Skip to content

Jealous Hater Book Club: The Mister chapter thirty or “To the rescue! I swear! Any time now!”

Posted in Uncategorized

I’m going to take a moment here to recognize my Patreon patrons for the month of July. Usually, I do this in a video but due to my phone being a super asshole, the video I filmed went away into the ether, never to return. So, allow me to force your eyeballs onto this list of people who donated $5 and up in the month of July:

  • Adriane
  • Amy B
  • Anastasia
  • Barbara W
  • Breanne B
  • Casey C
  • Christie E
  • Christina G
  • Debbie M
  • Emily B
  • Erin R
  • Jenny D
  • Kari
  • Katharine W
  • Kathryn G
  • Kira P
  • Kirsten W
  • Lauren B
  • Lindsey L
  • Linsel
  • Lucy G
  • Miriam W
  • Miss Kitty Fantastico
  • Nicola H
  • Olivia B
  • Rebecca P
  • Roma
  • Ryan F
  • Sandy B
  • Sarah R
  • Sarah A
  • Shanti M
  • Smelter P
  • Stormy K
  • TeJay the Mad
  • Teresa D
  • Vallie M
  • Veerle VV
  • Victoria M
  • Ximena D

Thank you so much for your patronage and you’ll be named in the combo July/August video. If you’re not a Patron, you can see past videos and the weird shit I did for them on my YouTube channel. Everybody, let’s give them a big hand because without their support, this place wouldn’t run as smoothly. And I mean. This place doesn’t run smoothly. So just imagine how bad it could be.

And remember, even if you can’t support my efforts monetarily, you being here and reading these words is always support enough. I’m so pleased to have such a cool bunch of people who come read my silly stuff and then say really smart and awesome things in the comments.

So, now it’s onto the bad part of this recap. Ha ha, just kidding, it’s ALL bad. But here’s the part where I have to give a CONTENT WARNING: Not only is there a violent attempted rape (which I don’t excerpt), there’s also suicidal ideation and more discussion of intimate partner violence.

We’re almost done. Let’s do this.

We pick up chapter thirty exactly where twenty-nine left off. In other words, the chapter was ridiculously long, had no hook, and needed to be broken up somehow. So, the hook we ended up with was Demelssia looking at her steak and the next chapter being Anatoli just seconds later telling her she should eat.

Again, notice how the villain of this book so strongly resembles the “hero” of the most popular romance novel franchise of all time?

Demelssia refuses to eat and Anatoli says:

“In that case I think it’s time we went to bed.” The tone of his voice makes her look up sharply. He’s sitting back in his chair, watchful. Waiting. Like a predator.

[…]

His eyes on her, intense, darker. She’s paralyzed by his stare.

From Fifty Shades of Grey:

I am mesmerized…watching him like one would watch a rare and dangerous predator, waiting for him to strike.

Just saying.

Anatoli is like, look, this is happening, I’m going to rape you. She fights back and he drags her off to the bedroom for a super graphic and violent assault that I’m not going to excerpt here because it’s horrific. She only gets him to stop by telling him she’s on her period, which works. He says they should wait and leaves her alone to cry.

How long can she cry before her tears dry up?

Moments. Seconds. Hours.

Yes, those are indeed measurements of time.

So, after the attempted rape, there’s a section break and Anatoli tells her they’re suited for each other and he gets in bed with her. Then there’s another section break and time has passed. Demelssia wakes up at dawn and Anatoli is still asleep. She slept in her clothes and realizes she could run from him.

Beside her duffel she spies Anatoli’s suitcase. Maybe he keeps his money in there….If he does, it could help her escape. Carefully she unzips it, not knowing what she’ll find inside.

It’s neatly packed. There are some clothes–and his gun.

Demelssia realizes she could kill him right now and get away.

A tremor runs up her spine, and her breathing shallows. He’s kidnapped her Beaten her. Choked her. Nearly raped her. She despises him and everything he stands for. She’s terrified of him. She raises her trembling hand and takes aim. Quietly she releases the safety. Her head is throbbing, sweat beading on her brow.

This is it.

Her moment.

Her hand wobbles, and her visions blurs with her tears.

No. No. No. No.

Four this time. Serious business.

She’s not a murderer.

This makes sense and is consistent with her character. We know she’s a kind person with a tender heart. I just wish there would have been maybe a little bit more here. Like, an acknowledgment that she can’t prove she’s been kidnapped, that she’ll go to jail and almost certainly be put on trial in a country where she doesn’t speak the language and has no allies, that kind of thing. Because it would have hammered home her predicament a little more. Real-world details like that up the stakes more by narrowing down the options the character has.

She turns the gun around. And stares down the barrel. She’s seen enough American television to know what to do.

She doesn’t want to blindly accept her fate. This is one way out.

She could end it all, now. Her misery would be over.

Hold up. Is the implication here…I mean, I don’t have to preface it with a question. The implication here totally is that people in Albania need to learn how to commit suicide because they aren’t Westernized enough. Of all the fucking weird shit in this book, this might be the weirdest. Demelssia knows how to kill herself because she learned it on American television. As if there is no way she could have possibly put together “shoot self in face = die” on her own. Because she’s from Albania.

I just.

People paid money for this book.

FUCK ME I PAID MONEY FOR THIS BOOK.

The thing that stops her from killing herself is the thought of her mother and the fact that someone would have to clean up. Which, again, those are really fucking true-to-life thoughts when someone considers suicide.

She crumples to the floor. Defeated. A failure. She cannot take her own life.

Yes, absolutely, thoughts you have when you decide not to commit suicide, as your brain frantically tries to convince you to go through with it. 100%.

She doesn’t have the gumption.

…uh.

Everything was actually going really well until this point. Honestly, I was thinking, “My god, this is accurate. This is actually a true-to-life depiction of someone’s thoughts when they’re in suicidal despair. Wow! E.L. James did a good job with this.”

And then I got to “gumption.”

Gumption is positive. Gumption means resourceful. The ability to take initiative to find solutions other people might not be bold enough to ask for.

Gumption is not a word you use to describe a trait someone is lacking because they didn’t complete suicide.

The sorrow is overwhelming.

This is a sentence you never, ever need in a scene where your POV character has just tried to kill themselves. If it’s not obvious that they’re overwhelmed by sorrow when they’re putting a gun to their own head then you’ve failed and need to rewrite the scene.

Look. There are moments of actually good writing with a nuanced understanding of the subject matter in this book. And that’s why I’m so furious. A good editor who wants an author to present their work in the best possible form and an author invested in their own work enough to put aside their ego could have made this book so much better. And that’s infuriating.

Demelssia decides to take the bullets out of the gun and put it back. Anatoli wakes and Demelssia takes a shower and breakfast has arrived. Then, they have this conversation that I swear to Dog could be inserted anywhere into Fifty Shades Darker or Fifty Shades Freed and it would fucking fit:

“You stayed,” Anatoli says quietly. He seems subdued, though he’s as watchful as ever.

“Where would I go?” Alessia replies warily.

He shrugs. “You left me once before.”

Alessia stares at him. Mute. Despondent. Exhausted.

“Is it because you care for me?” he whispers.

“Don’t flatter yourself,” she says, and, sitting down, picks out a pain au chocolat from the bread basket.

He takes his seat opposite her, and she can tell he’s hiding a slight and hopeful smile.

Seriously. I was inspired to rewrite this as Ana and Christian, in their first-person, present tense:

“You stayed,” Christian says quietly. He seems subdued, though he’s as watchful as ever.

“Where would I go?” I reply warily.

He shrugs. “You left me once before.”

I stare at him. Mute. Despondent. Exhausted.

“Is it because you care for me?” he whispers.

“Don’t flatter yourself,” I say, and, sitting down, pick out a pain au chocolat from the bread basket.

He takes his seat opposite me, and I can tell he’s hiding a slight and hopeful smile.

