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Jealous Haters Book Club: The Mister chapter ten or, “E.L. James one-stars Albania”

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IDK about the veracity of a tabloid, but apparently, E.L. James is pretending she’s just like everyone else and has cause to fear that her next book won’t be published. Yes. I’m sure that after writing the fastest-selling book in the U.K. and producing a movie franchise that grossed over a billion dollars, a publisher is going to turn down your manuscript.

In the meantime, The Mister debuts on the New York Times bestseller list…at #2. Great for most authors. Not for one whose previous books all debuted right on top. And as of writing this, James is ranked #79 among authors on Amazon, and The Mister is falling fast in the Kindle store, currently at #46. Again, astounding success for most authors. But one sitting on one of the biggest franchises of all time? Definitely not what most people expected, even with lowered expectations.

Now, as we get further into the story, there is a lot more about sex trafficking and exploitation and stuff, so just keep that in mind if you want a content warning. This is like, a blanket content warning here.

So, Moss is driving down the highway and Demelssia is crying.

How can women cry so quietly?

Years of practice.

I think it’s best if I leave her alone to gather her thoughts. Besides, it’s late, and I have to make some calls.

And he calls people on speakerphone while she’s sitting there crying. I burst out laughing. I’m sorry, but there is some mean little part of me that would find that situation so funny. Someone just being like, “hang on, I have to make a call,” while you’re sitting there sobbing.

Moss calls his estate to see what parts of it are rented out for the next two weeks. Basically, he’s making a reservation to stay at his own house, which I know is probably a thing because nobody can afford to keep one of those places up.

“I need two of the rooms made up and some of my clothes and toiletries brought over from the Hall.”

“You’ll not be staying at the Hall?”

“Not at the moment, no.”

“Two rooms, you say?”

I had hoped for one….

She just. Told you. She. Was. Sex trafficked.

She just told you she was sex trafficked.

SHE JUST TOLD YOU SHE WAS SEX TRAFFICKED.

She’s sitting there crying about her trauma and he’s like, oh, man, too bad I can’t bang her.

SHE JUST TOLD YOU SHE WAS SEX TRAFFICKED!

SEX.

TRAFFICKED.

He tells the woman on the phone, Danny, that he’ll need the piano tuned, as well, and she’s like, oh, they’re all already tuned, blah blah blah and I literally could not care even a pixie’s ass hair less about this detail.

I reflect on all my past interactions with Alessia in light of what she’s told me today. Now I understand why she’s been so reticent around me, and my heart is leaden. In my fantasies I’d imagined that when I was finally alone with her, she would be laughing and carefree, gazing at me with adoring doe eyes. The reality is different.

How different?

Very. Different.

I’m just in awe of how swiftly this character went from “reasonably redeemable asshole” to “Civil War battlefield hospital gangrenous leg pile” so quickly. Like, I’m sorry that your horny fantasy is ruined by the fact that the object of your affection was.

SEX TRAFFICKED.

And yet…I don’t mind. I want to be with her.

How noble of you.

He goes on about how much he wants to protect her and what horrible things must have happened to her. I’m glad that these are his second thoughts.

If I ever get hold of those men…

My rage is muderous.

What have they done to her? I want to know.

No. I don’t want to know.

I do.

I don’t.

Bob Hoskins in the scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit where he tries to hand him a drink. He's holding the drink out and nodding.
Please, someone, get this joke. I’m old.

I want to ask her what she’s endured. What she’s seen. But now is not the right time. All my plans, all my fantasies will be for nothing if she can’t bear to be with a man…any man.

And I realize that I can’t touch her.

Fuck.

Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids saying "Are you FUCKING kidding me?"
Bringing back a recap classic.

So, what’s Demelssia thinking while Moss is worried about putting it in her?

Can she trust the man sitting beside her? She has placed herself in his hands. Willingly. And she’s done that before–with Dante–and that didn’t turn out so well.

Yup. Another E.L. James book where once the hero and heroine actually get together, she’s afraid of him. Yeah, she was wary of him before, but she’s wary of all men. Now, she’s wondering if she can trust this particular guy and comparing him to the dude who wanted to sell her into slavery.

In the next paragraph, though, she acknowledges that she can trust him.

Now, someone in the comments on the last recap mentioned that they thought Demelssia might have started off as a Polish character, and since she explicitly says that Magda got Demelssia a job through a network of Polish women, it does seem plausible. I’m not saying that’s definitely what happened, just that it’s plausible.

Thinking of Dante reminds her of her nightmare journey to England. She doesn’t want to think about that. She never wants to think about it again. But it haunts her in moments of quiet and in her nightmares. What’s become of Bleriana, Vlora, Dorina, and the other girls?

So, she’s thinking she’s in a situation where maybe she can’t trust Moss, but she does trust him, that she’s afraid for Magda and afraid for the other girls she was with.

While Moss’s primary concern is how to heal her PTSD real quick so they can bone.

They stop at a travel plaza in Moss’s POV, and he wakes her up.

“Hey. It’s me. You’ve been asleep. I want something to eat, and I need the loo. Do you want to come with me?”

To the…to the bathroom?

She asks him not to leave her there, and he’s like, I didn’t intend to. She doesn’t want to go into the building.

“It was a place like this.” She looks around again.

“What? A motorway services?”

She nods. “They stopped. They wanted us to wash. To be clean. They were being…um…kind. Or so some of the girls thought. They made it seem like it was for our…um…What is the word? Our…um…good. Benefit. our benefit. But if we were cleaner, we would bring a higher price.”

Demelssia tells Moss that she overheard the men speaking in English. They didn’t know she could understand them, so she was able to tell the other women what was going on. Only three of them believed her, but she doesn’t know if they tried to escape the way she did. Moss hugs her, and she wants him to kiss her.

No.

Not now.

Not here.

Not after what she’s been through.

Not in a service area on the M5.

Yeah, that’s the problem with it. The setting isn’t romantic enough.

We hop back into Demelssia’s head, where the smells and sights of the travel plaza trigger her PTSD. She goes into the bathroom and other women are there.

Neither of them looks as if she’s beeen trafficked from Eastern Europe.

How would you be able to tell? That’s like…the whole way traffickers succeed.

Whatever. Demelssia notices a Starbucks and thinks about how she recognizes it from London. And you may think to yourself, “Albania is a modern country, of course they have Starbucks!” but as late as 2018 they were a country totally without Starbucks. According to the Starbucks website, they still are. I’m honestly and truly amazed at this information.

We all learned something today.

Moss wants to buy her something to eat, but she declines, so obviously, since this was written by E.L. James, he buys her something, anyway.

Oh, and of course, the woman at the counter tries to seduce him with her eyes because, again, E.L. James.

“I’ll bring them over,” the barista replies, directing a coquettish smile at Maxim.

“We’d like them to go.” Maxim hands her a twenty-pound note.

“Of course.” The barista bats her eyelashes at him.

“Great, thanks.” He doesn’t return her smile but turns his attention to Alessia.

