\"50

Fifty Shades of Green - formerly reserved Catholic Ireland goes wild for 'mommy porn'

\"50

Ireland has taken to risky novels with great gusto Twitter's #IrishShadesofGrey proves
God be with the days when Ireland was famous for banning "dirty" books by writers like James Joyce, Edna O'Brien and John McGahern.  

These days Irish women readers can't get enough of Fifty Shades of Grey.  The three books in the so-called “mommy porn” trilogy have been sitting in the top three slots in the Irish bestseller charts for the past 12 weeks and counting. Fifty Shades of Grey is the fastest-selling paperback ever here. 

I'm not sure what that says about Irish women.   Either they're much more liberated, or they're no longer able to distinguish between good writing and stuff that is so bad it's laughable.  Or both. 

One thing that is clear, however, is that even if we've lost our Catholic standards, we haven't lost our sense of humor. 

Twitter and the Internet here have been buzzing over the past week with the Irish take on the bondage/S&M bestseller.  You could call it Fifty Shades of Green.  

On Twitter the hashtag #IrishShadesofGrey.   The following are some of the best, beginning with my favorite: 

 *”Give it to me, give it to me” he roared aggressively ... some days Mary hated working at Ulster Bank.

*Bríd's knees were sore and her throat was raw...this was the longest Novena she'd ever attended.

*Una gave it to him exactly as he demanded: bald, smooth and hot, melting inside ... nothing beats a boiled egg.

*"I want you to tie me down for 18 months and treat me like dirt," she said ....the man from Vodafone got the contract out.

*She opened her mouth and got ready to take it ...  then the priest pressed the Communion wafer on her tongue.

*Mary's mouth watered as his thrusts quickened.....but he still couldn't open the CapriSun with his straw.

*Creamy froth erupted over her face and hair ..  Mary hated it when she sneezed into her pint of Guinness.

*Seanie admired what he saw. Mary spread them like no one else could. He loved his Kerrygold on toast.

*She collapsed, exhausted, exhilarated, for the third time.  As he started again, Mary pleaded, “Not another Siege of Ennis."

*She could barely contain her excitement as she breathed in the heady scent of bacon and cabbage.

*"Take me, take me now!" demanded Derbhla, "or we'll miss 12 o'clock Mass."

*Beating away at it, she built up the rhythm. Mary got so excited about how her bodhran playing had improved.

*She wasn’t exactly beautiful -- but she had land with good road frontage.

*Brid cried out a little as she was stretched further than she thought possible. Why did the Irish Countrywomen's Association start Pilates classes?

*He took a breath. “Will ya come back to mine? Mammy’s gone to Lough Derg for the weekend and she left a pot of stew.”

*Teresa squeezed her fingers against it and took a sniff. Yes, this Brennans Bread was fresh.

*Fumbling in the dark his finger found the spot. By pressing softly, she roared into life. His first automatic lawn mower.

*On her knees and obedient once more, she suppressed a submissive thrill. He would never know how much she loved Mass.

*Slowly he ran his finger down the middle, parting the pink softness, feeling the moist sticky center. He loved a Mikado.

*Plug it in, he said. "I've never used one of these before," she replied. Excited, she nervously turned on the Soda Stream.

*It felt smooth, firm and long in her hands. “God,” said the camogie girl, “it's hard to bate a good hurley.”

*Spread 'em, he said gruffly. Margie looked dolefully at the bags of fertilizer destined for the back field.

*She gushed, taken aback by request. "Of course I’ll do a reading Father."

Demand in Ireland for Fifty Shades has been so high that some bookshops ran out last week.   The man who runs one of the biggest bookshops in the center of Dublin told me that when he got fresh supplies in last week he was selling them at the rate of 10 an hour.  He's now out of them again. 

Some news reports here last week pointed out that the real sales of Fifty Shades are far higher than the bestseller list indicates since it covers only the print edition.  The theory is that many women are downloading the book onto e-readers like the Kindle.  This allows them to read the book anywhere without  the tell tale cover betraying what they are engrossed in.

But the bookshop manager I spoke to strongly disagrees.  He says that although e-book sales of Fifty Shades may be high, all the women who are buying the print copies in his shop are very upfront about it and show no embarrassment whatsoever. 

Even without e-book sales being counted, sales volumes so far of Fifty Shades here now exceed those of any other adult title since records began.  The speed of sales is even faster than of The Da Vinci Code.  Only the Harry Potter books sold faster here, and they are in the children/young adult category. 

All of which is a complete mystery to yours truly.   Why so many Irish women -- and over 15 million in the U.S. -- should be reading this rubbish is beyond me.   There's a difference between writing that is merely explicit and writing that's erotic.

Dip into Fifty Shades anywhere (hey, it's my job, I'm a books editor) and you will find writing that is so poor it's a joke.  It's explicit but so clunky and cheesy that it's about as titillating as a wet Monday afternoon at Knock.

You probably know that the novel features the submissive-dominant relationship between young college grad Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, a rich media tycoon in his late 20s.

Abused as a child, he is obsessed with control.   She allows him to subjugate her, which includes her being blindfolded, spanked and whipped with a riding crop -- among other kinky routines. 

Some of the naughtiest stuff takes place in the "Red Room of Pain" in Grey's mansion. But it's hard to take seriously when Anastasia exclaims things like "Holy crap!" or "Holy s***!" or even "Holy Moses!" at the appropriate moments.

Some of the more laughable stuff cannot be quoted here but the following lines give some idea of the level: "Suddenly, he sits up and tugs my panties off and throws them on the floor. Pulling off his boxer briefs, his erection springs free. Holy Cow! . . . He kneels up and pulls a condom on to his considerable length. Oh no . . . Will it? How?"

It's so poor it's almost comic, before quickly becoming seriously boring. 

For something really erotic, you need a real writer, like Booker Prize winning author John Banville. 

Banville is not only Ireland's greatest living novelist, but one of the finest writers in the English language anywhere.   Yet despite his status his new novel, Ancient Light, which was published on this side of the Atlantic last week and will appear in the U.S. in October, has caused mild shock among some of his readers here. 

The reason is that the new novel centers on a taboo affair, a summer of love in a small town in 1950s Ireland between a 15-year-old boy and his best friend's mother, who is 35.   It's not Fifty Shades, of course, although the woman involved happens to be a Mrs. Gray. 

Fifty Shades is explicit but so badly written it's risible  rather than erotic.  Banville's novel is the reverse, and it's already being hailed by the critics as a masterpiece. 

The writing is as vivid, intense and literary as all his work.  It explores the relationship between the boy and the 35-year-old woman in beautiful prose in a non-judgmental way, highlighting the extraordinary intensity of how the boy feels.

It's occasionally explicit, from the grapplings between the pair in the back of her car to an oral sex scene in a river.  

In comparison, Fifty Shades is as erotic as the Bible.

COMMENTS

Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:


Already have an account ?

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.


Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: