Joanne Cannon: 50 Shades of Red

A self-described ‘vanilla girl’ discovers a stimulating read. Her book club has never been the same.

Put me in handcuffs because I am definitely guilty! There is no need to take out the blindfolds, whips and shackles; I willingly confess to enjoying the erotic trilogy “50 Shades of Grey.” 

To those who have refused to embrace these books because of their questionable content, don’t judge me. This was my first time—a virgin, you might say—at reading this naughty genre.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Research dictates Delawareans have the distinct honor of being residents of the one state that ranks “very” high for reading as well as purchasing this trilogy. The Buckleys, proprietors of the Ninth Street Book Shop in Wilmington, revealed that the “50 Shades” are the best-selling books in years. 

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I was raised in a strict Catholic household so believe me when I profess to know guilt. Truth be told, I never heard of some (most) of the sexual antics depicted. I am both proud of and embarrassed by that admission. Nonetheless it was an interesting (stimulating) read.

So how did I get my hands on these dirty little books? During lunch a friend was discussing her latest read and was adamant I read it as well. Succumbing to the hype I diligently proceeded to the book shop. In retrospect it would have been prudent to purchase them on my iPad to prevent the situation that ensued.

Who is the last person a teacher would like to confront with these books enveloped in her arms? A clever deduction would be a student accompanied by her parents. This is the scenario that transpired: A stealth-like student inadvertently sneaks up on me. In my surprise the novels cascade to the ground in surreal slow motion. Student politely retrieves said books and exclaims, “My mom has these.” Cue parents to saunter over. The mom haughtily proclaims that I will find “those” books very pleasurable. The dad smugly smirks. I blush and turn 50 shades of red. What a compromising position (so to speak) to be caught red-handed purchasing appropriately deemed mommy porn. 

I scurry home and commence my homework. Unable to put the book down I come across one of the explicit passages and things start to heat up in the book as well as in me. Only this time it wasn’t a hot flash. Whoa. My husband is sleeping soundly beside me … but not for long.

After work we gather to discuss our reading. This was undoubtedly the best book club as it provoked communication like never before. We shared our enthusiasm and shock with its content. We admitted our naiveté on the subject matter and giggled like teenagers over the deal with those silver balls! We questioned the validity and practicality of having a “better experience” with the full bladder revelation. We expressed both our concern and admiration for the heroine. 

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These books brought new meaning to teacher’s lingo. We can no longer articulate without ambiguity: “I have to write sub plans for tomorrow,” “Did you sign the contract?” “What are you whipping up for dinner?” or, “I’m tied up right now.”

The scuttlebutt is they plan to make a movie. I will be the first in line, although I’m admittedly a “vanilla girl” at heart. Appearing incognito I hope not to run into anyone, but if I do I’m sure to turn 50 shades of red … again! It will so be worth it! 


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