Anatoli is Christian Grey. E.L James managed to write a book that confirms that the hero of her first series was an abusive monster, contrary to her repeated insistence that he’s just troubled or whatever. I wish it was on purpose but I can’t believe that it would be.

We check in with Moss’s POV now, where he’s considering the many tourist options of the city.

Tom and I wander across the vast Skanderbeg Square, which is close to the hotel. It’s a clear, chill morning, with the sun reflecting off the multicolored marble tiles that pave the gargantuan space. It’s dominated on one side by a bronze statue of Albania’s fifteenth-century hero on horseback, and on the other by the National History Museum. Although I’m anxious to get to Alessia’s town to find her home, we have to wait to meet our interpreter.

I’m unsettled and jittery and unable to keep still, so to kill time Tom and I take a quick walk through the museum.

You have got to be fucking kidding me right now with this bullshit.

I distract myself by snapping numerous photographs and posting the odd one online.

Are.

I get told off twice, but I ignore the officials and continue to take photographs surreptitiously.

You.

It’s hardly the British Museum,

Fucking.

but I’m fascinated by the Illyrian facts. Tom, of course, is preoccupied with the displays of medieval weaponry;

Kidding.

Albania has a rich and bloody history.

Me.

Your girlfriend has been kidnapped by her abusive fiancé. You go to a museum as a guest in her country, snidely remark that it’s not as good as the Museum in your country, and ignore the rules even after being reprimanded by guards because you have to post on Instagram. Which, by the way, if that doesn’t fucking come up in this book later, like she sees his Instagram and knows he’s coming after her or something, I will dress up like a pirate, run into a Barnes and Noble, yell “Argh, I be piratin’ this book,” grab a copy of The Mister and run into the street with it, where I will set it on fire.

Just kidding. I tried to burn an E.L. James book once. It wouldn’t even catch. It barely smoldered.

The elements don’t even want anything to do with this crap.

As for Tom, his friend with war-related PTSD, “of course” he’s going to want to view only the most bloodthirsty parts of the museum. Because that shit couldn’t be a trigger at all. And while we’re on the subject of “rich and bloody history,” you know who else has a rich and bloody history? FUCKING. ENGLAND.

This English author is really writing about another country having a “bloody history” when her country went out and colonized 3/4 of the world but ofuckingkay.

At ten we stroll down one of the tree-lined boulevards toward the coffeehouse where we’ve arranged to meet our translator.

STROLLED?

WHERE IS THE URGENCY? WHERE IS IT? WHERE!?

I am struck by how many men are sitting around drinking coffee outside, even though it’s cold.

Where are the women.

Inside where it’s warm because they’re just a little bit smarter than the men?

They meet their translator, get his full name and a backstory and good news, he brought his girlfriend and we get her backstory as well!

She wants to come with us.

Well, this could get complicated.

Yes. And that’s why the author should not have added a superfluous character. We don’t need to know much about the translator at all.

What do you know of Kukës?” I ask Drita directly.

She gives Thanas a nervous glance.

“That bad?” I eye them both.

“It has a reputation. When the Communists fell, Albania was…”

ENOUGH WITH THE GOD DAMN COMMUNISTS.

By the way, they have this whole chat over a cup of coffee instead of like, on the drive.

“Shall we get going?” I ask, eager to leave.

YOU COULD HAVE FUCKING FOOLED ME.

In Demelssia’s POV, we’re desperately grasping to meet word count:

Under any other circumstances, Alessia might have enjoyed this journey. She’s had a lightning tour of Europe’s highways. But she’s with Anatoli, the man she’ll be forced to marry–and she still has to face her father when they reach Kukës.

Wow, really? Are you going to be forced to marry Anatoli? Things are all coming together now. I wasn’t quite sure what motivated you to attempt suicide earlier in this chapter.

She sees the sea and it reminds her of Maxim and Anatoli is like, oh, I have some properties here in Croatia and the entire scene is there for no reason at all. We pop back to Moss’s POV where he describes the chaos of driving in Albania (which, from what I understand, is a valid observation) and an interesting-looking building that their translator explains is a hotel that’s been under construction for a long time.

We. Don’t. Need. These. Details.

If you want to show people photos from your vacation, put them on Facebook. Not in your fucking novel.

We also have to hear about how the translator’s parents learned English from the BBC World Service while it was banned by the Communists because it’s important to get more backstory about an extremely minor character who shows up 94% into the novel. Why? So Moss can assert British supremacy.

It transpires that the BBC, and most things British, are held in high regard by Albanians. It’s where they all want to go.

They all want to go to the BBC. You heard it here first, in a sentence that doesn’t say what the author thought it did.

Because this is a child’s social studies report on Albania, we also learn about Kukës winning the Nobel Peace Prize for taking in Kosovo refugees escaping genocide.

Is that…is that the bad reputation the town has?

They drive through the mountains, where Moss is shocked to have cell signal. Oliver calls and says the police want to talk to Demelssia, that some stolen stuff has been recovered from the break-in, and that the traffickers were wanted for other crimes already. Then there’s a lot of stuff about the landscape and how beautiful it is that I’m going to skip because the author should have, as well.

In Demelssia’s POV, she and Anatoli go to a diner, where he’s super agitated and won’t let her talk to her mother when he calls her. Then it’s back to Moss’s POV:

Close up, Kukës is not what I thought it wouldd be. It’s a nondescript town of weathered Soviet-style apartments build in blocks.

Then there’s a history of the town. Not shitting you, when it was built, how it gets its power from a hydroelectric dam, and again, no women. The hotel they stay at is American-themed, so we hear all about how it’s decorated and what the owner looks like and what the rooming arrangements are for all four people on this trip now, and then it’s FINALLY time to give a shit about the fact that they’re about to rescue Demelssia.

HA! Nope:

“Yes. What time would you like to go?”

“Five minutes. Just give us time to unpack.”

He’s gonna unpack.

Before he goes to rescue the love of his life.

He’s gonna take the time to unpack.

Steady on, Trevethick,” butts in Tom. “Can’t we have a drink first?”

Hmm…As my father would say, some Dutch courage always helps.

“A quick one. And just one. Okay? I’m going to meet my future wife’s parents–I don’t want to be stocious.”

Nevermind, they’re going to unpack and go for a drink.

You guys, I just can’t, anymore. I just want to put my head down on my desk and take a nap.

We cut to an hour later and they’re outside Demelssia’s parents’ house:

We’re on a large plot, surrounded by naked trees, though there are a few firs and a sizable, well-kept vegetable patch. The house is painted a pale green and has three stories and two balconies that face the water, from what I can see. It’s larger than the other houses we saw on our way here. Perhaps Alessia’s folks are affluent. I have no idea. The lake looks magnificent, lit up with hues of a fading winter sunset.

On the outside of the house, there’s a satellite dish, and it reminds me of a conversation I had with Alessia.

Was it the conversation where she told you she didn’t live in Kukës? Like, seriously, she lives an hour away? It’s not a geographically huge city, looking on the map. It’s like, three square miles.

Anyway, is anyone else having a hard time reconciling Demelssia’s stories of her hardscrabble childhood with a three-story lakeside retreat, a sprawling lawn, and a satellite dish? Just me? The way she described her home I thought she would be living in a half-under ground dirt-walled hovel thing like a moisture farmer on Tattooine.

Moss goes up to the door and knocks.

My heart is pounding, and in spite of the cold a trickle of sweat runs down my back.

This is it.

Game face on, dude.

I’m about to meet my new in-laws–thoough they don’t know it yet.

Remember, he’s not sure if Demelssia was kidnapped or left, but he’s been leaning toward kidnapped, right? So, why is his thought that he has to bring his game, rather than some kind of hope that they’ve heard from Demelssia or know where she is? And if he doesn’t think Demelssia is in danger, isn’t he just acting exactly like Anatoli, assuming he can make a woman marry him if she doesn’t want to?

So, here’s an interesting thing:

The door half opens, and a chink of light behind her reveals a slight, middle-aged woman in a head-scarf.

