Book clubs from coast to coast are apparently raving about a kinky novel published last year called Fifty Shades of Grey, by forty-something British author E.L. James, part of a so-called triple-X trilogy that concerns the sexual game-playing of a bondage-loving billionaire named Christian Grey. The three books (including sequels Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed) are even said to have had a favorable impact on some marriages, as women were "buying their husbands silver ties for Christmas" which resembled the one used by Grey in the book to tie up Anastasia Steele, a young literature student assigned to interview Grey for her campus magazine.
The genesis of the series was actually a Twilight fan-fic story called "Master of the Universe" by a writer called "Snowqueens Icedragon," who turned out to be E.L. James herself. Fifty Shades of Grey has sold over 120,000 copies so far, and was nominated for Best Romance in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards. One fan said of the erotic page-turner, "I would actually give this book infinity stars. It is in a category all by itself."
All that's great, but what does Dr. Drew think? Appearing on the Today show with relationship expert Logan Levkoff, the rehab guru agreed with host Savannah Guthrie that the James trilogy depicts disturbing scenes of violence against women that Jackie Collins couldn't have dreamed of. (Or maybe she could and just didn't write about it.) Pinsky also invoked the serious issue of child abuse, suggesting some oblique connection between the two.
Levkoff took the opposite view, seeing no depiction of violence against women in the books, emphasizing the consensual nature of the role-playing. Dr. Drew conceded that spicing up a marriage is a good thing, but maintained that the rough bondage-play "says something socially about us that's a little bit disturbing." Guthrie wondered if the books weren't a setback for feminism, but Levkoff, who said she'd actually read the books, thought politics shouldn't be injected into the discussion. The question is, is Dr. Drew right in warning against possibly glorifying male violence against women, or is his opinion of women's reading choices simply irrelevant?