This is an important scene to include because it is imperative that we know every woman wants him but they can’t have him because the pure and virginal reader heroine deserves him more.

Demelssia has a lot of questions.

She’d like to ask him, but it’s not her place to question a man.

Oh my god, I know a guy from another book who would be perfect for you.

So, are you ready to rage?

“You speak very good English,” he says.

“Do you think so?” Alessia flushes at the unexpected compliment.

“Yes, I do.”

“My grandmother was English.”

First of all, there is a thing called “citizenship by double descent.” This is the point where Maxim should immediately call his lawyer. If she establishes that, she wouldn’t have to worry about being deported back to Albania. Second, she learned English from her grandmother, a native speaker, when she was a child. But she started out the book with, “I am cleaner.” Okay, sure, whatever, I guess. And I suppose that explains why Demelssia’s grandma was a Christian in a predominately Muslim country. But it raises more questions. Does that mean Demelssia has family in England? Why wasn’t she going to stay with them, instead of her mother’s pen pal? And why, if her grandmother was English, did Demelssia’s mother raise her with super provincial values? Did her English mother hold those same values and encourage them?

Moss asks what her grandmother was doing in Albania:

“She visited in the 1960s with her friend Joan, who is Magda’s mother. As children Magda and my mother sent letters and became friends. They live in different countries but have remained very good friends, though they have never met.”

That doesn’t answer the question. Again, it just raises more. Did her grandmother stay in Albania? Why? What kept her there? Why did she visit her Polish friend in Albania? Or is Joan also English but somehow ended up in Poland? Why are there so many names in that paragraph? I don’t need a hellish six-degrees-of-separation from Magda, especially when it doesn’t answer the fucking question Moss asked.

They get their sandwiches and go to the car and Demelssia marvels at how clever Moss is because he knew all along that she really was hungry and oh my god, this is going to be “Have you eaten, Anastasia?” all over again.

He stops for gas and takes Demelssia inside with him to pay.

In the queue for the register, Alessia stands beside me, taking the occasional bit of her sandwich and gazing at the shelves in what looks like wonder.

“Do you want anything? Magazine? A snack? Something sweet?” I ask.

She shakes her head. “There is so much to buy here.”

She’s from Kukës. It’s a county seat and tourist destination. Google “supermarkets Kukës Albania” and you know what comes up? Grocery stores and convenience stores that are EXACTLY LIKE THE ONES IN AMERICA AND THE UK.

I laugh. “The shops aren’t tidy in Albania?”

“Not in Kukës. Not like this.”

At the register I slide my credit card into the chip and PIN machine, conscious that she’s watching my every move.

“Your card is magic,” Alessia says.

So, you know how E.L. James is like, I traveled to Albania, I know what I’m talking about?

This means she traveled to Albania…and decided that it was dirty and provincial and backward and the people were all bewildered peasants who’d never seen a fucking credit card and then she took the opportunity to depict it that way to the entire world.

No fucking wonder the Albanian ambassador to the UK is pissed off at her. This is the most needlessly detailed and condescending Trip Advisor review of all time.

Back in the car, she explains that in Albania, people shake their heads to mean “yes” and nod to mean “no” and Moss wonders if that caused confusion in their earlier conversations. She tells him about her hometown and how it’s so isolated and rural, and then she tells him more about her grandmother. She didn’t just visit the country with Joan. She went there as a missionary:

“Missionaries? In Europe?”

“Yes. The Communists banned religion. Albania was the first atheist nation.”

Albania was the only atheist nation.

“Oh, I had no idea.”

I did! It was in a bathroom book with weird facts that I used to read when pooping.

“She came to help the Catholics. She smuggled books into Albania from Kosovo. Bibles. You know. What she did, it was dangerous. She met an Albanian man and–” She pauses and her face softens. “They fell in love. And…how do you say it? The rest is history.”

God, this just gets worse and more patronizing. Don’t worry, everyone. Grandma and Joan are here to save your souls, you godless Communists.

I’m sorry. I’m not a fan of missionaries. That whole colonization thing really ruined their reputation.

We have to hear the backstory about how Joan went to Poland as a…Catholic…missionary…

Because, you know. There are no Catholics in Poland.

A statue of Pope John Paul II

Now we hear again how Demelssia’s mother became friends with Magda and how Magda has been a good friend and protected her after her escape, etc.

Then they talk about how Moss is a DJ and she doesn’t know what that is, and she doesn’t know what a dance club is. I’m not going to Google this. I’m just going to build Albania up in my head as a paradise where there is no EDM.

How sheltered was this girl’s upbringing?

That’s what I’m wondering. Damn.

Moss thinks about how she was, you know, trafficked, and he’s like,

I hope, for her sake, that she managed to avoid any horror. But somehow I doubt it. The journey alone must have been a nightmare.

You think? What an insight! You’re a regular god damn Sherlock Holmes. We got a Miss Fisher solving cases all over the place. He unraveled the mystery of whether or not getting kidnapped is traumatic. Fucking Bill Nye the Obvious Guy over here.

They get to his estate. He’s taken her to “one of the luxury holiday homes” on his land because he doesn’t want to overwhelm her with the Hall. I don’t blame him. She’d probably be like, “Is this…how you say…building? In Communist Albania, building builds you!”

The truth is, I want her to myself.

There we go.

Demelssia is asleep, and he thinks about waking her with a kiss, then he’s like, damn my eyes, I have made a vow to never touch her! And he actually does use the word “vow,” which made me snort with laughter. He wakes her up by saying:

“Hello, beautiful. We’ve arrived.”

And the chapter is done.

 

My impression so far: Why is it that in E.L. James books, the heroes might be a little okay until they meet the heroine? Like, to be honest, Fifty Shades of Grey didn’t start out with Christian being a super stalker. He just met Ana at his office, then later had coffee with her. It was only after he got interested in her that he became a full-on predator. Maxim was, as I mentioned above, reasonably redeemable in his actions so far because people do weird things when they’re grieving and he decided to rescue his housekeeper from kidnappers. Then they get in the car together and bam. Oh, her PTSD is cockblocking me, woe, woe, angst and woe. It wouldn’t have been difficult at all to show him caring for her as a human being first and a fuck object a very, very distant second, but that’s not the path James chose. And I cannot fathom why she and millions of other women think that’s sexy.

I also don’t know why she assumed that human trafficking would be the perfect issue to explore in a romance novel, but here we fucking are.

On top of all that, what do you call the opposite of a tourism commercial? Because that’s what’s happening about Albania here. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

 

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109 Comments

  1. EMP
    EMP

    Has someone already mentioned why Mister Moss’s POV paragraphs are in first person but when we peek into Melissa’s head it’s close 3rd? Were those added in later or something?