This is 100% pure speculation on my part here but is it possible that we’re supposed to have read Demelssia as coded-Muslim this whole time but the author just like, never used the word? We’ve heard about Demelssia wearing a headscarf and referring to Christianity as her grandmother’s religion, her home is in an area where a lot of Muslims live, and the stereotypes about abusive patriarchal customs and forced marriage and honor killings are exactly what I would expect James to present if she were trying to get across that her character was Muslim. Demelssia’s mother even tells Moss that he can’t be there because her husband isn’t at home. It feels like James wanted to write a story with a Muslim heroine but thought all the stuff she wrote would sound xenophobic if she used the actual word because what she wrote was super xenophobic. I can’t say for sure that’s what happened, I’m just saying that’s how it comes off to me as a reader.

Anyway, Moss tells Mrs. Demachi that he’s come to ask her husband for permission to marry their daughter, and we go back to Demelssia’s POV.

“Our final border crossing, carissima,” Anatoli says. “Back to your home country. Shame on you for leaving it and skulking away like a thief and dishonoring your family. When we return, you can apologize to your parents for the worry you have caused them.”

This dialogue is like like the first scene of a soap opera airing on a Monday after a hell of Friday cliff-hanger.

The chill in the air reaches through her clohtes and entwines around her heart. And she knows it’s because she’s pining for the only man she’ll ever love.

Well, I’m glad she knows why. I was worried she forgot.

Anatoli puts her in the trunk.

“Get in. It will be night soon,” Anatoli snaps as he holds open the lid.

The night belongs to the djinn.

And she’s staring at one now. That’s what he is. The djinn personified.

Okay, but djinn can be either bad or good. I have this feeling that James thinks djinn means like, the devil or demons.

Anyway, Demelssia’s in the trunk now.

Over at Demelssia’s childhood home and in Moss’s POV, Mrs. Demachi asks him to come inside. He takes off his shoes and notes that he’s glad his socks match and how Demelssia is the reason for that and like, damn, dude. Get yourself together. He describes the house, which I’ll skip because it basically boils down to colorful, folksy rugs and blankets on everything and framed photos around. Of course, he sees one of Demelssia playing the piano and then he actually sees the piano, etc. Maybe I should care about this whole section more but I just don’t because the kidnapping/chase has been dragged out for so long now.

Mrs. Demachi asks for news about Demelssia, and Moss tells her that she worked for him and they fell in love and they were very happy.

“How do you know that she wants to marry you?”

Ah!

“In truth, Mrs. Demachi, I don’t know. I haven’t had the chance to ask her. I believe that she’s been kidnapped and is being brought to Albania against her will.”

Like, I feel like her mom would know that her daughter has been kidnapped, though, if Anatoli is bringing her back.

Moss tells Mrs. Demachi that Demelssia told him she doesn’t want to marry Anatoli.

“My husband will return soon. And it is for him to decide what will become of Alessia. His mind is set on her betrothed. He has given her word.” She looks down at her clasped hands. “I let her go once, and it broke my heart. I don’t think I can let her go again.”

“Do you want her to be trapped in a violent, abusive marriage?”

Her eyes whip to mine, and in them I see a glimpse of her pain and her insight, swiftly followed by her shock that I know–this is her life.

Mrs. Demachi’s motive here is absurd. She risked everything to send Demelssia away. Mrs. Demachi put herself in danger just to make sure Demelssia could escape that life. And now the excuse is, well, I’ll just miss her so ding-dang much? Not buying it.

Mrs. Demachi tells Moss he has to leave but says he should come back at eight because that’s when they’re expecting Demelssia to return.

I have a question.

WHY THE FUCK DOES THAT NEED TO BE A THING?

This rescue is so fucking convoluted and it didn’t need to be. We didn’t need the translator and the translator’s girlfriend and their entire backstory. We just needed, “After we picked up our translator,” and then move the action forward. We didn’t need them to arrive at their hotel and have a drink or go to a museum or to get the history of Albania at this point. We needed them to drive up to the Demachis’ house and boom, the action moves forward.

None of this was an attempt at suspense or creating tension. It’s just here to make the book longer. Nothing here is working. There’s a big misunderstanding that just got abandoned, I guess, because Demelssia didn’t go with Anatoli because of the misunderstanding, she was just really upset about it while she was with Anatoli and it changed her behavior and reactions zero percent. There’s a problem with the time table that’s slowing everything down. Moss needed to come home and find the fucking note, believe she left him, and then have some kind of memory or clue that she didn’t leave on purpose and now it’s days later and oh no, now there’s really a time crunch. This book is a master class in how to not write romantic suspense. The stakes can’t be high if the risks are too low.

But no, we have to account for every hour of the god damn day, we go back to the hotel bar and wait with Tom and Moss until Moss says he can’t wait anymore and they go to the house early. After a section break, they get there and do the whole nervous-to-meet-the-parents thing because Moss knows he has to prove he’s a better option for Demelssia than Anatoli is.

Maybe you should open with, IDK, “I’m an earl.”

I’m going to cheap out on you a little here and just summarize the scene, but I do have to give you this picture of Mr. Demachi:

Demachi is older than his wife; his face is weather-beaten, his hair more gray than black. He wears a somber dark suit that lends him the air of a Mafia don. His eye give nothing away. I’m glad he’s half a head shorter than me.

We had to get the organized crime in there somehow, right?

Anyway, the scene goes on with an exchange of information all the parties probably already know. Moss tells Mr. Demachi that he knows Demelssia ran away because of the arranged marriage. When Mr. Demachi asks Moss why he’d want to marry Demelssia’, his answer is that he loves her. We go back to Demelssia’s POV, where she’s expecting to be beaten upon arrival. They get there and she notices the extra car outside but she’s so focused on getting to her mom that she doesn’t really think about it. Instead, she runs in and sees Moss sitting with her dad.

He’s here.

And the chapter ends.

My Impression So Far: This book needed to be half as long as it is and include twenty-percent of the characters and details. Why do we need to know about the translator and his girlfriend? Why did they have to be named and given backstories? In this genre, they didn’t. This is supposed to be suspense. The time to introduce a side character with a rich and interesting backstory is not and never will be during what should be the fairly fast-paced climax of a romantic suspense novel. What’s worse is, even as bad as Fifty Shades Freed was, and even as obvious and boring and ridiculous as the kidnapping plot in that book was? It was more exciting and more tightly paced than this. And that was supposed to be erotic romance, not romantic suspense.

Every time I write one of these recaps, I’m chilled to the bone by the knowledge that in the Berenstein universe exists a version of E.L. James who has deft instincts for plotting, pacing, and characterization.

Did you enjoy this post?

Trout Nation content is always free, but you can help keep things going by making a small donation via Ko-fi!

Or, consider becoming a Patreon patron!

156 Comments

  1. many bells down
    many bells down

    “Inside where it’s warm because they’re just a little bit smarter than the men?”

    Cannot. Stop. Giggling.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
  2. Sadie Coffey
    Sadie Coffey

    “I tried to burn an E.L. James book once. It wouldn’t even catch. It barely smoldered.”

    SPIT TAKE.

    Omg I laughed so hard.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
    • ShifterCat
      ShifterCat

      I was a little thrown by “The elements don’t even want anything to do with this crap,” because I figured that “It barely smoldered” was a joke about how bad the romance part is.

      Or perhaps it’s two jokes back-to-back.

      August 13, 2019
      |Reply
  3. Mat Winser
    Mat Winser

    Also, next time I have a deadline for anything – I’ll just dander round a museum instead.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
  4. Anon
    Anon

    I’m not saying there is no suicide depicted on American television, but is there really that much? And detailed and graphic enough that she would make that connection? Maybe I just watch different things than other people because I can’t think of even once instance off the top of my head.

    I have not watched or read 13 Reasons Why. So I don’t know if there’s something graphic in there?

