Poorly written. Utterly ridiculous. WTF. These are just a few of the choice phrases unhappy readers are tossing around in response to the astoundingly best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey.
Others insist the story is flawless, heartbreaking and deep despite the pornographic prose.
And whether you love it or hate it, there's no doubt this Twilight fan fiction has created a sex-crazed frenzy and made BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism ) the hot topic of discussion after kindergarten play dates (hello, mommy porn).
So what's the real story behind the appeal of this deliciously dirty novel?
Let's start with the taboo factor.
There's no question Fifty Shades is dirty, raunchy and sexually charged—some critics even call it "exploitative, sadistic porn." But ultimately, the secretive factor is part of the appeal.
Ninety percent of sales were discreet ebook downloads, giving readers the opportunity to indulge in a little pornographic prose in very public places. And if you're into an erotic read, Fifty Shades will not disappoint. Here's a taste:
"Hmm...he's soft and hard at once, like steel encased in velvet, and surprisingly tasty — salty and smooth...he's my own Christian Grey flavor popsicle."
OK, we'll stop there and let your imaginations run wild (seriously, the rest is too dirty for print), but no doubt it's tantalizing, taboo and totally twisted in a sexually explicit manner. And come on, who doesn't love that from time to time?
But if the sex appeal doesn't leave you satisfied, perhaps the dominant-submissive relationship between Christian and Ana explains the story's mass appeal to moms everywhere:
"When you're a young mom and everyone depends on you for everything…the idea of having someone take care of you and telling you what to do, even in twisted sense, it rocks their boat." Margot Sage-EL, co-owner of the Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, N.J., told ABC News.
Sorta makes sense, right? From work to kids to homemaking, today's moms have that "do it all 'tude," and with so much on their plates, "they get tired of always being the strong one," couples therapist Marion Solomon explained to ABC News.
The result? The whole sexually submissive-chick schtick starts sounding real friggin' hot—heck, it's even relighting a fire under a lot of marriages (no, we're not kidding).
So as twisted as that all sounds, there's one last huge factor that explains the novel's popularity with a broader audience:
Robert Pattinson Edward and Kristen Stewart Bella.
Remember, it's well known that Fifty Shades began as Twilight fan fiction, and there's no question the mere mention of Bella and Edward sends crazy Twi-hards into fan frenzy. And while it may seem hard to believe, the hard-core porn has a love story behind the sex, giving readers an R-rated romantic taste just where PG-13 Bella and Edward left off.
So there ya have it, Fifty Shades is taboo, tantalizing and based on beloved Robsten—no wonder the story wholly sucks you in.
Either that, or perhaps it's just 'cause no one is having enough sex. You decide.