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Discussion Post | Is it Edgy to Hate on the FSOG trilogy in the Book Community?

This is going to be my first ever discussion post, so be gentle with me. How the hell does a discussion post work anyway? Do I just tell what I think? Even after blogging for a year, I still don’t know these things. 

If you are a romance reader or just have been on Goodreads lately, then you know that E.L. James has released a new book called The Mister. As soon as the book was announced, the endless amount of comments started to pop up. Now, this isn’t going to be about who’s right or who’s wrong. This is just going to be about how I feel.

I’m actually nervous about typing this and putting it out into the world. 

Image result for don't come for me gif

So many people bashed her new book before it even released. Do I think it’s edgy to hate on E.L. James? Nope, but I think most of the book community thinks so. I mean let’s be honest, she isn’t a good writer and her books are problematic as hell. I can agree with that. I can also name so many other authors that fit that criteria as well.

Her debut came out when I was 20 and it changed what I thought I knew about romance books at that time. At 20 I was still reading YA romance (which nothing is wrong with that!) and I heard the buzz about this new novel called Fifty Shades of Grey and dove into. It was erotic and nothing like I had ever read before. I devoured the whole damn series. I mean, let’s be honest about me here, I probably wouldn’t be as into all the sex scenes and smut that I read now if I hadn’t have picked this book up.

Once I got heavy into the book community I learned that the popular opinion was to not like it. I felt like this was something to be ashamed of liking.

Although I can agree that the movies sucked! Now yes, I can quote the movies like nobody’s business. That what too much wine does to you. But I’m not really a fan of them. (don’t even get started on Dakota Johnson and those nipples of hers). I was highly upset that the movie was changed to make Christian not the psychopathic person that he is. 

I feel like I got off topic here. Basically, it’s fun to talk shit about E.L. James and the FSOG series. But let’s not act like it didn’t make it easier for other novels to exist. Publishers saw that people were eating this series up and wanted to produce more like it. I can’t even tell you how many posts and pitches I’ve seen for books being advertised as the next Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Let’s again be honest about something else. Soon after the publication of this series, there were so many books that included a bit of the same theme. Wealthy Men with issues, or BDSM at every turn. Tell me I’m wrong, I’ll wait! 

Basically, I just wanted to throw my two cents in the ring about how I’ve been feeling about E.L. James and the comments that I have been seeing about her lately. Yes her writing sucks and is problematic. But why does she have to be a punching bag in the book community?


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64 thoughts on “Discussion Post | Is it Edgy to Hate on the FSOG trilogy in the Book Community?

  1. I think there’s also a heaping helping of jealousy involved. Same with Stephenie Meyer and Twilight. The fact that they aren’t good writers just makes it worse for a lot of people because it’s like why not me? Or even why this book and not the one that I love?

    There’s some interesting thought on the hate being outsized also due to it’s audience being predominately young women. Overall its definitely an interesting discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree with all your points. Is FSOG the best writing? No, but I definitely devoured that series. It’s not fair that her new book is getting bashed just because her first series is made fun of. FSOG came out in 2011. It’s been 8 years! I’m sure she’s changed as a person and in her writing. There’s a book for every person. Someone may love her new work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh!! I love this post!!! Exactly my thoughts! I loved FSOG when it first came out and devoured the entire series quickly. I also adored Twilight so much! Both of which get bashed now for even existing. I often wondered myself, why that is??? I felt like they both paved the way for a better literary future and I still really enjoy them today:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I get uncomfortable with erotica but I don’t understand the need to be negative just for the sake of negativity. No piece of literature is without flaws and problematic tones. It just is part of being human. Something is bound to be inaccurate or harmful. Bashing something that hasn’t even come out yet is just kind of odd. I do think that there is a lot of judgment about what women read as a whole. Like, if only we were as critical of what “dude lit” is all about…just pick up a sci-fi novel and watch how women are treated in those books. Heck, even the way men are portrayed isn’t often any better.

    I do think that books can be a form of entertainment and that they can also be used as a jumping off point to discuss taboo things (or not so taboo things, too). Rather than attacking something you don’t find appealing, either you approach it in a respectful manner (for its fans and for its writers) or just leave them be.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m saddened to see all the bashing of E. L. James going on. To what purpose? FSOG may have been poorly written (not necessarily my opinion) but she told a unique story that changed the romance community. I found the books densely written but was enthralled by the story and characterizations. While my reading has shifted since those days and doubt that I would even consider reading it today, I remember enjoying that reading experience. And, it unleashed a host of new authors, as you so aptly noted, who achieved some success.