    Even if England never colonized anywhere, its internal history is pretty damned bloody. Let’s not forget that a man most likely murdered and then hid the bodies of his own pre-pubescent nephews in order to steal the throne. Then 00 years later, his own body turned up buried under a parking lot. And that’s just one example.

    I still think this was an attempt at a J. Peterman Catalog.

    “She’s had a lightning tour of Europe’s highways.”

    Hasn’t she been in the trunk most of the way?

    “… how it gets its power from a hydroelectric dam …”

    This is true of the majority of the Northeastern US. Niagara Falls powers most of it. It’s so important and widespread that after 9/11, it got special protection for months. I lived in Buffalo. Niagara Falls is a Natural Wonder of the World. And unless I were writing and ACTUAL history book, if I were writing something set in Western NY, the last thing in the world I would talk about is Niagara Falls powering most of the Northeastern US.

    Why did they need a translator at all? Does he even factor into anything here? Was he with them translating between Moss and the parents and you just left it out? What is even the point of his existence at all?

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      Having a character learn anything related to gun violence because of American television is a no-brainer. Gun related suicide is often used in American programs and god knows you just have to watch the evening news to hear about a shooter turning the gun on himself.

      I’m not saying that this is something that only exists on American television, just pointing what I think is fairly obvious at this point: America has an incredibly disturbing relationship with guns.

      I’m with Jenny though; I really don’t think you need to see a fictional portrayal in order to “learn” how to kill yourself with a gun. WTF did James include that tidbit? She may as well have written “She had watched enough American television to know the item was a gun” ffs.

      August 9, 2019
      |Reply
    • Nahhah
      Nahhah

      She was only in the boot for the border crossings I think… and I think the point about American television might be that there’s more graphic content in it than Albanian TV (will just say I have no idea what happens in Albanian programmes but EL seems to be getting at the point that it’s a very conservative culture) which includes depictions of suicide perhaps? But you’d see that in British television and any other Western European programmes that they presumably broadcast too? Also she’s been in the UK for a while so she’ll have seen those British shows… nope, makes no sense still! And yes very bloody history here definitely!! Civil war, many wars with France, Spain… most countries in Europe at some point, all the colonising… but it’s Albania that’s barbaric and primitive remember..?

      August 9, 2019
      |Reply
    • K R
      K R

      I think she meant that she’d learned about guns from American TV and that’s why she knew how to use it to kill herself, but still…ugh…EL, please never write another novel ever again.

      August 12, 2019
      |Reply
  5. Jules
    Jules

    I’m confused. Moss went to ask Ma and Pa Dimzy for her hand. Ma is all “and how is she doing?” Moss is all “IDK, she got kidnapped before I could ask.” Then Ma is like, “well, she’ll be here at 8 so why don’t you just stick around?” WTF is this shit?!?!?!?!

    I can’t even accuse a monkey of writing this because that is an insult to monkey’s everywhere. I could let my non-existent cat walk across my keyboard and come up with a more coherent story than this, or since I don’t actually have a cat, I could get drunk and pass out, banging my head against the keyboard and come up with a better story than this.

    Is she punking the entire world?

    I have to admit, there was a moment there Jenny when I thought, this is some kind of practical joke Jenny is pulling on us. This book doesn’t actually exist. She’s just seeing how long she can convince us all that it does. Then I remembered all the best seller list stuff and that other people have actually read this thing and my brain just shut down. It refuses to go on in a world in which a book like this actually exists.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Okay, now I really wish they’d gone to one of Anatoli’s properties in Croatia instead, just to fuck with these dumb expectations. Maybe he has a house on an island! Then Dimzy could be right beside the Adriatic. From what I understand, island-hopping is actually a desirable vacation there, they’re lovely and sparsely populated at best, but it’s hard unless you own a boat or charter one, so maybe Anatoli owns/rents a yacht.

      Of course, she’d be trapped and Moss would actually have to work up a bit of a sweat if Anatoli sent a last-minute text lol I’m sorry, email of “screw it, I do what I want, we’re spending a few days at my vacation home” and then we’d probably have some horrible rape scenes but fuck it… go hardcore at this point, show more trauma. She’ll be a strong survivor, and she can shove Moss to the curb when he turns up or he can help her deal with it, get her some therapy, and ya know, actually do something for someone else. And he’ll marry her anyway because she’s still the woman he loves… although she might not love him if she finds out how calmly he took his fucking time and went to meet her parents without her. Maybe Dimzy has to save herself by learning how to steal and drive a boat, during a fucking storm, and she finds her own way, starts a new life in Croatia or Italy or Slovenia.

      That would be interesting.

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
  6. Hek
    Hek

    Eastern Europeans wear head scarves for – as far as I’m aware – non-religious reasons, but it’s pretty old-fashioned. I’ve never seen a fellow Millenial wear it. So I would assume James is angling for that Eastern European “ethnic” look, rather than the Muslim thing. \o/

    That’s about all I can say.

    What the hell is this book?

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
    • Siobhannabon
      Siobhannabon

      Yeah, the description always made me think of my Nan tying her waterproof headscarf on when she went shopping in bad weather, or one of those olive oil spread adverts where all the matriarchs wear headscarves to protect their heads from the sun.

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
    • Holly
      Holly

      Yeah, when she described that I just pictured my Fiddler on the Roof costume.

      August 12, 2019
      |Reply
  7. Hek
    Hek

    Also, is it actually common for a non-American who hasn’t before encountered a gun to just… instinctively KNOW how to unload one? Is that something that’s intuitive with a gun?

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      Depending on the type of gun and what programs you’ve seen/video games you’ve played, unloading a gun is not tricky (for Americans or non-Americans).

      August 9, 2019
      |Reply
      • Cat
        Cat

        Sorry, not NECESSARILY tricky

        August 9, 2019
        |Reply
    • THAT is actually the thing that could’ve gone with the “American television” bit: knowing how to unload a gun. Not how to commit suicide with one.

      August 9, 2019
      |Reply
      • Anansi
        Anansi

        Also, the word “gumption”. I’ve never heard it outside the most violently American contexts

        August 9, 2019
        |Reply
        • bewalsh7
          bewalsh7

          well then you need to watch “The Holiday”, since that uses gumption in a much more normal way.

          August 12, 2019
          |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      It’s noted in an earlier chapter that her father has guns. I think I made a reference to it in one of these recaps, about the wolves he needs guns for or something.

      ETA: It’s also noted in THIS chapter that she knows how to unload the gun because she’s seen her father do it. I just didn’t excerpt that part because we already knew her father had guns.

      August 9, 2019
      |Reply
      • Cat
        Cat

        Oh, that’s right! Her father goes out in his mafia suit to shoot the wolves that terrorize the lakeside resort community! And he shoots them with a pistol because that makes sense.

        August 9, 2019
        |Reply
    • Casey
      Casey

      Wait, is it common for an *American* who hasn’t before encountered a gun to know how to unload one? Because I don’t even think I’d know how to flick the safety thing. (I only vaguely sense that it’s something you “flick” based on enough action scenes in books and fanfic. I could be totally wrong about that, too.)

      August 27, 2019
      |Reply
  8. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    Well, “Good News” to you Dacia Sondero fans, The Mister has dropped off Publisher’s weekly list (WAS #25 last week, NOW off the list) and the number of reviews over at Amazon for the book is slowing down a lot, Still, only about 1/3 Amazon reviews have given it one or two stars, but that’s enough to put a dent in things for this run. Sadly about 250,000 copies have been sold (I don’t know if that’s world-wide or just US sales) but that’s a lot fewer than the 125,000,000 world-wide sales for 50.

    So, with any luck, she’ll become a has-been by the time the next book rolls out.

    One can only hope.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
  9. Lucy
    Lucy

    I know this point was made before, but why is this “clever, strong, smart “ heroine who is emphatically NOT a damsel in distress misses again and again opportunities to escape? There was a third option between killing Anatoli and herself-holding him at gun point, escaping the room and asking for help. I could buy her passivity if there was a stronger sense of her PTSD coming back or if Anatoli hinted he had minions who could hurt Moss and/or her parents.

