Everything old is new again. After is in the news and E.L. James has a book coming out.
I humbly answer your call.
The Mister, James’s first non-Fifty Shades of Grey novel, is out tomorrow. When it hits my Kindle tonight at midnight, I’ll be reading it and, yes, recapping it here. But rather than make it a selection of the Jealous Haters Book Club (which already has a current resident), I’m giving it a second chance. It’s going to be the Second Chance Book Club, for a few reasons.
Though it seems like only yesterday, Fifty Shades of Grey was published eight years ago. That’s eight years for James to have grown and evolved as a writer, and as a person. Maybe she doesn’t find intimate partner abuse as spine-tingling and sexy as she used to. Sure, she wrote Grey and Darker in that time frame and they somehow turned out more disturbing than their source material, but those actually give me some hope for The Mister; instead of writing how romantic and wonderful Christian Grey was from his own POV, she made him the abusive monster critical readers actually saw the first time around.
In any case, when James was writing Grey and Darker, she was yolked to the Fifty Shades of Grey storyline. She couldn’t change anything about the plot, characterization, or dynamics. On top of that, Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t even really hers. Everyone and their mother will argue these days that plagiarism isn’t really plagiarism until it happens to [redacted cattiness], but the fact remains that while Fifty Shades of Grey might belong to James materially, the story and characters are not hers. In The Mister, she’s going to have to show readers what she can come up with on her own, without taking from another author. Considering my own fanfic background and the fanfic backgrounds of other authors, I’m actually really excited to see what happens to James when the training wheels come off. Fanfic communities tend to breed good authors. Maybe a book with characters and events that weren’t stolen from someone else for profit will turn out better than Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels did.
That’s why this isn’t going to be a Jealous Haters Book Club event. I plan on busting through this one with shorter, more frequent recaps, the way I did the first Fifty Shades of Grey recaps before I hit the wall of, “What am I reading? Is this real life?” and the whole thing spun off into 3,000-5,000 word installments of me gnashing my teeth and wanting to slap women in public. Expect to see the pace pick up here at the blog in wall-to-wall The Mister posts for a while. Everything else is going on hold. We are entering a Trout Nation state of emergency.
Everybody limber up.