With the phenomenal success of the author E. L. James, and her Fifty Shades Trilogy, I was saddened to see so many otherwise excellent writers and novelists queuing to take pot shots at both her and her work.
Have these people become so pretentious and arrogant, or so envious, or so greedy, or so threatened, that they feel the need to castigate the work of a fellow author? I am sure that, at some stage, each of them must have suffered from cruel and scathing criticisms of their own work. Can they not remember how hurtful and soul destroying such criticism can be, or do they think that by ‘knocking the competition’ they will somehow further their own careers and promote their own work?
In recent years, we in the west seem to have developed a very cruel streak, and this business of brutal critical analysis, and make no mistake it is a business, has always held some sort of place in literature, as it has in life. It is, however, only recently that the lynch-mob mentality of scathing literary criticism has begun to infect the authorial ranks.
We, as authors, are the poorer for it.
I make it a principle never to comment on the work of my fellow authors, and I will make no exception here, but I will say this. . . Fifty Shades of Grey has performed a tremendous service for literature, because it has brought millions of people, who otherwise may never have read a novel or purchased an e-reader, and introduced or re-introduced them to the joy of losing oneself among the pages of a novel.
I must admit that when I read of so many millions buying the books of E.L. James, rather than mine, I am also a little green, but my green is a healthy shade of green. My green is the natural envy of one novelist for the staggering success of another. It does not, and I hope it never will, manifest itself in vitriol and derision.
As a child I was taken to my local cinema to see the feature cartoon Bambi. That film, as with so many of Walt Disney’s masterpieces, left me with fond memories and enduring lessons. They are memories and lessons that I have carried with me throughout life. In Bambi it was the endearing ‘Thumper’ who so awkwardly and famously said. . .
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all!”
Where is today’s moral guidance to come from, if it is not from the very people who write to entertain, to teach, to guide, to fuel imagination, and to inspire?
Have a good one.