I think all of the prophets got it wrong. 2012 is the end of the “literary” world. In a tech driven society run by tweets and texts, the written word is now endangered. It is as if Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is more prophetic than the Mayan calendar. Proof of my theory lies in the book trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey.
It appears that this is a book series that everyone is talking about, including my high school students. My girls are in love with these books–reminding me of the Twilight craze from a few years back. And just like the Twilight series, my students gave me the Fifty Shades trilogy to read over the summer.
After hearing yet another friend gush over these books, my California sister and I decided we would start reading these books this week. Since we were both English majors in college, it wasn’t surprising that we had the same reaction to the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey. At lunch today, we looked at each other and questioned, how were these books even published?
I only read the first two chapters and that was two chapters too many. The writing is absolutely horrible. I felt like I was reading my students’ daily journals. Run-on sentence after run-on sentence combined with the inability to properly use punctuation made me want to gauge my eyes out. I caught myself rewriting each sentence in my head. My California sister said she did the same thing. I have no idea how an editor even let this waste of words make it to the printing press. I wanted to make the pages bleed with my red correction pen.
I thought the Twilight books were poorly written but they are a thousand times better than this first draft failure. I am terrified that these books are considered best sellers. Shakespeare, Austen, Poe, Hemingway, Twain and countless other literary geniuses are rolling over in their graves.
Don’t get me wrong, we still have some amazing writers out there. I am a huge fan of Dan Brown and Janet Evanovich but our children are not reading those books. I would be happy if my students would go back to reading Harry Potter or the Hunger Games. And I know I should be happy that they are reading more than the 140 characters allowed on Twitter. I am happy that they are reading. Really, I am. But does it have to be this?