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
  2. Rachel
    Rachel

    In my opinion, E.L. James’ problem is that she starts off with something that could be a unique and interesting idea, and then finds a way to shit on it within her own work. Fifty Shades could have had a genuinely interesting and different take on romance with its BDSM angle, but instead the kink content was not-so-subtly presented as weird, something people are only into if they’re psychologically damaged, and the “problem” Christian and Anastasia had to overcome to have a “normal” relationship. Now with The Mister, you have what could have been a unique story and an opportunity to raise awareness of sex trafficking and PTSD, but instead it’s relegated to, once again, the problem Maxim and Alessia need to get over so they can have a relationship. Not to mention the fact that Alessia can’t start recovering from her trauma on her own and needs a man to help her…

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • Tami Marie Alexander
      Tami Marie Alexander

      As someone with PTSD caused by sexual abuse by men, I can tell you that it has messed me up as far as having a healthy relationship with a man, it has messed me up in regards to being around men (I get nervous, and even terrified if they are authority figures), and worst of all, it doesn’t go away. It took me YEARS to trust the two male doctors I see on a regular basis. The ONE time I had a male gyno (older man), I went into a panic attack. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many men-friends I have and feel comfortable around, enough to let them hug me. James did not do her research and it infuriates me that she is just going to treat a sexual abuse victim’s PTSD as something that can be fucked away by the right man. THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS!

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        Tami, Let us know if we can do anything to help you heal. (And if that includes not commenting, that’s fine, too) Best of luck, I truly hope you can have a healthy, happy life in the future.

        April 30, 2019
        |Reply
      • Juliana Coons
        Juliana Coons

        This is not facebook, so I cannot give the heart emoji, so comment I must, because Yoda I am. Tami, you nailed it. I have PTSD, also, from psychological abuse that went on for decades. So different source, but when you said that PTSD cannot just be fucked away by the right man, by God, you so nailed it. James is such an eejit. Why does she “write??”

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
      • S
        S

        Agreed 100%. I have a pretty severe aversion to intimate acts like hugging and holding hands with anyone who isn’t specifically someone I have grown to trust and welcome intimacy from. What I hate about books like this is that it encourages men to steamroll over our boundaries or act like they are some sort of challenge to overcome, or like we are absurd for not wanting to be touched.

        May 5, 2019
        |Reply
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        Emily, they’re like jumper cables: there’s always a guy around willing to let her use his . . . .

        April 30, 2019
        |Reply
    • Juliana Coons
      Juliana Coons

      Aren’t all we silly, weak-willed women just one jolly good banging from an English Earl away from perfect mental health? And also, we certainly cannot be well until a man – of dubious character from what I’m reading – comes along to fix us. That’s all we want, men to fix us. Oh yes.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
  3. Gwen
    Gwen

    Can we go back to the coffee thing? I liked the coffee. We could talk about hypothetical Arabica/Robusta crossbreeds to try and make better-tasting-but-sturdy beans… no?…

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • S
      S

      I would rather read that, also.

      May 5, 2019
      |Reply
  4. Jules
    Jules

    My heart goes out to Albania. No country deserves to be treated like this.

    I just cannot wrap my head around how Moss is supposed to be our romantic lead. He is bummed out because the chick he likes was sex trafficked not because he is sympathetic to what happened to her but because it meant he had to vow not to touch her? WTF dude!

    Eel has some really disturbing ideas of romance. I tried to rewrite these stories in my head as a writing exercise and I cannot because no matter how hard I try, my ladies all run screaming about ten minutes after meeting these guys.

    I’m team Kitt at this point. I’d have done anything I could to get out of being in this story as well.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • BobSmiththeElder
      BobSmiththeElder

      I had this image of Kitt being able to see the future suddenly, realizing he might be in the story, and just yeeting himself into a bridge pylon.

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
    • Juliana Coons
      Juliana Coons

      That last sentence, OMG! So funny! I avoid being fully in James’ work by reading Jenny’s blogs. She saves me from total ignorance of this cultural phenomenon, gives me regular laughs, *and* enables me not to suffer the misery of James’ less than puerile, hack writing.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • Jenny is doing such a massive public service to the mental health of so many of us who hate being ignorant but can’t bear to put ourselves through the suffering of first-hand experience.

        May 4, 2019
        |Reply
    • Mike
      Mike

      I had that same problem with 50 Shades. Started rewriting to see if the story could have been redeemable if it were written well, until the chapter where she ends up in his hotel room without pants and doesn’t punch him in the face and run screaming…

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
    • Rose
      Rose

      I *think* what EL is going for is that kind of guilty “I shouldn’t want this but damn my hormones” deal? Which as someone who is into that “we shouldn’t be doing this but oooops” situation, I can understand. But usually the morally-ambiguous taboo aspect is more along the lines of they work together, one of them is in a committed-but-not-totally-fulfilling relationship, they grew up together and it could ruin their friendship . . . not, like, straight-up sex trafficking victim. (And Maxim isn’t feeling remotely guilty enough about any of this, either in a shame-as-kink way or a being-a-decent-human-being way. That’s a hard putt, and she isn’t known for being a straight shot in the best circumstances.)

      So basically, it’s entirely possible James took a stab at a legitimate (if niche) kink and missed by a mile. Again.

      May 2, 2019
      |Reply
  5. “I also don’t know why she assumed that human trafficking would be the perfect issue to explore in a romance novel, but here we fucking are.”

    This line made me crack up. On the other hand, elements of human trafficking are pretty popular in historical “mail-order bride” romances and E.L. James really does love dragging the most problematic parts of historical romance into contemporary settings.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • And the heroine is always the only virgin at the brothel or something, too.

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
      • Zev J
        Zev J

        Emily, this made me laugh uproariously.

        April 30, 2019
        |Reply
        • “You don’t understand, I’m not a… a soiled dove!” she insisted.

          Yeah. I’m guessing our sex trafficking victim is also going to miraculously be a virgin?

          April 30, 2019
          |Reply
      • Suzy
        Suzy

        You do realize she escaped as they were washing up to be sold off. She’s going to be a virgin.

        April 30, 2019
        |Reply
  6. Anon
    Anon

    So, Eel deserves as little success as possible, but it’s also disheartening that the same crowd who ate up romanticized abuse is rejecting a book with a hero who actually isn’t a total piece of shit (maybe mostly, but not total). That says so much that isn’t good.

    “Basically, he’s making a reservation to stay at his own house, which I know is probably a thing because nobody can afford to keep one of those places up.”

    That makes some sense. I have friends who bought a beach house and it’s partially a retirement investment, but also a place they stay when they, you know, go to the beach. But they rent it out as much as possible so they can pay for it, too.

    So, my ex-pat English friend was explaining that “citizenship by double descent” thing to me recently and I’m not sure if things have changed because I only vaguely remember the details, but there was something about having to establish a male father or grandfather to qualify. So she may not, even with an English grandmother. But she may because it may have changed.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
  7. JessC
    JessC

    Albania was in the process of splitting from the USSR in the 1960s, so it was a very politically uneasy time, and while the Khrushchev thaw led to a Catholic resistance movement among the young, I don’t think that Soviet/or Communist governments would be like ‘Yeah, sure, Joan, why don’t you and your friend freely move around the Eastern bloc and distribute Bibles, when we are very anti-religion and actively curb religious freedoms’.

