I’ve finally read that 50 Shades book. I know I am behind the times. Living abroad, I often find myself out of sync with what’s going on in the States. Being a weirdo, I often find myself out of sync with the human race, but that’s another story. Apparently this 50 Shades thing is old news to the point that the movie is coming out and I’ve just read the book. Anyone else behind the times out there?
As an aside, I read 12 Years a Slave at university if that scores me any points for cultural hipness.
I first heard about this book about a year ago in the supermarket of all places. A new supermarket opened up in our neighborhood and 50 Shades was one of their grand opening promotional items – only 30 zloty. Several stacks of books took up an end-of-aisle display, and I decided to give it a look. I looked. I scanned. I put it back.I bought bread and milk. Exciting day, it was.
Later one of my students asked me if I had read it. She read half and said it wasn’t worth reading further. I forgot about it.
Once not long after that when I went to help my 15-year-old neighbor with her homework, I noticed her mother was reading the book, the last of three in the series, as it turned out. The mother, about my age, asked me if I had read the books. I replied that I had not. Despite being deep into the third book, she did not recommend them either.
50 Shades of neighborhood Mom: Don’t read them. They’re not any good.
50 Shades of Amerykanka: Really? A lot of people all over the world have read them and the first book was on special at the new market. Isn’t that the third book?
50 Shades of Mom: OK, they’re good but not in the way you think. They’re kind of funny.
50 Shades of Amerykanka: Like funny, strange or funny ha, ha. (Yes, I am a conversational wizard).
50 Shades of Mom: So what would you say if you were in a room with a hot, sexy guy and he said he doesn’t make love, he only fucks?
50 Shades of Amerykanka: I’d probably laugh.
50 Shades of Mom: Exactly. I’d laugh too.
50 Shades of Amerykanka: Yeah, laugh and leave.
50 Shades of Mom: Oh no, I’d still fuck him, but I’d have a good laugh first.
Later while helping the daughter with her homework…
50 Shades of hormone-filled teenage girl: I read those books when my mom wasn’t home. They’re awesome.
Aww shucks. We started out together reading books in English, books such as Harry Potter, then we graduated to Twilight. I didn’t exactly know what was going to be next after Twilight but 50 Shades seems like a pretty big jump.
Even with all the hubbub, I still hadn’t read them. It’s not that I am a prude. It is more that I am never on the cusp of a trend. Not being up with the times means that you often don’t know what people are talking about. On the upside every time you fly, all the movies are new. Try it.
Finally, while visiting our village library, the librarian, a lovely lady who gives the library a real spirit and can only be described as serdeczna asked me if I wanted to be on the waiting list for 50 Shades in Polish. Apparently the book was racing through our village like wild fire. Again, I wondered, who is the target audience of this book and if it is as awful as everybody says, why is it so popular?
In the end, I did read it. I don’t know what logarithm my digital library uses but the book was constantly on my recommended list. I decided to give it a read.
It wasn’t awful, but here’s the problem with me and all books, films, television series – I often have a problem identifying with the main character. When I read Twilight with my teenaged neighbor I told her I couldn’t believe Bella would give up her life for her first boyfriend ever and anyway how could she do that to her father. The girl said, “Huh?” So in 50 Shades, I tried to remember that the characters are in their 20’s and what kind of person I was in my twenties and how I would have reacted at that age. I tried to identify to no avail. Basically, I think too much. I need to chill. Do they still use the word “chill”?
50 Shades is not the best book I have read recently, but I’d recommend it at least to know what people are talking about. The English version is way shorter than the Polish version. I know, because in the end I persuaded my husband to borrow it from the village library. At least when I was reading it on my Kindle, nobody knew I was reading “that sex book”. Totally inkoguto.
I don’t want Misiu to read it for any tips in the bedroom – he hasn’t started it yet. I suspect he may find the book a bit amusing as well. I want him to evaluate the translation. Some of my Polish friends said the book was vulgar. I didn’t find it vulgar in English. Detailed perhaps, but not vulgar. I also made him read some Marek Krajewski books with me in Polish and English. Result – Krajewski’s books have the same weird vibe in English as they do in Polish. Bravo to the translator.
I am most interested in the opinion of a friend who strangely enough started with book 2 in Polish. He plans to read book 3 in German which is universally heralded as the language of romance and sexuality, isn’t it? I’ve encouraged him to read book 1 first and in English before the German book 3. We’ll see which language is best suited to this kind of literature.
Other translating issues…
Every single day…
The short version…
It could happen to you…
A “thanks” to the Kindle which hides all my sins…
Can’t resist a good “pacz” joke…
And just in case they make a Polish version…
*You knew I was going to write that, didn’t you?