“Fifty Shades of Grey” author E.L. James is in the news this week after being flooded by a variety of not-so friendly questions in a Twitter Q&A event promoting her latest book “Grey” the retelling of the Fifty Shades story from the character Christian Grey’s perspective. #AskELJames seemed like a great opportunity for fans of the bestselling erotic trilogy to get to know the author of the hugely popular books. Critics of “Fifty Shades” from all walks of life picked up on the hashtag and skewered James with their questions highlighting the often disturbing and abusive nature of the relationship detailed in the books. Here are the top 5 #AskELJames tweets.
The simplest and most on point of all the questions, the single word “Why?” sums up most of the criticism of James’ work and especially the latest incarnation “Grey.” The Fifty Shades trilogy started out as fan fiction inspired by the “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer, another hugely popular, bestselling book series of dubious literary merit in the eyes of critics. The “Twilight” series, of course, spawned the incredibly successful film adaptations and unleashed sparkly vampires and Robert Pattinson on the world.
“You do realize that if Grey wasn’t a billionaire, the 50 Shades trilogy would be one hell of a Law & Order episode?”
More of a comment than a question, this tweet creates a fantastic juxtaposition between the long-running NBC police procedural and James’ trilogy. Advocates for and survivors of domestic abuse were especially critical of “Fifty Shades” and suggested James donate to charities that combat domestic violence.
“Is it a coincidence that your books and this trash can are the same color?”
This tweet featured a photo of a gray trash can along with the above question. Possibly the funniest tweet of the bunch, the photo added another level to the humor. Others attacked the quality of James’ writing, often with humorous results.
“Did you write intentionally badly so people would suffer pain, but then discover they enjoy it?”
Delving into BDSM culture seemed a major drawing point for fans of the trilogy, but it is also a wellspring of comedy gold. The above tweet criticizes the writing while drawing attention to the BDSM pleasure/pain elements in the books.
“Which do you hate more, women or the English language?”
This tweet is pretty straightforward, criticizing the depiction of women and the writing at the same time. Bestselling author Anne Rice heard about the Twitter situation and defended E.L. James in a statement online. Rice focused on issues of censorship, internet trolls and bullying and then faced backlash herself online in a Huffington Post article by Lev Raphael. Raphael noted that Rice had not actually seen the tweets.
The “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy by E.L. James is available online along with “Grey” her latest book in the series.