    You only have to talk to someone from any ex-communist bloc country to get a sense of how ridiculous this backstory is. Did the secret police just not notice that Demelissa’s grandmother settle down? Did the Polish secret police never notice all the post going between England, Albania, and Poland?

    Just don’t have this stupid resistance backstory. Demelissa grew up in an isolated, rural location and IDK met Magda at a community centre in London. It would make more sense.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
  8. Tami Marie Alexander
    Tami Marie Alexander

    A friend told me EL was on The View today. No, I did not watch. I didn’t want to start my day with vomiting.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • Juliana Coons
      Juliana Coons

      It *kills* me that people are paying attention to this woman and her writing. It is seriously just about the worst thing I have ever read – and I spent 14 years reading chart notes for my job. Those were more interesting, fascinating, and well-penned than James’ catbox liner tomes. This woman should *not* have a successful writing career. She *cannot* write well, and her ideas are recycled crap. The only bright spot for me is Jenny’s blog. I feel much the same about our current administration. Bad governments make for some killer comedy.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
  9. Myriam
    Myriam

    Joan going on a mission trip to an already Christian country is actually pretty possible. I’ve seen lots of mission trips advertised that went to Italy or a South American country that’s known to be predominantly Catholic.

    …yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • Nanani
      Nanani

      Catholics going to catholic countries? Or like, some other branch that doesn’t think catholics are “real” christians? Because I know that’s a thing and would be pretty unsurprised by the latter.

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
      • Myriam
        Myriam

        Yeah, I think it was mostly Protestants, but I think I remember a few Catholic missions doing that too. Honestly not sure because I grew up with both so I get the practices mixed up sometimes.

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
      • Kim
        Kim

        Yep. My grandma, a Southern Baptist preacher’s wife, didn’t think other protestant denominations were ‘real,’ didn’t like to go to our (equally conservative) Evangelical Free church for our concerts or plays, etc.

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
    • Jenn
      Jenn

      I’ve seen Americans preaching outside churches in Europe.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • Anon
        Anon

        @Jenn —

        Fundagelical American “Christians” don’t think that any other kind of Christianity counts, so that would make sense. And my friend who’s Mormon did his mission in Italy — both are Christian sects, but also very different from each other.

        I guess I could see Catholics going to a poor area of a Catholic country simply to help the people there, but sending Catholic missionaries to a heavily Catholic country just to try to convert people seems like an odd choice.

        Also, I grew up in a half Catholic family in a HEAVILY Catholic part of the country and I don’t remember anyone I knew who was Catholic going on or talking about missions. But the Protestants are constantly on about it. Especially the more conservative ones. The ones who can’t utter a sentence without letting you know they’re “Christian.”

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
        • Heidi Aphrodite
          Heidi Aphrodite

          I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon”), and we have a lot of missionaries who aren’t necessarily preaching or proselytizing–there are service assignments/missions that are strictly to build wells, to train nurses in infant resuscitation, to assist other medical personnel with vaccinations, to teach English, or to document oral histories. We have a very strict policy of abiding by the laws of whatever nation we’re in and NOT handing out material or, in mainland China for instance, not even talking about our church.

          So I get the urge to go out and share the good word and help others, but I also think it doesn’t do you much good to violate the laws of the land and destroy any positive relationship with the local government.

          And I agree that this whole “missionary to Albania/citizenship/pen pal thing in the book is just weird and confusing.

          May 1, 2019
          |Reply
      • Bookjunk
        Bookjunk

        That was some epic shit! The guy who was just trying to read is my hero.

        May 2, 2019
        |Reply
        • Ange
          Ange

          My favourite line of the whole video is the girl saying ‘shut up, you sound like such a dickhead.’

          It’s a real snapshot of our culture.

          May 2, 2019
          |Reply
  10. Bunny
    Bunny

    Poor Albania! The recaps make me laugh but this book makes my head hurt.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
  11. Tami Marie Alexander
    Tami Marie Alexander

    And yes, Jen — I got the Roger Rabbit reference. I think I’m older than you, though.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
  12. triflepillow
    triflepillow

    “Joan went to Poland as a…Catholic…missionary…”
    There’s a neat Polish saying for that – taking wood to the forest.

    Also, Joan is in no way, shape or form a Polish name, so it seems that Magda is of British stock, too (?). I guess she really didn’t want to talk to Moss then, what with her “yes, no & here” in one of the first chapters.

    Re: SEX TRAFFICKED – at least he’s not climbing into the shower with her (à la Skyfall)? …yet?
    Yaaay?
    Actually, no. All the reflections on that pesky trauma standing in the way of Mosswad’s sexual fantasies – DO NOT WANT. Ew, ew, ew.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
  13. Gini P.
    Gini P.

    I was wondering when I was going to end up throwing my phone. This was the chapter that did it.

    Sex trafficking as a plot point is super tricky to manage in a romance novel. Cherise Sinclair did it in her Shadowlands series, but she also handled it decently and carefully. Honestly, Moss just sounds like a john that’s lying in wait and has poor boundaries; he comes off as hella creepy.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • thegreatdragon
      thegreatdragon

      “Moss just sounds like a john that’s lying in wait and has poor boundaries”

      Right?! This is what’s been putting me majorly off for the last three chapters! He’s so creepy.

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
  14. K R
    K R

    Oh, now I get the credit card issue. I mentioned before that even here in the US some people don’t know how credit cards really work and some people might think they are “magic” because they believe it’s free money they don’t have to pay back. Alessia’s reaction was not a “Oh cool, I don’t need money if I have this little piece of plastic!” but more like a little kid’s “Ooh, shiny!” If she was going to write Alessia as that awed by the world, she should show that she was extremely sheltered, regardless of her country of origin.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • She’s practically Ariel the Little Mermaid, innocently yet charmingly fascinated by this whole exciting land. She’s gonna comb her hair with a fork next.

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
    • Heidi Aphrodite
      Heidi Aphrodite

      Seriously. I traveled to Guatemala and Honduras last year and never, EVER, thought either country was so backwards as to be full of people thinking technology was magical or something. I mean, we were in some pretty poor areas and some very wealthy areas, and people everywhere had cell phones and little Visa/MasterCard/American Express stickers outside their shops. There were ATMs almost everywhere we were, even if they had armed guards near them, and WiFi signals at almost every restaurant. Central America is definitely full of “developing nations,” but not full of idiots. I can’t stand people who think that.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • Nanani
        Nanani

        Isn’t the developing world often ahead in adoption of cell phones, wi-fi, etc., precisely because in many places, they don’t have the older tech to move away from in the first place?

        That kind of realism wouldn’t fit Eel’s worldview about ~foreign places~ though would it

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
    • Rakka
      Rakka

      Well, yeah, in the US. You also have significant persentage of humans who don’t believe in vaccines.