    I’m happy for James’ success, even though I have no plans to read her new book. The smugness I sense from those spewing hate is disheartening. Read the book and comment or move on. You don’t look or sound trendy by following the hate crowd.

    Thanks for starting this discussion. It has really bothered me to see this awful behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a great discussion post. I feel that we live in an era where negativity is so hounded on, that people (not all) can’t look at the positive outcomes as mentioned in your post, the other books that got a chance to be seen. And not just other books but let’s think this way, other authors, other contracts, other platforms, the genre to be less hated on and more accepted. And yes E.L. James writing/content is hella problematic, however we don’t have to dismiss that negative to see the positive which is what I love about your post because you conveyed that so well. Also, it saddens me that readers start to feel ashamed of their reading preferences when the community starts to bash. I wish that wasn’t so. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You bring up interesting points, and I agree with what you bring up. I think another layer of complexity to the “edginess” of hating FSOG is the overall culture of degrading Chick Lit/romance stories as inferior forms of storytelling and the cultural pressure for women to not be sexual creatures capable of and deserving of seeking pleasure. There’s an unconscious internalized bias and shame that I have realized as a result of how society looks at romance stories, and I am sure that I’m not alone. Add to it that these books were all for the female sexual gratification and wish fulfillment, and naturally people want to begrudge it.

    Additionally, the fact that FSOG was “Twilight” fanfiction (another genre of fiction heavily looked down on), and written as poorly as the source material, gave people the free reign. I mean, I am not a fan of the Twilight books, but I at least read the first book for myself to see it for myself before forming my own damn opinion. I think the majority of people talking shit feel superior for not consuming those types of stories because of the internalized shame, often without even reading it for yourself first.

    I am glad that these books exist for the people that want to consume them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wholeheartedly agree with you, but more than all this, I think the book community has become a little bit mean and a little bit inconsiderate of how we treat people. Between the absolute smashing EL James has received, to the way Amie Kaufman (who was 7 months pregnant) and Jay Kristoff were abused on social media, I think it’s time the book community had a good, hard look at itself.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly!! The US got copies of Memento without having to buy another copy of Aurora Rising (seriously, I’m going to end up with 6 copies at this rate), and the rest of us have to pay an arm in postage. It’s kind of mean to then complain that a website crashed but a bookstore is still taking walk in and phone orders. I’m in Australia, literally the same city as Jay and Amie (so I get everything signed and that’s awesome and I love them), but we always miss out on pre-order incentives and fancy editions unless we pay A LOT or happen to have a friend who lives in the US. But you don’t seen me ripping them to pieces and saying how unfair it is! Why can’t we all just get along?!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hmm. These books ARE polarizing, aren’t they? I’ve read them, I have zero shame in saying that. I’m glad that it’s well-known at this point how problematic they are, how anti-feminist, and that it’s generally understood that the writing isn’t great. So I’m not necessarily a fan. BUT. I AM a fan, a huge fan, of absolutely anything that gets people reading, because some of those people are going to go, “You know, I really enjoyed that. What else is out there?” FSOG and the Twilight series were gateway books for a lot of people, and that makes me happy. (And when it comes to Twilight, Christina Lauren, one of my favorite writing duos, started out writing Twilight fanfic together, so I’m SUPER glad they found each other through that fandom!)

    The best thing about blockbuster successes like FSOG is that the money they make the publishing industry helps fund other books and allows agencies and publishing houses to take on new authors. THAT alone is a reason to celebrate their success, even if I don’t personally enjoy the books.

    I *can* sympathize with writers who are upset that their better-written material hasn’t yet been published and yet FSOG exists- it’s a frustrating feeling working SO hard on something, only to see something of lesser quality heralded in the way FSOG has been. That, I totally understand, and I think those are perfectly natural feelings. We’ve all been in a situation when we knew our creation was better but someone else got the accolades while ours was ignored, and it’s a crummy feeling.