    Also, how could her family be implied to be well off and not manage to own a “clever phone “ or a trip to the seaside?

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I assume EEL revised the ending with the details from her holiday, as someone else pointed out, and didn’t bother to revise that dumb shit at the beginning. Which could work if it was Moss just making assumptions but doesn’t when it’s Dimzy having a disconnect from her old life. I guess I could buy that dad wouldn’t let either one have a “clever phone” so he could control them better but she’d still have seen his or a friend’s and they probably would’ve been to the beach at least once.

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
    • Amy Too
      Amy Too

      This would be a good time for The Big Misunderstanding TM to come in again. She could think of all these clever ways to escape and maybe even half heartedly attempt one or two, but she keeps picturing Moss and Caroline embracing in front of his apartment and she loses her gumption and gives up. (See how I used gumption appropriately there, EEL?)

      Maybe she can still be a “clever, brave, not-like-other-girls” heroine and decide that she’s going to let Anatoli bring her back home since she has no future with Moss and she can’t really just start a new life here in Italy or Croatia without any money or paperwork, but once she gets home, she’s not going to marry him. She’s either going to run away again, or she’s going to turn her dad and Anatoli in to the authorities, or she’s going to blackmail Anatoli with the information she now knows about his mafia career, or she’s going to bust the human trafficking ring, or she’s going to live her life as a nun or a spinster, being truly independent of all the men who have screwed her over. She can actually implement these plans once in Albania or we could just see her disassociating from what’s happening with Anatoli and spending her time in the trunk planning in detail her escape and revenge scheme. We would get to see her using her brain and at least being a “clever, brave, not-like-other-girls” heroine in her thinking, rather than just being this tired all the time, empty shell of a person that things happen to.

      Then Moss could come and find her. Or better yet, after she’s run away and begun implementing her blackmail/revenge plan, she could figure out that Moss is in Albania based on all those stupid social media posts, and SHE could find HIM. They resolve the Big Misunderstanding TM and the story still ends romantically.

      August 12, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        OMG wouldn’t it have been perfect if she escaped, saw his Instagram on her clever phone which she’s always had but needed to charge up (which she can’t do in the trunk of a car), and went straight to the museum… He looks up in happy shock from some cool display to see her tapping her foot, arms crossed, then she walks over, and slaps him?

        “Bad Maxim! Heel!”

        “Ow! I’m not a puppy…”

        “You could have fooled me. Zot! Where have you been?!”

        “Er… I was going to your parents’ house later.”

        “WHAT? I WAS NOT GOING THERE!”

        “It was the only lead I had!”

        “We leave. Now! But, uh, we do it quietly and pretend I’m no longer as angry. I didn’t mean to draw attention and he is still out there.” She offers her arm to Maxim. “But I clearly must put you on a leash. Your ADD is terrible. Thank god you are addicted to photography! You haven’t been troubling these people, have you?”

        They walk past a glaring guard and Maxim looks chagrinned.

        “It’ll bring them more traffic in the long run. I tried telling them that.”

        “Oh, please. You are so selfish. I’m just grateful you turned on your location finding.”

        “Oh, shit! That was for Tom. We, uh, need to find Tom first.”

        Alessia rolls her eyes but accepts this. That guy had military training at least. He might be useful.

        August 13, 2019
        |Reply
        • Agent_Z
          Agent_Z

          I know this wasn’t written by James because it involves a woman in charge and she’d never write that unless said woman was a sexual predator.

          August 15, 2019
          |Reply
          • Silly Agent_Z, the woman is in charge if EEL says she is, even if the never actually ACTS that way. It’s like you don’t even understand her particular Tell-Don’t-Show magic. It’s the same way my relatives believe Combover Caligula is the most Christian POTUS ever, despite no evidence of it, and constant evidence to the contrary.

            August 16, 2019
  10. Maile
    Maile

    So, this is why James Bond is needed? If Earles were left to rescue people, they’d end up hidden or dead. Yeah, if Moss really cared about Dimsy, he should have called in James Bond or maybe the A-Team.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
    • Cat
      Cat

      Dora the Explorer would have been a better rescuer than Moss.

      August 9, 2019
      |Reply
      • Seraphina Bellemonte
        Seraphina Bellemonte

        Freaking Don Quixote would be a better rescuer than Moss! At least, Don Quixote would *hurry* to the rescue.

        August 9, 2019
        |Reply
        • Lucy
          Lucy

          Bertie Wooster would hurry too, he’d bungle it but he’d at least *try* … and then there would be Jeeves to solve everything…

          August 10, 2019
          |Reply
          • Maria
            Maria

            i cannot express how much better of a protagonist bertie wooster is compared to moss trolldark. i’d say i wish this book was about jeeves and wooster instead but erika can’t write funny scenes to save her life.

            August 10, 2019
          • Lucy
            Lucy

            Bertie is a preux chevalier who abides to the code of the Woosters, which is obviously stronger than the code of the Trevelyans.

            August 10, 2019
  11. Liza
    Liza

    I always appreciate your English language lessons (definitions, grammar, etc.). Words have meaning, and sometimes that meaning is really specific. I for one could see myself using a word like gumption in a scenario like (maybe not exactly like) this. I didn’t realize gumption specifically is a positive word. I had a general idea of the meaning, as I imagine EL probably does as well. Yet another example of the danger you can get into when turning to your synonym of the day calendar, which I suspect EL (and others) uses a lot.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      True, but EEL just needed to double-check the connotations by examining the exact definition in a dictionary book or online and then examine the synonyms to see if any would work better based on the situation. I’ve done that before… it isn’t hard, especially if it’s a word you’re not entirely familiar with or you have a sense that it might be what you want, it’s the one that sprung to mind immediately, but you’re unsure if it’s the most fitting. I never thought I’d say this about an author but she needs more doubt.

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
  12. Mel
    Mel

    I thought her climaxes were bad in 50 Shades but this is just bafflingly bad and worse, boring. Why did she do this? Why did no one stop her?

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      Same Reason that Sam Taylor-Johnson did on the first 50 movie: She tried but EEL shot her down. So the same thing most likely happened at the publisher for Mister. EEL just didn’t want to listen and most likely was unmotivated to change anything. Sam T-J refused to work with EEL for the next movies (most likely saving her sanity) and has said on the record she’d never do it again.

      August 9, 2019
      |Reply
    • Oh dear, yes. There were indeed quite a few bad climaxes to suffer through in 50 Shades.

      August 9, 2019
      |Reply
    • NavigatorBR
      NavigatorBR

      I was kind of in awe at how bad the ending of this book was…
      I was expecting trash, but I wasn’t ready for this.

      And everyone better strap back in, because when we return to “Beautiful Disaster”… Get ready. That- *takes a breath* It was something… I can’t wait for everyone to experience it.

      August 9, 2019
      |Reply
      • Rakka
        Rakka

        Oh gods. Are we really continuing that? I mean, I reread Apollonia recaps just now and there’s even less happening in Boring Disaster. At least in Apollonia you could mentally scream at the protagonist for being such a sour, uncurious pudding about SPACE ROCK. I can’t imagine how dull reading that incoherent, immature shitsoup must be, when just the recaps make me want to wish it was over already and Jenny could move on to something that’d be actually fun to dissect.

        August 10, 2019
        |Reply
        • Black Knight
          Black Knight

          Yeah – I had voted for something other than Tyra Banks’ Modelland because that book is so long. But now I wish I had voted for it. I haven’t read it, but I know Tyra’s antics quite well from many years of watching America’s Next Top Model and I can imagine the sort of looniness her book would have – something that would be fun to dissect, as you say. Between EL James and Jamie Mcguire, Jenny has written tons about toxic masculinity, misogyny, and so on. I doubt there’s anything new for her to say from the rest of Beautiful Disaster.