      May 13, 2019
      |Reply
  15. thegreatdragon
    thegreatdragon

    I don’t know a lot about sex trafficking. I actually had to do some quick research, because it seemed odd to me for the traffickers to be Albanians trafficking someone into England. (Apparently traffickers often share the same ethnicity or nationality as their victims, so I was wrong.)

    But just reading this it’s…I mean, it’s uncomfortable for romance fodder. Like, it makes me so uncomfortable and uneasy and I’m so confused about why E.L. James even picked this?

    The romance is happening weirdly fast as it is (these characters have barely talked!) but it’s especially rapid given the sex trafficking story line. It doesn’t make sense as a romance. It really doesn’t.

    On a lighter note, I just learned that Kukës was the first town in the world ever nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for taking in thousands of war refugees. Which is dope!

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      “The romance is happening weirdly fast as it is (these characters have barely talked!) but it’s especially rapid given the sex trafficking story line. It doesn’t make sense as a romance. It really doesn’t. ”

      Yes. Using sex trafficking isn’t really the problem. There are women out there who have gone through such a thing then had to deal with it for the rest of their lives. There is a compelling story there. The trouble is, it has nothing to do with the story. If Moss had found out about this earlier, before the men came to take her back, and even said he would take care of her/protect her/let her use his piano as a refuge, slowly she started to open up to him, they talked, eventually she began to feel almost safe, like she could almost trust this man. Then the men come, he whisks her to safety and she finally accepts that maybe he isn’t like the others. THEN she starts thinking that maybe some day she could open up enough to kiss him. It’s slow, and on her terms. His inner monolog is about wishing she would open up to him, let him help her (not open her legs to him and let him bang her which is how Eel is writing it). This could have been a beautiful, touching story, if written by anyone else including my dog. Alas, we get “Oh, I was a victim of sex trafficking but my boss is hot so I’m gonna touch myself and fantasize about him to help me forget the other women who are probably off being raped right now. Sucks to be them, but I have a hot boss, so yay me!” *diddle diddle*

      I was okay with 50 Shades of Stupid because the storyline had very little potential anyway, so go ahead and ruin it. This story has a lot of potential so it pisses me off that it was squandered away on a terrible writer.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
  16. Krita
    Krita

    Missionaries. Missionaries in Poland. What the actual fuck. Also I’m not Albanian per se, but I’m from the Balkans and can in fact confirm that yes, we aren’t rural shithole countries and that we do in fact have supermarkets. Amazingly, civilised world doesn’t end with Austria, dear E. L. James.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • triflepillow
      triflepillow

      Nah, “missionaries in Poland” is actually a thing but it’s usually different flavours of Protestants coming to help those poor deluded Catholics find the True Christian Faith, TM. Some are actually lovely people.
      Supermarkets & co. – I remember a school exchange with GERMANY, a country that shares 290 miles of border with Poland; they were genuinely surprised to see asphalt roads and satellite dishes all over the place. But no polar bears. Not even one.
      Granted, it was over 20 yrs ago, but still.

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
      • Cyrus
        Cyrus

        I live pretty far up north in Canada, and I’ve seen this kind of ignorance from *other Canadians*. Like, people from Ontario have asked if I live in a friggin’ igloo. It’s astonishingly stupid and depressingly common.

        May 9, 2019
        |Reply
        • Mike
          Mike

          I lived in Inuvik as a kid, my response to that question is always ‘no, but I did go to church in one.’ Then I bitch about how ‘Eskimo’ is a shitty word and I wish people would stop using it.

          May 9, 2019
          |Reply
    • Thais
      Thais

      Super common for American evangelicals to go to countries that either already have a large religious population or who are non-religious (not because they have never heard of it, but because they genuinely don’t have religious beliefs after some consideration). An acquaintance of mine moved her whole (young) family to the Czech Republic for a non-sanctioned missionary effort. She claimed it was because there were so many non-religious people in the Czech Republic. She seemed to have no context for why that might be and was unaware that the locals are probably going to be resistant to proselytizing.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
  17. Soch
    Soch

    I have a feeling what she thinks is ‘sexy’ is the idea that a man would still want someone ‘ruined’ by sex trafficking. It’s got the gross vibe of ‘you’re only worth something if a man wants to fuck you’ combined with ‘you’re a whore whether you wanted it or not.’

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
  18. Zev J
    Zev J

    A+ “Roger Rabbit” reference. The movie’s wonderful. This book seems awful. EL James is awful. Going to a country twice isn’t extensive research at all. Neither is making soups, or plugging stuff into Google translate (Linguee .com is better). EL James has a lot of weird hangups about race, ethnicity, being bilingual, and immigration, and it’s continuing here. Ugh! You are so patient with this book. Your recaps are great.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • Sarah
      Sarah

      Yes, linguee is my absolute favourite!!! It gives context for the word you’re wanting the translate, something EL James probably needed in this case.

      For Demelssia, I think it would have more sense for her to be an intermediate English speaker. I.e. she doesn’t have too many issues forming simple sentences like “I am the cleaner”, it’s just that more complicated or obscure words and phrases trip her up. Does EL James speak another language? I feel like it might have been helpful for her to speak to someone who has a mid-range level of fluency in another language to gauge how much they can say easily. But maybe I’m giving her too much credit?

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
      • Nanani
        Nanani

        I’m gonna guess “no, she does not” and add that she seems to think learning English as a second language for an adult works like native speaker -children- developing language skills.
        Alessia sounding words out in earlier chapters bugged me and I finally realized why. It’s because sounding out a new word is what KIDS do when they are learning to read, and/or reading a word they’ve never heard outside before.

        So it’s both language ignorance and infantialization of the heroine.

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
      • Zev J
        Zev J

        EL James is half Chilean and knows some Spanish. I think her dad is Latinx.

        May 2, 2019
        |Reply
        • Jenny Trout
          Jenny Trout

          Her mother is from Chile. Her dad is Scottish.

          May 2, 2019
          |Reply
    • Cyrus
      Cyrus

      I love wordreference.com as well, particularly for the language forums.

      May 9, 2019
      |Reply
  19. Vivacia K. Ahwen
    Vivacia K. Ahwen

    Kate Jacobs’ “Comfort Food” vs. C.J. Roberts’ “Captive In The Dark.”

    Arguably, both fall under the kidnapping fantasy, a trope which may be called “troubling,” but everyone gets to have their own fantasy no matter who the hell finds it problematic. I give you Phantom of the Opera.

    Both CF and CITD fall under “dark,” but Comfort Food explores psychological horror, similar to Thomas Harris’ “Hannibal.” [You know, when the shark was officially jumped.] Some lady who wanted to escape her world hooks up is kidnapped by a creeper, [who, –spoiler alert– is mute, so that makes it okay] and –after he “lets her” go back to her old life and consult with her counselor– decides she wants to stay with him. Because reasons. But the narrator knowingly decides for whatever reason she’d like to Be There. While the tale is eroticized (sp), the author presents the sitch as an erotic exploration of Stockholm Syndrome and a What If. Also, the writing is excellent.

