When you position something as controversial in any media space the appeal spirals to dizzying heights… and literature is no exception. I remember as recent as a couple of years ago going through my old books and deciding to donate a series of old Babysitters Club novels to my local second hand book store. Only to be knocked back by the lady behind the counter who stated they didn’t support that kind of literature. I was quite taken a back that this mid-80s book series Babysitters Club was considered risqué.
Upon retelling this story to my book buddy recently, our conversation turned to scandalous books and the new novel, Tampa by Alissa Nutting, and it’s recent ban from several Australian bookstores was the topic of conversation.
People are definitely judging this book by its cover, which suggestively alludes to what is to follow inside. The novel follows Celeste Price a 26 year old high school teacher and sexual predator who is obsessed with 14 year old boys. The school yard provides unlimited access to her sexual obsession and is Celeste’s sole reason for becoming a teacher. Tampa has created a lot of buzz within the Australian book industry with its confronting positioning of females sexual predators, making it easy to hate and having been publicised as one of the most controversial books of the year.
The truth is controversy sells… and 50 Shades of Grey is the proof. Despite criticisms due to the detailed sexually erotic exploits of Christian Grey and many reviews stating it being poorly written, 50 Shades of Grey has topped best-seller lists the world over with the series selling over 70 million copies worldwide and a film in the pipeline for 2014.
Which puts me in a bit of a predicament. I am currently undecided as to whether or not to read this novel, this won’t be a book for everyone but can I challenge myself into reading this. I am intrigued… for me it’s the controversial nature of the topic of female sexual predators being something that isn’t really written about, combined with the power of the media and the sheer volume of attention this book has received, makes me question… To read or not to read?
Watch this space…