"All the women here, their husbands should be very happy" that their wives have read the book, said Tina Catindig, 34, of Bothell, looking around at some of the 600 people who attended the book signing by author E.L. James on Saturday at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park.
The racy novel and its sequels, "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed," occupy three of the top five spots on the New York Times fiction bestseller list. Each has been on the list for more than six months. A movie is in the works.
The books are about a young, very wealthy Seattle man named Christian Grey who is interviewed for a student newspaper by a shy young woman named Anastasia Steele.
The two embark on what may be called an unconventional sexual relationship. Some feminist writers have said the nature of that relationship degrades and objectifies women.
Most of those at the signing -- the overwhelming majority of whom were female -- did not seem to share that view.
"I thought it was an amazing love story," said Missy Jackson, 36, of Bothell.
Several others also described it as a love story, including Ariel Boat, 18, of Puyallup.
"The other part's good, too," she said.
Adrienne Houck, 36, of Edmonds, however, said she was a little troubled by the first book. She said it came close to crossing the line between "consensual adults and abuse."
In the next two books, the relationship evolved, she said.
"The building of trust on both sides was an important factor," Houck said.
One fan said there's more to the book than its reputation might indicate.
"It's not this big romance novel," said Mandie Cloer, 26, of Seattle. "It's a deeper story about a very troubled man,"
James, 49, lives in London. She reportedly was inspired by the "Twilight" series in writing the first book, which explains its setting in Portland and Seattle.
James did not speak or do interviews at the event. Fans received tickets in one of two ways: by buying one of the books in the trilogy from Third Place Books or by bringing in a copy, purchased anywhere.
Fans were organized by letter, A through M, based on when they obtained their tickets. Lines were formed one letter at a time.
The signing went smoothly, said Steve Winter, a supervisor at the bookstore.
"It's the perfect blend of her signing quickly but also taking the time to greet people by name and say hello," he said.
Tina Catindig and four of her friends were the first group in line. Nikka Catindig of Everett, related to Tina by marriage, said she was there at 3:30 p.m. for the 5 p.m. event.
"This book changed my life," she said. "You talk to my husband."
A few women brought their husbands or boyfriends along, but men were few and far between.
"There's only four men here and three of them are cops," joked Larry Yohn, 53, of Lynnwood, who tagged along to the event with his wife, Sheri, 48.
She said she's gotten her husband to start reading the books.
"I like the love story part," she said.
"B.S.," Larry said.
"He calls it 'Fifty Shades of Porn,'" Sheri said.
"We've been married 28 years," her husband commented.
"Now we might go another 28," Sheri said, laughing.
Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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