I Read “Mummy Porn” Before It Was Cool

My first foray in the world of adult literature was at the young age of ten or eleven when my mother gave me a huge stack of Mills & Boons novels to read. At the time my reading and spelling abilities were below the average for my age and my mother assured me that reading filth would help.

Being young and slightly innocent, I had no knowledge of Mills & Boons but my older sister quickly informed me that they were basically pornographic fiction. Back then I knew what sex was, well the basics, but Mills & Boons open my eyes into a sub-culture of sex that I didn’t know existed.

The ever growing popularity of the international best seller 50 Shades of Grey has put filthy literature back on the map (and I use the term literature very loosely). Now this article is not another comical analysis of why 50 Shades of Grey sucks. In fact seeing as I haven’t nor do I have any immediate plans to read into the hype, I feel my critique on the new craze will be based on my bias and love of real literature and the classics.

Still I can’t help but read the humorous criticisms and laugh where appropriate. I have read some of the best/worst lines from the book and I have come to the conclusion that it is simply not my cup of tea but I can’t judge those millions who have drank from Mr Grey’s dirty cup.

As a budding writer, I hope to one day publish a novel that will receive great success and I owe my passion for this vocation to those filthy Mills & Boons novels that my mother made me read all those years ago. The first class honours degree in Creative Writing and Journalism that I recently received is proof that reading filth helped me one way or the other. No, it didn’t help me become a better writer but it stirred a fascination for the written word in me that has motivated me to write and read every single day.

When I think of Mills & Boons, literature is the last thing that comes to mind but those books educated me on the basics of language and filled me with the confidence to read more literary advance works by authors like Dickens, Wolfe, Plath and others and so for this I am eternally grateful that those filthy books exist.

It is for this reason that despite my distaste that society and mainstream media feels the need to a praise a piece of work that originated as fan fiction for a boring and poorly written novel, (I didn’t finish Twilight but seeing as I read some of it, I think it’s appropriate to comment), the eleven year old in me feels the need to somewhat defend it.

To me E.L. James and writers like her aren’t authors, they are entrepreneurs who saw a gap in the writing market and capitalised on it and for that they deserve much respect. As a writer, I still haven’t made £50 from my fiction yet James as made $50million to date. Now I do not envy James for this, I’m happy for her, after all the purpose of writing is to be read and she has certainly achieved this thing that many writers, who are probably far more talented than James have failed to do.

When I finally make a name for myself as a writer and people ask me about my literary history, for me it will start with Mills & Boons not Catcher in the rye or The Great Gatsby, it will be some filthy novel with a title that I cannot remember and I and fine with that.

Stephenie Meyer inspired James to make $50 million; I hope one day my fascination for literature which began with Mills & Boons will inspire me to also achieve some kind of greatness.

I guess what I am trying to say is that these ‘mummy porn’ novels as they have been dubbed by the media are gate-way books into literature. For an aspiring writer like myself, I couldn’t be more delighted that people have become fascinated with books again, even if their fascination begins with 50 Shades of Grey.