The Fifty Shades trilogy of erotic romance novels has been a publishing sensation, with over seventy million copies sold worldwide since the first volume appeared in 2011. Clearly, Fifty Shades is a cultural phenomenon worth serious scrutiny, and sociologist Eva Illouz provides it in this short, engaging book. Illouz first places the trilogy in the context of best-seller publishing, then delves into the nature of its appeal. She argues that the Fifty Shades trilogy is neither “mommy porn” nor anti-feminist hackwork. Rather, she shows that it affords intense reading pleasure to many women readers because it resonates with the sociological structure of men’s and women’s relationships today. Fifty Shades, she argues, is a gothic romance adapted to modern times in which sexuality is a source both of division between men and women and a site to orchestrate their reconciliation. But Illouz also wants to show that BDSM is as much a cultural as a sexual fantasy, for it functions here as a self-help category, a guide to a happier romantic life. In other words, Fifty Shades is genre fiction that weaves together a commentary on the deprived condition of love and sexuality, a romantic fantasy, and self-help instructions on how to improve the reader’s life.