I am back in the land of the living.

After feeling fifty shades of horrendous for an entire week in bed, I finally managed to stay awake for a whole day today and am literally feeling human again. I am still dizzy and incredibly weak but at least I can reply to a few emails, so if you haven’t heard from me yet, you will do in the next couple of days.

Given my newfound ability to stay awake, I thought now might be a good time to start reading a book again. I finished Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James just before I started chemotherapy and I have to say, it was a handy companion to have throughout my recovery from surgery. I received the second and third books in the trilogy from two of my best friends, but not before Lindsey checked with her workmate whether or not it was appropriate to give pornographic literature to her friend who had just had breast cancer surgery. Anyway, as I am now feeling slightly more coherent and about to start Fifty Shades Darker, I figured now might be a good time to offer up my analysis of the first novel in the trilogy. Here are my conclusions:

Fifty Shades of Grey is an excellent choice of reading for the cancer-hospital waiting room. It seems there is no shame to be found any more in reading trashy ‘mummy porn’ and the book will draw conversation from nurses, receptionists and patients alike at any of Manchester’s private or public hospitals. It is also perfectly acceptable behaviour to shout across said hospital waiting room to be overheard by numerous aging, grey-faced cancer patients to enquire about which book one is currently on.

The character of Anastasia Steele seems a little incongruous with her contemporaries. Let’s cast aside the fact that she is a stunning, funny and intelligent 21 year old girl in the U S of A who has never even got drunk, let alone had a boyfriend or had sex. The real surprise to me was that she is a sharp, witty, English literature graduate from a top American university yet she has never even had an e-mail address, let alone a personal computer or mobile internet device. This in 2011, readers. 2011, a year when Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are household names across the globe and ‘to Google’ is a recognised verb in the Oxford English Dictionary. And she wears a tankini. I do find it all a touch odd.

As much as our Anastasia doesn’t really add up, she at least makes for an enjoyable read. Despite what they say, it’s more of a love story than a porno novel – like I said in a previous post, there was no sex until approximately page 100, and according to an article in the Daily Mail’s Femail section (it’s in the Mail so it’s true), we women spend longer reading the dialogue between Ana and Mr Grey than we do over the naughty bits. So there.

It is also an easy read. And by that I mean that there is literally no reading between the lines required. And by that I mean that you do not have to have any imagination because every single thing is explained so that even my 2 1/2 year old niece couldn’t fail to understand it (though she is very clever indeed). And by that I mean that it is written v-e-r-y  s-i-m-p-l-y. Here is my favourite quote to illustrate this point:

Her brow furrows, but she glances up and attracts the attention of one of the waiters, pointing to our glasses. He nods. He understands the universal language of “another round please.”

And another fave to illustrate the extreme level of cheese:

My subconscious has found her Nikes, and she’s on the starting blocks.

All the above said, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and strangely unputdownable read and I shall be cracking on with book two without further ado.

Finally, my recommendation to the colleague in Dublin whose 12 year old daughter wishes to read this book is: lock her in her room and make 100% certain she never gets access to this piece of literature for at least another 20 years.