Tuesday 3 September 2013

Fifty shades of vomit

I started a book club earlier this year with a bunch of girlfriends after realising I never make time to read anymore. I think it's safe to say it's been a success. We've all had great fun burying our heads into different titles such as The Happiness Project, Lolita, Ghostwritten and The Rosie Project, and then discussing them afterwards over dinner and a few drinks. Not only has it been awesome to get back into reading and catch up with friends, but it's forced a lot of us to go outside our comfort zone with the types of genres we normally pick. Our latest read however, has certainly pushed the boundaries of comfort, and not in the way you'd expect.

A few of us (including me), had heard about a book called The Secret Lives of Emma - Beginnings - the first chapter in a trilogy written by a man under a female pseudonym, which is based on the stories of affairs and infidelities he'd overheard real women discuss in his bookshop in the Sydney suburb of Mosman. We thought it might be a little racy but would make a good laugh and feature local places we could relate to, with us all living near and knowing the suburb well.

Suspicions arose first of all when I borrowed it from the library - it was in the erotica section. Embarrassing when you're checking something like that out with a baby on your hip and toddler at your side. At least I got the book though. One friend in the group was turned away from her library - apparently they didn't stock 'that sort of thing.' And this is because the book wasn't saucy chick-lit as we had all thought; instead it was boring, soulless, empty...mummy porn. Just writing those last words makes me want to be sick. A revolting term made famous with the mega popular series Fifty Shades of Grey, I find the phrase 'mummy porn' degrading and gross. Heave!

Back to our book though, I'm no prude so it wasn't all the throbbing genitals and sexual escapades going on that bothered me, it was the fact that quite frankly, it was plain old crap. Lazy, uninspired writing; awful characters; and a plot thinner than a run over panty liner. Mummy yawn was more like it. And, it was completely obvious that a man had written this instead of the posh-but-secretly-naughty sounding "Natasha Walker."

How does stuff like this get published? Even without the "From the publishers of Fifty Shades of Grey" big stamp on the front cover, it's clear the author and his team were attempting to cash in on the mummy porn (heave!) craze. Seriously, it's more like really, really bad Mills and Boon garbage. Nothing clever or entertaining about this style of writing at all.

The Secret Lives of Emma feels like it could have been written in less than a week it's so lacking in substance. I haven't read Fifty Shades but I'm told it's equally as dull and boring. You know, after a character has whipped out his johnson more than ten times and that's ALL they do, it does start to get a little tedious. By all means keep the sex, but why can't these authors give us something more to grip on to than some giant, fictional member? If the stories were sharply written page-turners, well that would make it a worthwhile trip down Naughty Lane, but these are simply shoddy work.

The author, John Purcell, recently unmasked himself as the real writer instead of Natasha Walker - just as J.K. Rowling did earlier in the year for her crime novel (which wasn't selling well under her male pseudonym, Robert Galbraith). Hmm. Makes a good PR story doesn't it? Certainly worked for my friends and I, misled by the media hype around the tale and sucked into the story behind the author.

Next time just be straight up about what it is you're trying to flog - badly written, trash books for bored housewives who want a brainless literary romp; and which unlike the characters in the book, will leave the reader frustrated and more limp than a pack of wet noodles. I'm sure there's still an audience for that kind of tripe - just don't dress it up to be something else and for the love of God, stop calling it mummy porn.

What do you think about (cough), mummy porn?

photo credit: katybird via photopin cc


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