    I have mixed feelings about FSOG and E.L. James, but for me, it’s better to focus on the many positives that were created in the wake of FSOG. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not going to hate on FSOG. I liked it when I read it. I found the whole series rather addicting. I did not, however, like his POV books. I only read the first. I wasn’t a fan of the first movie. I did get a chance to meet EL James at a book signing in Seattle where she randomly popped up, and she is super nice. She signed anything for a long time when she wasn’t supposed to. I also had a chance to listen to her speak at BB18, and she is such an interesting person. Even if I read and don’t like The Mister, I wouldn’t hate on her or what she puts out into the world. She has her niche.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. THIS THIS THIS. I will shout this to the roof tops. I feel like it’s a brand with the Book Community to bash FSOG and EL James just because the majority didn’t like her work. Is her work the next Moby Dicks or Jane Austen. LOL no. Is it problematic? LOL yes. But did it effect people in a positive/healthy way? YES.

    Like you, FSOG showed me a different side to the romance genre, and opened my eyes to a whole subgenre of similar books that were hidden because of societies belief system that no one should speak of/talk about those types of things. Back then, if you read romance you kept that shit hush hush. But I really think EL James in all her not so great writing, ninja-kicked the fuck out of that door and made a gateway for people to waddle into the romance world. Because of FSOG we were able to freely discuss without (partially) shame that we indeed liked romance.

    The portion of this that chalks my hide is that folks who didn’t recieve an ARC of her newest novel, were already spreading hate even before it was released–solely because of her previous work. I feel like this is some next level hipcrosy because I bet they don’t want their work to be judged by their beginning.

    The book community needs to sit down and get itself together, and really do some thinking, because their war cries are really starting to become censorship–which as a community we all volley against when public schools ban books…aren’t we doing the same thing with EL James?

    I’m rambling. let me stop now. GREAT DISCUSSION POST KAYLA. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a great discussion, Kayla! ❤ I haven't read Fifty Shades, but I agree that it isn't deserving of all the hate it receives. Regardless of how problematic the series may be, it's so sad to see people refusing to read the author's new works because of all the negative feedback gained from FSOG. In the end, I think everyone needs to take a chill pill and realize that we all have different tastes in books, and not be so willing to attack an author for publishing content that doesn't conform with our personal standards.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have been reading romance for the better part of my life, around 25 years., and FSOG didn’t make any difference in my reading experience or choice of books to read. When this series was released I read an excerpt and was confused why so many people loved it. Even my mom (awkward!). I think ELJ is one of the most overrated, overpaid, unskilled authors on this planet and I think she is now sitting in her multi-million dollar home, counting the money she makes every minute of the day and doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks about her stories. 😂

    See, my issue isn’t with her. At all. What bugs me though is that a below mediocre author sells books like nobody’s business and others, more talented authors, fight to be seen.

    I’m not bashing FSOG or The Mister when I say ELJ is a crappy writer. I read enough to be able to make that judgement (and that’s why we are bloggers after all). I can’t speak for the majority of readers but I doubt it’s jealousy – it would make much more sense if other authors were bashing The Mister. I think she’s just really bad and the ratings of The Mister show it. FSOG was a phenomena that was an overnight success – kudos to ELJ because she recognized and filled a niche but that doesn’t make her a good writer. Just my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. If this is your first Discussion post you are on the right track… Great topic, I have often wonder why it becomes a trend to hate something that even if it’s not the greatest work was loved by so many… and it helped build the ground work for the much better books we have today … And this doesn’t happen only with Elle James… Don’t you remember the Twilight crusade (it was so popular to trash those books) and Now we have the Sarah J. Maas Bandwagon… Let us just enjoy what we want… even if you think it’s awful, you are not the one reading it.. and in case you are well then you are the one with the problem…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Love this discussion post and agree, agree, agree!!! Yes, the movies sucked, but FSOG was totally addictive and I found Christian’s crazy so interesting. It’s so strange to me to hear all the ranting prior to The Mister’s release and disappointing to hear so many bashing it now. I’m curious anyway and will still read it for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know from our numerous discussions that I always love me a crazy love interest lol! So at the time seeing reading about how crazy was so addicting to me. I hope you enjoy her newest release. I recently finished it and it’s not as bad as some people were saying.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Well that’s basically what I said in another post when I owned to loving FSOG while so many debased it! But try as they might haters have to recognize that she opened the doors to a genre that was undercover before!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for this post! A lot of people feel like they have to hate the book, instead of appreciating how much awareness it has brought to the BDSM and kink community. So many people know what safewords and limits are because of these books, and that is awesome! As a submissive myself, I was so happy to know that the lifestyle is becoming less and less taboo.

    Liked by 1 person

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