          August 12, 2019
          |Reply
  13. Dove
    Dove

    On my phone on my dinner break so i’ll be short but if Anatoli is confirmed mafia, why doesn’t he have a fake passport for Alessia? Especially if he or dad are higher up in the food chain… should be one of their standard gigs, i’d assume.

    And why isn’t Maxim just leading with “I’m fucking rich as hell”? They could ransom him but having him as an in-law sounds preferable that way. Plus, honor debts don’t count if Maxim could pay it off financially… he doesn’t even need to be an earl.

    I legit wonder what the original fanfic was like.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
  14. Dove
    Dove

    Forgot to add but it sounds like they don’t even need the interpreter… if he’s translating in real time that’s nice. Honestly might as well forgo that. I have a hard time buying mafia men don’t speak fluent English.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
  15. kirrix
    kirrix

    “I’m glad he’s half a head shorter than me.”

    Well. He should have made a selfie with him and uploaded it on instagram with the hashtags #bigger #lol

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
    • kirrix
      kirrix

      I am now imagining a “black witch project” viral pr campagn prior to the release of the novel, with an earl thingymagummy instagram full of vapid selfies and hashtags #rescuinggirlfriend #lol

      August 9, 2019
      |Reply
  16. Anansi
    Anansi

    I don’t think that any character here is Muslim – I sincerely doubt EL James could physically restrain herself from having them say “Allahu Akbar” every other sentence, (regardless of context, or the fact that no one says it outside of prayer)

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
  17. Masha
    Masha

    In all fairness, I’m from the former Soviet bloc and I’d absolutely love to go to the BBC, but that’s a) to work there and b) an individual preference. Or so I thought.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
  18. Ani
    Ani

    Y’know, this right here is definitely why this wasn’t picked up to be a movie. Now that James’ temper tantrums are well known, nobody in their right mind would want to make a movie where they have an on screen, graphic near-rape and juxtapose it against Maxim enjoying the local museum and having drinks at a bar. People would fucking riot.

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
  19. AB
    AB

    I like how Moss seems to think of Anatoli as basically like a scooby doo villian, and not like ya know, an unstable dangerous monstrous violent kidnapping rapist… right? Like his whole plan seems to be that he’ll just beat them to her dad, score the permission slip, then when Anatoli and Dalmationia arrive, he’ll just be like Stop Right there you Atrocious Abusive Albanian Asshole! *show permission slip* and Anatoli will hand her over and be like “Curses! And I wouldve gotten away with it too if it wasnt for you meddling… Earl…”

    August 9, 2019
    |Reply
  20. Angélique
    Angélique

    I wonder if that was a dig at America’s gun laws ? Doesn’t really make sense but it’s an EL James novel so I wasn’t expecting it to.

    Have you ever watched Dominic Noble’s Fifty Shades videos on Youtube ? He did a whole series of them and at the end of the last one he sets Book 1 on fire, it’s pretty cathartic.

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
  21. Gretel
    Gretel

    So, I’m gonna go nuclear for a moment because the museum part…oof. I’m an art historian, have worked in museums, curated exhibitions, have read books and papers on museology and have written some stuff myself etc. I’m going for my PhD so this is coming from a place of knowledge and passion for museums, not hate.

    First, let’s get one observation out of the way: EEL probably wrote the bit about the museum because she wanted to pad out the word count AND show how much research she has done by using Maxim as an avatar. She’s preemptively shutting down criticism and showing supremacy over critics. And of course, it’s fucking ridiculous that they would go to a museum, where you could easily spend more than two hours and not notice it because you’re so absorbed and there’s so much to see, time just fades away.
    Maxim should be to scared and frantic, instead he goes to a museum, takes pictures, disrespects the staff, breaks rules, has a coffee, goes to the hotel, unpacks, has a drink and THEN drives to Alessia’s family.
    The absurdity of this situation fries my brain.

    With that said, let’s get to my main point.
    Her racism and white supremacist views make my blood boil. Saying that the museum is not as good as the British Museum is entrenched with racist ideas – “they’re not as good in culture as us, those backward primitives!” – but what’s so funny about it, is that she should’ve said: “They’re just not as good at stealing and looting as we are.”
    Which just shows how EEL thinks that it’s perfectly fine and dandy that the BM is notoriously known for being a collection of stolen objects by thiefs, be it literal grave robbers or government sanctioned “acquisitions”. Of course Britain has a better collection, they’re the best country and have the most money and the bestest of empires, thus, only the best is found in the BM!
    Too bad that the whole fucking museum (like many others, see also the huge discussion on the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, as another example) is a testament for colonial suppression, subjugation and exploitation. She’s congratulating herself for being the best at stealing things from others (oh, how it fits…).

    This is currently resurfacing in the form of BREXIT and a new “awakening” (it was never gone) of imperial romanticism in Britain. These people see the effects of their power and yearn for it. It’s not something to critically analyse but to embrace and re-establish.
    Saying “The BM is just sooo much better than this average one” comes with a whole lot of baggage and is directly linked to British imperial romanticism, white supremacy, racism and colonial fantasies.
    There’s a fucking reason why people – mostly young scholars and/or POC, LGBQT+ and other marginalised groups – are advocating for decolonisation of archives and museums as well as democratisation of said institutions.

    And as someone working with and researching museums and collections, it’s already hard enough to convince “our own people” to be more critical (the worst are white, middle-aged men; I’ve got stories to tell, my friends) but then we also have to fight ignorance and unabashed white supremacy from the public.
    It’s bad enough that race science is on the rise again (Read “Superior” by Angela Saini) and seeing how art and culture is being abused (more than usual, it never went away) to legitimise racism. Reading this in a “romance” book by EEL is not suprising but no less infuriating.
    But again, this view fits her target audience anyway.

    Okay, rant is over.

    PS Fuck Maxim. Fuck his friend. Fuck EEL.

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
    • KatL
      KatL

      I appreciate your rage.
      I remember visiting London years ago, I went to the National History Museum and loved it there, so the next day the British Museum seemed like the best choice. And it was absolutely shocking. I’m not art historian, but walking from one floor to another, and seeing the absolutely mind blowing amount of cultural artifacts of other cultures, clearly stolen during the colonial period… I don’t even know how to express it but I will never forget the anger.
      EEL casually mentioning “it’s nothing like the BM of course” made me angry all over again.
      Not to mention the whole thing with Alessia’s British grandmother, which, I’m certain, is only there to prove that she’s not a complete savage and she has some valuable, noble (read; British) blood.
      Ugh.

      Signed,
      Eastern European Savage

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Yeah… remember when Kit once discussed donating their family’s Egyptian tomb theft to a museum and Maxim said he was considering it because of what Kit had said? Ah hahaha, we were so innocent then. :’)

        But yeah, rage justified on so many levels.

        August 10, 2019
        |Reply
      • Seraphina Bellemonte
        Seraphina Bellemonte

        You know; I just remembered, too. This doesn’t work with Moss’s established characterization.

        There was that mention that Kit had, I think, Egyptian artifacts that he and Moss were considering returning to Egypt. I’d assumed this was supposed to make him sympathetic, that it was a sign he understood that Britain had stolen these artifacts. But here, Moss still treats the British Museum as the greatest of all museums without any acknowledgement that it’s full of stolen art.

        (But really, who thinks that way, anyway? ‘Ah, this museum is NOTHING like the most famous museum in MY country. I guess it’s OKAY, though.)

        August 10, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          You know; I just remembered, too. This doesn’t work with Moss’s established characterization.

          There was that mention that Kit had, I think, Egyptian artifacts that he and Moss were considering returning to Egypt. I’d assumed this was supposed to make him sympathetic, that it was a sign he understood that Britain had stolen these artifacts. But here, Moss still treats the British Museum as the greatest of all museums without any acknowledgment that it’s full of stolen art.

          *had to go back and check* …You’re right. It’s so inconsistent that I promptly misremembered the brief description that we got back in chapter 23.