    Whereas Captive In The Dark romanticizes the relationship between a victim of sex trafficking and her “seller,” to the point where the plot gets twisted into [spoiler alert] a meet-cute, and the trafficker is presented is some sort of hero who fights for the MC’s honor at a biker bar. So that makes him wicked sweet. Needless to say, I didn’t read any sequels –if there are any– but find it highly unlikely to find that the Romantic Sex Trafficker winds up in jail. Also, the writing is not excellent.

    Goodreads is…well, it’s Goodreads, but the higher rating went to CITD. Still trying to wrap my head around that one.

    Not even sure where I’m going with this train of thought, but reading the recaps is making me process the difference between those books, if we’re to use them as examples of the Kidnapper Fantasy. At this point, The Mister sounds like a more sparkly “Captive In the Dark,” but with some good old fashioned xenophobia thrown in.

    I liked Comfort Food. I did. Thought about it for days.

    I did NOT like CITD, and don’t think that Amazon should say “Since you liked blah, you’ll LOVE blah.”

    As I haven’t read “The Mister,” and am only 10 chapters into Jenny’s critique, I shouldn’t be judgy. But I’ve got that ick factor going on. Interested to see how the rest of the story and following discussions go.

    There’s my ramble.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
  20. woxbirdie
    woxbirdie

    You were not kidding about the language rage, although I was already kinda raging about it.

    My general bar for writing second languages is “is it roughly consistent with my intermediate French” and Demelssia’s English absolutely isn’t. I mean, I get blanking on words you know or use regularly, but then she’ll flawlessly use “or so they thought”, a phrase limited predominantly to books, and a grammatically being construction. It’s super hard to pick up those kinds of things from books in other languages because they just don’t…stick as well. She stutters in all the wrong places — I tried translating the passage about the girls washing at the gas station out loud, and the word “kind” was way easier to find than the grammar for “they were being”*. (Also, when you do blank on a word, it ain’t coming to you, you’re better saying something like “not mean” and hoping your fluent partner can give you the word you’re looking for.)

    James seems to have subscribed to the idea that other languages are just English but replacing each word. I’m pretty sure a quick intro to Albanian would be enough for me to pick out way better places for Albanian-English translation to break down, because, across the three foreign languages I have learned and forgotten over the years, once you get to intermediate level, it’s pretty much always grammar first. You only need a vocab of about 200 words to communicate most things.

    /rage

    * Ils agissaient sympa? Someone help me out here, I don’t see my French teacher for another week and it’s gonna bug me.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • thegreatdragon
      thegreatdragon

      I feel the same way (and also have limited French abilities, so I use those when thinking about second languages.)

      You’re right about E.L. James’ limited view, which is odd, because I thought I remembered hearing that she speaks Spanish? You would think she’d be more familiar, but she writes like a monolingual person.

      It’s kind of frustrating, because people who aren’t fluent in a language have to be creative with it. The quirks and nuances come from them using circumlocution to create sentences that are understandable, if not smooth or grammatically correct. We’re missing out on that big time with Alessia and it makes me so sad! AND we’re missing out on seeing how that might intersect with her Synesthesia, which I think would be a more interesting plot than sex trafficking.

      E.L James had Too Many Ideas Syndrome while writing this and she’s not a strong enough writer to carry it out. She really should have simplified the plot WAY down and spent more time doing research.

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
    • Sarah
      Sarah

      Intermediate French speaker here too! I’ve been doing the same thing when I read Demelssia’s lines as well, and I often think that she completely misses the mark on where and when the language barrier would be an issue. Obviously, French and Albanian are different languages, but the concept of fluency is not, and there needs to be some consistency in Demelssia’s level of spoken English.

      At the moment, it seems like EL James is trying to use Demelssia’s lack of fluency as a character quirk at certain times, you know, in place of actual personality? It bothers me because it reads as very infantilising, where perhaps I think EL James intends it to be ~cute, or something that Moss finds endearing and not like all the other women in his life *rolls eyes*

      I guess it also bothers me because there’s an inherent power imbalance between them given the employer/employee relationship, which is compounded by the fact that, should Demelssia want to articulate how that might make her feel uncomfortable at times, she may not have the language tools to do so.

      But hey, this is EL James we’re talking about, so more than likely this never becomes an issue!

      *** “Ils agissaient sympa” sounds fine to be, but grammar isn’t my strong suit, sorry!

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
      • thegreatdragon
        thegreatdragon

        E.L. James really likes vocal power imbalances. I feel like E.L. James’s next book is going to be about a woman with muteness. (Since she’s doing a Paranormal romance, I think she’s going to rip off The Shape of Water, but the fish-dude’s going to be a billionaire who’s also secretly a merman and all the dumb blonde mermaids want his fish-junk, but he only has eyes for plain ol’ human Arabella Mozzerella or whatever.)

        April 30, 2019
        |Reply
        • Sarah
          Sarah

          ‘Arabella Mozzerella’ I am CACKLING!!!!!

          If she does a paranormal novel I’m already envisioning a showdown between that and Handbook for Mortals as to which handles the concept of magic better. Maybe an equal tie for worst?

          May 1, 2019
          |Reply
          • thegreatdragon
            thegreatdragon

            Oh boy, I’m not actually sure who would be worse. I actually think E.L. James might do a better job with the magic, if only because she’s so focused on speeding ahead to the sex scenes, she’ll forget to write about the magic stuff and won’t screw it up as bad as Lani.

            I will say based off 50 Shades and this book, I would really recommend E.L. write her paranormal novel about an Incubus who falls in love with a mortal woman. I don’t want to read it, but it’s clear E.L. James likes really messed up power dynamics and is pretty impatient to get into writing the sex scenes. With a sex-demon/mortal romance, she has the opportunity to focus on all the stuff she likes without the ethical ramifications her other books have had. (And I’d be a lot more forgiving of the ‘waitress can’t help but flirt with this hot dude at the restaurant’ scenes when the guy’s an incubus. Heck, they’d feel like a subtle reminder that this guy’s supernatural.)

            May 2, 2019
    • Coralie
      Coralie

      Hello, French native speaker here (Swiss, actually, but apart from some uses of words, we speak exactly the same language as French people) : we could translate « they were being » by two different ways. First, you could just say « Ils étaient sympa », or if you want to use « agir », you’ll have to say: « ils agissaient de manière sympa / ils se comportaient de manière sympa ». In this way, « de manière sympa » would be translated by « nicely ». But we would mostly say the first proposition, as we don’t have a very precise translation for the continuous tenses. Voilà voilà, hope it can help!

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • woxbirdie
        woxbirdie

        Thank you so much!

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
    • Nanani
      Nanani

      Native speaker here. “Sympa” takes être (to be) as an auxiliary, not agir (act) so you’d want “ils étaient sympa (envers nous)”
      “Sympa” is also a lot more slangy than “kind” is in English, but that’s a translator nitpick not a language learning one.

      Getting the auxiliary verb wrong is a PERFECT learner error example!

