I should probably start with the disclaimer that I don’t read romance novels. I never have, and to be honest, I’m not interested in what is called “Typical Romance.” I like stories about people and relationships. My book, “Subway Girl” is considered by some to be a romance, or even erotica, but I think the best description of my writing came from a reader who said,
Your stories are very serious stories of human struggle and potential couched in the comforting, uplifting terms of a romance novel.
Before I wrote “Subway Girl,” I read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and the women in my book club said, “It is really awful. You should read it.” The suggestion was that anyone could write that crap. I disagree.
There are many things I don’t like about FSOG, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due. I am not really turned on or off by BSDM. I don’t have any personal experience, but I took an online quiz that said I am neither “Dominant or submissive,” I am what they call, “Exploratory”. Translation; I believe anything any consenting adult wants to do in the bedroom is just fine and sex is meant to be fun. So it is not the sex in FOGS that I found disturbing, it was the whole virgin / billionaire thing. But hey – that’s a fantasy a lot of people entertain, it’s just not for me.
In FSOG, Christian Grey buys Anastasia a new car and takes her on a date in a helicopter that he pilots. In “Subway Girl,” Ray Kelly’s remembers how Alicia takes her coffee and brings her a cup. I’ve got simple taste, what can I say? It feels accessible to me, attainable. I feel sorry for women that pine for a helicopter ride and even worse for the guys that can’t provide that.
But you know what FSOG did right in my opinion? Funny sexy banter via email. That was my favorite thing about the book FSOG, the sexy playfulness that they communicated outside of the bedroom. Email is free, coffee is cheap, and romance requires thoughtfulness. So being broke is not really an excuse, is it?
Most of people criticizing FSOG have not actually read the book. I like controversy if it makes people think, but this bandwagon seems mostly reactionary. I don’t know what to say about the movie, I have not seen it and there are probably twenty other movies I would see first.
I would guess that “Subway Girl” doesn’t belong on the shelf next to FOGS. Someone recently said it belongs next to “Catcher in the Rye,” but that is too high a compliment. But it does feature a male narrator who is down-and-out roaming the streets of Manhattan. My copy isn’t actually on my shelf, but it makes a decent mouse pad for my laptop.