I won’t tell you not to read Fifty Shades of Grey and its accompanying sequels, all written by E.L. James. It’s against every grain of my librarian instinct to try to prevent reading, or to shame people over their reading choices. But I can’t keep silent either.
I’m partway through the book – reading it together with a friend – and I feel like there are a few things I have to put out there that have really troubled me as I’ve worked my way through the story. I’m not looking to turn people off the books, but I do hope that anyone who chooses to read them will do so with a bit more critical thought for having heard what I’ve got to say.
Image via Library Ghost.
Winter, 1937. It was a bitterly cold night in Evansville, Indiana, the kind of snowy winter night that sees most citizens buried under as many blankets as they can gather together. But at least one citizen was up and about – a solitary janitor whose name has been lost to posterity. He worked nights at beautiful Willard Library, keeping the building safe and warm by maintaining the coal-powered furnace overnight and attending whatever mundane maintenance tasks couldn’t be tackled during the day, when people came in for quiet reading and study. In the early hours before dawn, as our hard-working janitor descended to the basement to stoke the fires yet again, he saw something he would likely never forget.
There was a lady there, clad all in gray, from the veil upon her head to the shoes on her feet. In the dim light, even her skin seemed gray. How could a woman possibly have gotten into the building? The flustered janitor fumbled his flashlight; it hit the hard ground, but it didn’t go out. He watched in shock as the woman before him dissolved into shadows, as if she had never been there.