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • woxbirdie
        woxbirdie

        Thank you so much! And yeah, weird verb choices is so much more common than “I’ve forgotten a very commonly used adjective with half a dozen common synonyms”, regardless of the language you’re looking at

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
  21. Liza
    Liza

    For some reason this whole “her god” thing from the last chapter infuriates me even more now that we have confirmation that nan was Christian. Muslims and Christians don’t worship different gods. Muslims explicitly acknowledge that their god is the same as the Christian god. EL just doesn’t seem to have a basic understanding of anything. At all.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • River
      River

      Perhaps it was meant to show she is an atheist but in a moment of terror decided it couldn’t hurt to give a shout out to her Grandma’s God just incase?

      April 30, 2019
      |Reply
      • Mr. Fell
        Mr. Fell

        If she was raised by a Christian and she’s culturally Christian, unless she purposefully spends time training herself to not do it, she’s going to think “God = Christian God” for the rest of her life. If nothing else because that’s the first God you reject before deciding that you actually don’t fancy any other as well.

        (And I don’t think she was Muslim because I don’t believe for a second that a Catholic missionary is going to go “sure thing!” and accept religious freedom in her house.)

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
    • Alisha
      Alisha

      The number of people who don’t understand that God/Allah/Yahweh ARE THE SAME BEING absolutely astounds me. So many “ALLAH AIN’T MAH GAHD” idiots running around. It doesn’t surprise me that James is one of them.

      May 11, 2019
      |Reply
  22. Nancy Lande
    Nancy Lande

    Worst book I ever read. So bad, I
    Cannot believe she wrote fifty shades of grey books. There is not one likeable character among them. The plot is awful, the characters worse, and the so called heroine seems to be suffering from multiple personality disorder. Good luck on making this into a movie. It would have to be totally rewritten.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
    • S
      S

      Dissociative Identity Disorder, not Multiple Personality Disorder. I have it and it doesn’t really work like that.

      May 5, 2019
      |Reply
    • Cyrus
      Cyrus

      Wait, hold on – are you saying you can’t believe she wrote 50 Shades because that was so good and The Mister is so bad? Because if so… yikes.

      May 9, 2019
      |Reply
    • Alisha
      Alisha

      I mean … it seems like it’s actually BETTER than 50 Shades, not that that’s saying much …

      May 11, 2019
      |Reply
  23. Suzy
    Suzy

    When I first saw the picture of PJP2 I thought the red votive was a little figurine of a cross between a dalek and a cyberman. Made me giggle when I realized what it actually was.

    April 30, 2019
    |Reply
  24. Perlite
    Perlite

    The more of these recaps I read, the more I’m convinced Alessia was living in some Albanian version of the town from The Village. Where everyone there was led to believe that they were in some 19th-century village in the middle of Donkey-Juice, Nowhere when in actuality they were, like, a mile away from a freeway.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  25. I’ve cleverly grasped exactly how Maxim Trevelyan differs from Christian Grey. The latter has green eyes, not gery ones. Posh stuff, eh?

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  26. I’ve cleverly grasped exactly how Maxim Trevelyan differs from Christian Grey. The latter has green eyes, not grey ones. Posh stuff, eh?

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  27. Jenn H
    Jenn H

    Obvious plot twist to make this better, Alessia isn’t from Albania. Maxim discovers the lie after browsing the country’s wikipedia page, or they run into an actual Albanian and thing get awkward.

    So where is she really from? Why are those men hunting her? So many plot bunnies…

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • S
      S

      I would read the hell out of that.

      May 5, 2019
      |Reply
  28. Dvärghundspossen
    Dvärghundspossen

    This has been pointed out before, but… EVEN IF we buy the absurd premise of Albania still living in medeival times, it’s like Demelssia TELEPORTED to England YESTERDAY. How on Earth has she never been in a grocery store before?

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  29. just a gal
    just a gal

    The “English Catholic missionary in Communist Albania” thing is supremely stupid because non-Albanian missionaries, and especially British missionaries, would not have been able to enter the country under Hoxha. This is a country that executed Catholic priests on suspicion of spying for the Anglo-American alliance in 1948. Like, I cannot stress enough how impossible it is to imagine two British ladies entering 1960s Albania from Kosovo (which was part of Yugoslavia, which … did not have good relations with Albania, and that’s a HELL of an understatement) with a suitcase full of Bibles. It’s just laughable.

    There is just no way EL James did not hastily retcon Alessia from Polish to Albanian. Nothing about this makes sense if you know the basics of Albanian history. (Not that it would make more sense if Alessia was Polish, mind.)

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Mr. Fell
      Mr. Fell

      THANK YOU.

      (I am trying really hard to not think of how the war would even fit in this mess.)

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
  30. Errapel
    Errapel

    Yeah Moss hoping she didn’t experience any ‘horrors’? That’s code for “I sure hope she wasn’t raped, that would make her soiled and ruin my boner!” Is the book actually trying to make him sympathetic with his ‘I don’t care she was sex trafficked!’ thing? Cause he’s not.

    I thought the idea with a romance that starts out with an asshole protagonist is that they become more sympathetic as the story progresses, not less so…

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • S
      S

      That whole area there just….it is so awful. It made me think of when I didn’t want to sleep with someone and he was being pushy, and then asked sarcastically if i has been raped or something. I said yes, as a matter of fact I have, and he turned it around to be about how now I was going to punish him for it by not letting him fuck me. Moss doesn’t have that same sense of resentment but he is definitely coming across as just as entitled.

      May 5, 2019
      |Reply
  31. Kelley
    Kelley

    It’s the lack of the most basic research that’s killing me.

    Kukës is a medium-sized town (~17,000 people in 2011 according to Wikipedia). I “walked” around it on Google street view and saw modern cars, people in modern clothes, restaurants, shops, gas stations, and several banks with ATMs right there on the street. (And, on the websites for those banks you can apply for a VISA or Mastercard). I feel like the readers of this blog have done more research on Albania than EL James.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Without a doubt you are correct.

      She’s probably relying on her most rabid readers to just believe what she writes is true and won’t do the research on Albania, much like a certain “politician” who depends on his base to not look up the truth of his lies from reputable sources.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      That’s about the size of the somewhat rural NY town I grew up in. There were a lot of farms and some dirt roads around, but the county seat was an actual city and people who lived in “the country” still had cars and went to movies and grocery stores and we weren’t backwards country bumpkins, by any means. Heck, we were day-trip distance to New York City.

      Granted, it was the US so maybe the issue is the country and not the size of the town, but I have a strong suspicion she’d lump me into the Alessia category of sophistication just because I lived across the street from a cornfield for a while.

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
      • Mike
        Mike

        Google image results show its buildings and cars look a lot like what you’d find in towns in Canada’s east coast as well. Today. Maybe a little old, and no really tall buildings, but that’s pretty damn far from the pre-industrial era that James seems to be portraying.