          Since Maxim only mentioned thinking about it because of Kit, perhaps his brother actually understood the ramifications but Maxim didn’t. And I’m giving EEL way too much credit. I think it’s telling that Jenny used a single sentence to describe that entire bit.

          (But really, who thinks that way, anyway? ‘Ah, this museum is NOTHING like the most famous museum in MY country. I guess it’s OKAY, though.)

          Yeah… Like, I’d understand if he went to two museums that were really similar and that is worth mentioning… I don’t think that’s terribly common but for example, most of the zoos I’ve been to in the US have very similar exhibits, such as feeding lorikeets. (This would make some sense as anything that does well is worth copying and animals are easy to get dupes of lol but it did take me by surprise when I realized it.)

          But I certainly don’t go into museums with other museums in mind. Of course, I have a terrible memory but I expect them to be different and I actually go back to the same one mostly to see what’s new and re-admire older pieces. I don’t know why in the world he’d be thinking how much better the BM is especially without much context. Like, maybe if he worked there it’d make sense? Or if he saw both of them on the exact same day? Other than that it’s weird and racist.

          August 12, 2019
          |Reply
      • Mr. Fell
        Mr. Fell

        One of the worst things is that if you go where the stolen Parthenon ruins are kept, they now have pamphlets explaining how is totally justified that they stole them and are now keeping them as a favour to humankind. Fuck that.

        August 12, 2019
        |Reply
    • *standing ovation*

      EL James is the racist colonialist of “literature”… and considering how StephEnie Meyer represented brown people and indigenous culture, this is really saying something.

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I’m so glad you posted this because yeah… I never really knew all of the ramifications. I’ve only been to museums in the US but I was still offended for the Cherokee when I went to another natural history museum in my home state. (It wasn’t in Durham or Raleigh… somewhere closer to Charlotte.)

      They had some nice exhibits but a fair amount of typos on the info cards, which stood out to me. The unforgivable mistake, however, was in the main part of the museum. It was about how the Cherokee didn’t have a language until Sequoyah invented one for them. Not a syllabary or an alphabet, but a language.

      On the upside, they had another exhibit devoted to Native American tribes originating in NC. It set the record straight since it had a whole panel devoted to Sequoyah and the Cherokee, but I think that might have been a temporary/seasonal sort of display and they still absolutely should’ve fixed that error on the card in the main section of the museum.

      It’s bad enough my textbooks never explained the disconnect between the Native Americans growing corn and the European settlers taking the land because the tribes weren’t farmers… (like, maybe they specified different tribes in different areas BUT STILL… it was an obvious excuse.) I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have any of my old school books but I remember my confusion even as a kid, which I glossed over back then because that’s what people often do when they aren’t invested enough to dig deeper. Just imagine if some kid gets taught that kind of stuff in school and then they see something that implies one of the tribes didn’t even have a language, something fundamental to humanity, in a museum?

      But all of that is a drop in the bucket compared to the British Museum and what it stands for. Ugh.

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
  22. So, Moss..

    goes into Demmy’s mother’s house
    admires own socks
    checks out interior decor
    makes chit-chat
    THEN mentions in the conversation “I believe that she’s been kidnapped and is being brought to Albania against her will.”

    Buried lede?? That lede has had its funeral service and is decomposing.

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
  23. Also, I suspect the reason the translator and his girlfriend get so much attention is because Eel subconsciously recognised it was her last chance to include characters who were actually interesting.

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I’d agree but it’s also possible she had an interpreter and his girlfriend during her vacation. It’ll be interesting if they aren’t in the acknowledgments section at the end of the book.

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
  24. Maria
    Maria

    “it will be night soon”
    *torgo voice* there is no way out of here. it will be dark soon. there is no way out of here.
    god i’d rather watch manos the hands of fate w/out mst3k commentary than read this book. jenny, you’re doing the lord’s work by recapping this. the padding is atrocious.
    and so maxim just walks into the house? he putters around all day remarking how quaint albania is with three superfluous side characters (i am counting his friend who has no reason to be there) and then all he has to do is go, “knock knock i’m here to marry alessia” and they fucking let him?? hhhhhhhhh
    as much as i want to tear my hair out at every new development, it at least assures me that my own writing isn’t that bad.

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
    • Jules
      Jules

      “god i’d rather watch manos the hands of fate w/out mst3k commentary than read this book.”

      Manos the Hands of Fate is high art compared to this book. At least that movie has a so bad it’s good appeal to it. This book is just infuriating.

      You just made me realized Jenny Trout is the MST3K of books! And it makes me love her even more. Except that now I imagine her living on a space station with her robot friends and being forced to read these books for our amusement. Then I realize I’m a terrible person because I’m okay with it. lol

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
      • Bunny
        Bunny

        @Netflix, let’s make this happen!

        August 10, 2019
        |Reply
      • Jenny Trout
        Jenny Trout

        That’s the nicest god damn thing anyone has ever said to me.

        August 10, 2019
        |Reply
        • Bunny
          Bunny

          JENNY! I wrote your JHBC theme song. I wrote your Jealous Hater Book Club theme song! (to be sung to the opening theme music of MST3k, naturally.) This was a lot of fun to write, since I’m a giant MSTie and JHBC junkie. What a magical crossover. Hope you like!

          In the not-too-distant future,
          Somewhere in Michigan,
          There was a gal named Jenny
          Who fell in love with Ed Sheeran.
          She read some tripe that made her say
          “These authors suck, they cannot stay!”
          She grabbed a red pen with a curse
          And in her scathing wit she hits
          The very awfulest and worst!

          “I’ll dissect cheesy novels,
          Whatever you can find. (la la la)
          I’ll sit right here and read them all
          To save you peace of mind.” (la la la)
          Now keep in mind, Jen can’t control
          How bad these crap books get. (la la la)
          So try not to get so annoyed
          You do something you’ll regret!

          Jealous Hater Roll Call:

          Wisecracks! (A-plenty!)
          Anger! (You’ll catch it!)
          Blayde Trasket! (Hot stuff!)
          Weeeed! (*sharp inhale*)

          If you’re startin’ to feel the urge to rage
          At certain talentless hacks, (la la la)
          Then repeat to yourself “That’s what Twitter’s for
          Right now I should just relax …
          For Jealous Hater Book Club, Trout Nation!”

          August 19, 2019
          |Reply
          • Jules
            Jules

            Simply brilliant!

            August 19, 2019
          • Dove
            Dove

            *eleven thumbs up* XD

            August 19, 2019
    • Mike Nelson and a writer for Rifftrax did read along with this horrible book. They have some hilarious and painful “behind the scenes” skits they’ve added. It’s under the blog called “372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back.”

      August 12, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        I still need to finish that. I listened to the first vlog anyway. :p

        August 19, 2019
        |Reply
  25. Eclairmaiden
    Eclairmaiden

    This is the most horrible chapter yet, and I thought we reached the peak with all the ridiculous ways Demelssia has learnt English but still doesn’t know it when this book started.

    But now we know what the “extensive research on Albania” meant. Why make the effort to research, when she can just make the hero do all the things she did on her trips to Albania, right down to posting on Instagram in the museum and continuing to take photos even after being told not to? That’ll make the book accurate, yes? Now that’s research for you.

    Moss is just obediently following her every single step, seeing every house and lake she did and reciting all the things tourist guides told her. And none of that was in any way necessary for the chapter, or the book. That’s the extensive part of the research.

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
    • Next, he’s going to impress Aleesianabella’s parents by making a quaintly authentic Albanian stew.

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Oh no, Maxim is an Earl now. We can’t have that! (He also never learned the recipe while he was puttering around Albania.)

        Clearly, this is why the interpreter’s girlfriend is present. Maxim shall snap his fingers and have her present a quaintly authentic but truly superior Albanian stew which will immediately win over the horribly abusive father. ;P

        August 10, 2019
        |Reply
  26. Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)
    Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)

    I wheezed laughed so much my son brought me a glass of water because he can’t tell I’m I’m laughing, crying, or choking.

