For the majority of people, hating a book means they might tweet about it or if it isn’t to their taste, they might bypass it on a trip to the bookshop. However, a UK-based women’s refuge feel so strongly about the perceived message in Fifty Shades of Grey that they are planning a bonfire of the popular novel on November 5 of this year. They are encouraging people to burn their copies of the book, claiming that it glamorises abusive relationships and Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need, has even compared what happens in Christian Grey’s “red room of pain” to what serial killer Fred West inflicted on his victims.
“Our concern is not the graphic depiction of sex — this is an abusive relationship presented as a love story,” she has said. “It normalises abuse, degrades women and encourages sexual violence … Some of what happens in the book, Fred West did to his victims in his cellar. I fail to see what is erotic about that.”
…In a statement about the controversy surrounding the burning of Fifty Shades of Grey, Irish PEN said that the move to burn books is a “step backwards”. “In this case it simplifies the issue of domestic abuse. We ultimately support the freedom of writers and readers, and it is repugnant to PEN to burn books, persecute writers, and support censorship in today’s world. Each year, with this objective, PEN marks the Day of the Imprisoned Writer on November 15 and we look forward to doing so again this year in Dublin.”