Monday, June 11, 2012

Sugar and Spice

A friend recently mentioned to me that her adult daughter had given her E.L. James's “Fifty Shades of Grey” to read but with one restriction: "We won’t discuss it."

We laughed about it, and then I thought about some of the other novels that moms and daughters may have shared without discussion. My list is limited to women's fiction published since the 1950s.

The first one that comes to mind is Grace Metalious’s “Peyton Place,” which was published in 1956. I vaguely recall my mother and some of her friends discussing the novel (but not in front of me).

Years later, after I skimmed through it, I wondered, "What's the big deal?" But times had changed and there was more permissiveness and acceptance by the public.

In the 1960s, it was Harold Robbins’s “The Carpetbaggers” (1961) Jacqueline Susann’s “Valley of the Dolls” (1966), and Irving wallace's "The Seven Minutes" (1969).

The 1970s had Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying” (1973), Susann's "Once Is Not Enough" (1973) and Judy Blume’s “Forever…” (1975).

From that point on, practically everything imaginable has found its way into print -- right up to the "Fifty Shades" trilogy.

Are there any novels that you may have shared with your mother or daughter but didn't discuss because of the subject matter?

Until the next time...


  1. Interesting post. You are right, times have changed from the time when Peyton Place seemed taboo, and now 50 Shades of Grey. Literature keeps changing but it seems that people are still interested in the titallating subject of sex and a new point of view about it.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Socorro. It seems like after the 1970s, the floodgate was open and all kinds of stories were being written. There seems to be an acceptance, for the most part, on these novels. Of course, the American Library Association publishes a "banned books" list every year so there are some places where it's a bit more difficult to find "controversial" books.