Today’s question comes from Connie Broth, from Whiskey River, South Carolina. Connie asks, “What’s with that ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ book?”
Well, Connie, you’re question is somewhat open ended and yet I think I know what you’re getting at, otherwise I would have just moved on to the next question in my inbox which had something to do with how they make almond milk. Since I’m 99% positive nuts are not part of the mammal family and have never heard of any nut possessing fully functional udders or lactating parts, I was looking forward to getting to the bottom of that one myself, but it can wait. I heard a lot of things about this book and I guess it’s piqued my interest as well.
For the sake of full disclosure, I did not initially read the entire book, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E L James, because I am way behind on the construction of my ant farm, but I did get the “Reader’s Digest” version. Regarding the farm, a rogue pack of red ants ate the Queen and now every one of those formicidae (that’s the scientific term for ants) are just moping around with their antenna at half mast waiting for some sort of divine intervention. I got another queen coming in from a fellow ant farm buff I met on Linked In and when she gets here, and I’m referring to the queen of course, she’s going to get those gold bricking ants back on the clock.
The title of the “Reader’s Digest” condensed version was called “A Touch of Grey”. The lady at the library told me that the condensed version was exactly like the unabridged version except the editors removed everything that was repeated and repeated over and over again in the longer version. I believe my book came in at 18 pages. Really more like a pamphlet than a book, but any way, I got the gist of it and feel qualified enough to tackle your question.
So, here’s the deal on that book and you heard it here first. From what I can gather, this E L James must have made hundreds and hundreds of references to ropes, drapery cords, duct tape, plumbing fixtures, cleaning solutions, cloth items, plastic wrap, linens and towels and other assorted sundries and notions and I said to myself, this has to be the most ridiculous, far fetched loony story I have ever read. Especially that girl being a college graduate and all! And then it hit me. We’re in the worst economic downturn in 90 years. Housing is down, construction is down. SHOPPING IS DOWN!
This book was ghost written by somebody way up the food chain at Walmart! Most likely a marketing guy. After I finished the pamphlet version, I drove over to the bookstore to get the full copy. First thing, that librarian was dead on, boy, does that book repeat itself and what’s with telling us how long the guy’s fingers are all the time? Every three paragraphs there was a reference about Christian Grey’s long fingers. Did they think we’d forget and wonder how he played the piano so well with chubby hands? But that was just a ruse to throw readers off course!
So I read the entire book and made a list of all the stuff they used and guess what? You can buy 90% of that stuff at Walmart! And that, Connie Broth of Whiskey River, South Carolina, is what’s with that “Fifty Shades of Grey” book. It’s nothing more than a sneaky subliminal Walmart hardware/sundry store catalog disguised as a steamy pot boiler and it works just the same way it does in the movies or on TV when you see someone order a bottle of Heineken or a romantic couple eating Chinese food right out of the containers with chop sticks and the next thing you know, you’re on the phone ordering three pints of chop suey while waiting for the mugs to get frosty in the freezer!
One last postscript. I was amazed to learn that this book has sold more than 65 million copies in paperback which is more than the “Harry Potter” series combined. That must have put a bee in JK Rowling’s bonnet. I’d lay odds there’s a “note to self regarding next book” post it note somewhere on her refrigerator after getting that news. But more important and interesting, Walmart’s sales are still down. And that explains the sequels.
© 2013 The Monkey Bellhop and John Hartnett