Erotic content in the novel and statistical data on sales (a large share of buyers were married women over their thirties) were the reasons the novel was unofficially titled “mother’s porn”, which was used in the press later. The second largest audience of the novel was teenagers and female students.
The plot of the novel tells us about Anastasia Steele — a shy virgin, studying literature in the North-West of the United States — who hires room together with her close friend, a fellow student Catherine “Kate” Kavanagh. A week before the graduation from the University, Anastasia replaces Kate at her request to interview a young handsome billionaire Christian Gray. The interview goes not as planned and Anastasia do not hope to see Christian ever again. Suddenly, Gray appears in the hardware store where she works, and buys some cable ties, adhesive tape, rope, ad a couple of workers suit. Refreshed relation goes more intimate, and Anastasia learns about secret sexual passions the rich man has, and becomes the object of his obsession and, overcoming her fears and doubts, participates in Christian’s unusual fantasies…
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The success of Fifty Shades of Grey is largely due to the large selling of its electronic version. The novel became the first Amazon Kindle book sold in the amount of one million copies. This success can be partly attributed to the fact that people often feel embarrassed buying printing erotic publications at the store and choose their electronic versions, which they can also read on electronic devices in public service vehicles.
The book has received both positive and negative critical reviews. Due to the original positioning of the novel as the fan fiction in the Twilight series, it received criticism related to possible copyright infringement. April Elliston, professor at Princeton University, said: Not being a masterpiece of literature, Fifty Shades of Grey is a lot more than a parasitic FanFic in the Twilight Universe.
In March 2012, the public library of Florida removed all copies of the novel from the public fund, citing non-compliance with the selection criteria and negative critical reviews. A library spokeswoman said the reason was the novel sexual content and the fact that other library refused to buy the book for their funds. Representatives of the American Library Association recognized this as incorrect and contrary to the needs and desires of readers. The Library of Florida returned the book to the public access later.
The novel was not only accused of being an often reason for calling firefighters to free handcuffed people, but is also held responsible for the growth of infectious sexually transmitted diseases among the people over 45. Charlotte Jones, the Chairman of a Committee of the British Medical Association, believes that the novel encouraged the older people to “research” in their bedrooms. Harry Walker, a representative of the Family Planning Association and Public Health England confirmed the trend and called for caution, the use of condoms, and timely diagnosis.
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