so that I can at least give it a fair review. But somehow, whenever I get a free moment, I keep grabbing other books. I had come to realize that every time I finished reading the 50 Shades of Grey, something gnawed at me. It wasn’t a good feeling.
“Do you see a lot of women reading it?” I asked her while I glanced around the pool.
“Oh yeah. Everyday. I see a lot of women reading it and then, I see some who are even trying to hide it. Which is actually funny, ya know? Because hey, it’s cool. If that’s what they like, great. I mean, I would never even be saying these things out loud unless I knew someone else felt the same way.
Then, Brittany leaned forward, as if to divulge a dark secret. “But do you want to know my theory?”
“Personally, I think that all these women who love this book, are basically passive women deep down. That’s what I think. Me? I’m a strong personality. That’s why it doesn’t work for me.”
Brittany had already begun to move away into the bright tropical sun when she glanced over her shoulder and yelled back, '”You need to write about this on your blog!”
And then she was gone, leaving me grinning in the sunlight, and pondering the curious reactions I keep hearing about this book.
Tell me what YOU think.
Have you read it? Did you love it? Hate it? Why?