        May 1, 2019
        |Reply
  32. Mr. Fell
    Mr. Fell

    >Did her English mother hold those same values and encourage them?
    Yeah, this does not make any sense.
    Althought.
    There is a terrible tendency in colonial texts to talk about how English people going to live abroad “go native” and adopt all the local costumes and languages therefore becoming inferior, which is why Englishmen and locals should never mix.
    So.
    There’s that.

    >This means she traveled to Albania…and decided that it was dirty and provincial and backward and the people were all bewildered peasants who’d never seen a fucking credit card and then she took the opportunity to depict it that way to the entire world.

    On the other hand, it’s amazing to see that “A Room With A View”- where Foster shows a bunch of english tourists acting like they are on another scary planet IN FLORENCE – it’s still relevant.

    >We have to hear the backstory about how Joan went to Poland as a…Catholic…missionary… Because, you know. There are no Catholics in Poland.
    Also it’s not like Catholicism in Poland was ever tied to indipence and resistance to the URSS, so the URSS would have even more reason to NOT let her in. Or maybe they let her in because they were useless.

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  33. Amy
    Amy

    Ok, so here’s what you all are missing with the sex trafficking thing…. She actually *8wasn’t* sex trafficked, she was just kidnapped and managed to escape before the sex part, so its TOTES OK! She’s really only just got PTSD from being kidnapped by scary man who was *going* to make her do sex stuff, but she escaped before that!

    She’s totally a virgin guys. She’s just a garden variety kidnap victim, yo.

    Duh.
    (sarcasm is most heavy here. But yeah, that’s how Im figuring James sees the sex trafficking plot point)

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      It’s just a cute little story she’ll tell her grandkids one day. “Once upon a time Granny was kidnapped and was going to be sold for sex, but she was rescued by Grampy who was so happy she wasn’t sullied by the bad men that he bought her things with a magic card and save her from bad man. Hmm, I forget the English, what that word, means now? Okay, that’s over now and I’m fluent again. And so they lived happily ever after.”

      May 1, 2019
      |Reply
  34. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    E.L. James probably thinks she wrote Maxim as deeply caring about Alessia and wanting to bone her second, but because she is crap at writing (and decent characters and motivations etc.) it comes across as ‘damn, this sex trafficking backstory is such an inconvenience to my dick.’

    It’s like FSoG all over again. What’s in your head, didn’t make it onto the page, James! This is what editors are for!

    May 1, 2019
    |Reply
  35. Pahal khanna
    Pahal khanna

    The storyline was good but the book didnt really make me feel anything
    I feel like it could have been better and I felt like the author didnt wanna write the book cuz the book had no feeling like you read about the feeling but you didnt feel it
    I feel like alessia shouldn’t have opened up about her past so quickly
    And maxim shouldn’t have hid his title from her
    All in all it wasnt a bad book could have been better tho

    May 1, 2019
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  36. Puff
    Puff

    I’m from South Africa and we have exactly 1 Starbucks in the entire country. It’s in the mall which ajoins the one subway we have that goes to the airport. So it basically just exists for international tourists.

    I’m reading a fanfic at the moment where the main character is a reader insert and it’s written in 2nd person POV and the reader is suffering from really and PTSD and the other 2 main male characters who are very militant and live in a hard dictatorship are slowly warming up to hear and getting attached and softening as they try and help her recover from her horrible experiences as she fights with confused feelings of romantic interest as well as unhealthy dependency on the first people who have been nice to her in years and this free fanfic is written better and has more world building than this fucking book you can buy in a store.

    The fanfic whose main character is a literal reader-insert written as “you” has more character, backstory and personality than one of our main leads in this nonsense.

    Also it managed to to offend an entire country by having its dictatorship be somewhere made-up and not mirroring or implied to be anywhere real. Imagine that.

    May 1, 2019
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  37. merry
    merry

    I’m from another tiny little country in Europe and I can’t stress enough how happy I am that she didn’t choose to review us… Not that we are a country of criminals and victims but when a book like this becomes popular, the truth stops to matter.

    May 2, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      “but when a book like this becomes popular, the truth stops to matter.”

      And that is the problem with Eel’s “It’s just fiction” mentality. If you’re going to not use any actual facts about a country you specifically name in a book, just make up a country. People do it all the time. Unfortunately there are a lot of really busy (and some really lazy) people in the world, who are going to assume the author did her research and that what she is writing about Albania is based on some sort of facts she researched. They won’t realize that the extent of her “research” was a vacation and a soup recipe.

      I get taking some creative liberties but I do think that authors have some responsibility, if they choose to use real people, places, things, to depict these things with some level of accuracy. If a quick internet search reveals there are modern grocery stores all over Albania, maybe don’t make your Albanian character awed by a gas station convenience store.

      The lack of effort she has put into any of this angers me. If you’re not going to be fair about your depiction, just don’t fucking depict a real place. Of all the characters in this book I feel worst for Albania… and the Thames. That poor river has to be ogled by Pervy McMoss constantly and poor Albania is pretty much just being shit on every time it’s mentioned.

      May 2, 2019
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      • Anonymous
        Anonymous

        As an amateur author, I second this strongly, but with caveats.

        If you invent a place, it is still pretty easy (at least for me, as privileged as I am) to accidentally write fictional country X as suspiciously similar actual country Y, or the people who live there to have stereotypes reminiscent of real human subgroup Y.

        My stories contain no humans at all, and are set in a place with its own deep lore, but I still have to be thoughtful and self-critical to avoid becoming the next Tolkien. (Read some of his original commentary about how he designed Orcs if you don’t know what I’m referring to.)

        Unfortunately, I think we can all agree that “being careful” is not part of Eel’s writing process.

        May 4, 2019
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  38. Vely
    Vely

    Maybe that’s just me, but I feel like the word “Fuck” as a swear right after realizing you can’t touch the girl you want because she was SEX TRAFFICKED isn’t the best wording. And this chapter isn’t the first one in which he does that.

    May 2, 2019
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    • Dinah Lord
      Dinah Lord

      I think a lot of not very good writers tend to insert a lot of profanity in their male characters’ viewpoints because they think men talk like this, and to distinguish them quickly from their female characters’ pov.

      May 7, 2019
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  39. Dawn
    Dawn

    Danny the housekeeper? As in Danny the housekeeper at Manderly in the Daphne DuMaurier classic, Rebecca?

    May 3, 2019
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  40. J.
    J.

    All I want to know is… was the love interest in Poldark trafficked or sexually assaulted in anyway? I want to know how she came up with this human trafficking theme and I’ll be damned if she did it herself.

    When I read missionary the first thing I thought was Jehovah’s witnesses. I should have known better.

    May 3, 2019
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    • Dinah Lord
      Dinah Lord

      I’m only going by the TV series, but no: Demelza was physically abused by her father, and Ross saved her from being beaten by hiring her as his housekeeper.

      May 7, 2019
      |Reply
  41. Oye, I am eastern European, came from Russia to America in mid 1990s as a kid, and god this book enrages me on so many levels! I am also fascinated by history and so many unexplained facts that E.L James never talked about…my head wants to explode.

    May 19, 2019
    |Reply

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