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
    • Tez Miller
      Tez Miller

      Good son 🙂

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
  27. Mickeymoo
    Mickeymoo

    I’m British. I spend alot of time in Cornwall. I’m pretty sure our Earl’s dont act like this. I’m quite sure that an earl would have a massive security team on it and have found her before she got in the trunk of the car.

    That said this cud have worked dramatically if Moss had any sense of urgency abt him

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
    • Coco
      Coco

      At first I thought you were saying ‘cud’ as a regional insult about Maxim, referring to him as a regurgitated lump of cow food. “This cud of a part time DJ with a hereditary title decided to snap pictures of a half constructed hotel instead of alerting authorities about an international kidnapping.”

      August 10, 2019
      |Reply
      • Mickeymoo
        Mickeymoo

        Lol apologies. Is “cud” a British word? It’s just lazy typing in this case

        August 11, 2019
        |Reply
        • bewalsh7
          bewalsh7

          I’m American. The only way I’ve ever seen “cud” is when talking about cows. But I’m also from a rural/redneck area, so maybe it’s different for other parts of the country.

          August 12, 2019
          |Reply
        • 9ofspades
          9ofspades

          It’s a short form of “could”.

          August 13, 2019
          |Reply
        • 9ofspades
          9ofspades

          In the case of the response, nah, it’s not a British word; it’s common in America as well. Like cows chewing cud.

          August 13, 2019
          |Reply
          • Mickeymoo
            Mickeymoo

            Didn’t think it was exclusive to Brits. Now every time I write a text, with the shortened “cud” I shall be picturing cows, love this

            August 13, 2019
  28. Siobhannabon
    Siobhannabon

    This chapter might possibly have worked if Moss was the comedic foil. Like, what a stupid aristocrat thinking that to save a damsel in distress you need to practice introductions to potential in-laws and go around museums. Is it do-right Dan who was hapless but still somehow came good? It comes off like that.

    Also, am English. Coming to terms with our bloody history against the sanitised version we’re taught in school was and is a long learning curve. Like a Trump supporter, we were taught to be proud and boastful of our victories, of the fact we haven’t been invaded in nearly 1000 years … never mind that Mary Queen of Scots was known as the bloody queen and killed the girl her brother brought to the throne, or the stranglehold Henry VIII had over people’s religious choices or the way we would mutilate children at the start of the industrial revolution or sending convicts to live in Australia …

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
    • Black Knight
      Black Knight

      You have the wrong Queen Mary. You are referring to Mary Tudor, who actually started off benignly enough. Like many another ruler she hardened upon facing plots of assassination and rebellion. Regarding the matter of Lady Jean Grey, since it was at the start of her reign before she became harsher, Mary actually did not wish to have her executed and spared her life, even though Grey had been convicted of high treason, a crime that carried the death penalty. It wasn’t until Grey’s ambitious asshole father got involved with a rebellion that Mary accepted that it would be necessary to execute Grey to remove her as an incentive for rebellion.

      Much later, her half-sister Queen Elizabeth I finally had Mary, Queen of Scots executed after having refused for many years, for the same reason – leaving her alive would have meant more rebellions.

      August 11, 2019
      |Reply
      • Siobhannabon
        Siobhannabon

        There’s literally one queen Mary?

        August 14, 2019
        |Reply
        • Anansi
          Anansi

          Around that time, there was a Queen Mary in England (Mary Tudor) and a Queen Mary in Scotland (Mary Queen of Scots). In the 1500s there were like 3 names because they thought it’d be hilarious to torture future history students.

          And yeah, coming to terms with British history isn’t easy. Especially with the way it’s taught. I once got sent out because I mentioned that, as a Pakistani, maybe colonialism wasn’t great for everyone.

          August 19, 2019
          |Reply
  29. Vely
    Vely

    Maybe Moss just wanted to point out the obvious because I don’t believe there is any country without some blood in it’s history.

    And how can a person be so bad at climaxes. Chapter after chapter nothing of interest happens until we finally get to some suspense and then it’s immediatly over and we get more boring and unimportant stuff. About the last chapter I thought it could be at least somewhat better if their situations were used as a contrast. Like if Moss is impatiently thinking about what horrible things could happen to his loved one while he is sitting in a luxurious plane, not being able to do anything until he’s arrived in Albania. (It’s still not perfect though only what came to my mind about EELs way of storytelling.) But this chapter is just ridiculous. He surely could have managed to get an interpreter that is already there at their arrival. And even if not, he doesn’t seem to care about Alessia’s safety at all, so how is the reader supposed to care?

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
  30. grrrlgeek
    grrrlgeek

    Jenny, I thought of you yesterday while waiting for my brain doctor appointment. One of the magazines on the table was a “Pure Michigan” tourist guide.

    August 10, 2019
    |Reply
  31. Desolace
    Desolace

    The last two chapters painfully remind me of the “Oh no our heroine is dying let’s hear chapter upon chapter of backstory from her parents!!” part in Handbook For Mortals. Ugh.

    August 11, 2019
    |Reply
  32. Xen
    Xen

    Re: the headscarf, in many east European countries, especially in the countryside, women often wear them regardless of religion… However, the way EEL depicts Albania is xenophobic and degrading at best, and you’re right that the Muslim-coding is there because most westerners acossiate headscarves with Islam. Anyway, it was Bad

    August 11, 2019
    |Reply
    • Moomin
      Moomin

      I kinda have the feeling that Alessia was Muslim at first but the publisher stepped up for once and it was left ambiguous

      August 11, 2019
      |Reply
      • J.
        J.

        Or James realized she knew as much as about Islam as she does about Albania and (thankfully) let all the religious stuff out.

        August 12, 2019
        |Reply
        • Sam Beringer
          Sam Beringer

          Nah. EEL didn’t care about accuracy or authenticity when portraying Albania. Why would she care about Islam the same way.

          More likely, she figured that Muslim = brown person (even though it doesn’t) and she didn’t want her heroine to not be white.

          August 12, 2019
          |Reply
  33. Sigyn
    Sigyn

    Thank you for paying money for this, on purpose, and valiantly recapping it. If it makes you feel better, I’m currently reading and reviewing a book wherein the first 20% of it is much worse than the entire Fifty Shades franchise and this put together.

    August 11, 2019
    |Reply
  34. Izzy
    Izzy

    I didn’t hallucinate that part a few chapters ago where Moss told Caroline that he thinks the woman he loves was kidnapped, did I? That was something that actually happened right? It just hard to tell with the way Moss doesn’t appear to give a single, solitary, flying fuck about that. Between the scenic strolls, complaining about having to fly commercial, casual racism, trips to the family vault or w/e and fucking posting to Instagram I’m beginning to think he’s indifferent to Alessia at best.
    But at least I can look forward to the part where he sees Alessia’s new injuries and angsts over how it makes him feel bad.

    Also does Alessia realise she has options beyond killing whats-his-name or killing herself? Like shoot the mob boss in the kneecaps or threaten him with the gun and take his car keys. Walk him to the car with a gun at his back and make him get in the boot and run. Anything to give Alessia some agency. And no, I don’t count her trying to run when it would be the least effective.

    August 12, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Right? What even was the point of having Anatoli’s mini-revelation of “you stayed”? It should’ve been demolished immediately with your plans right there. Even if she couldn’t drive it herself, he’d be unable to chase her as well.

      Or she could’ve unloaded the gun, kept the bullets, pocketed the car keys, and locked him into the hotel with the hotel key! The bullets could be ditched somewhere in the nearest shrubbery and she could drop the hotel key off, saying they were checking out. Someone would’ve released him eventually, especially if he told room service that he was trapped, but it’d buy her time and it’d keep the staff from stopping her. Then she could ask where the nearest bus/train stop was and maybe he’d find out from the receptionist but she’d have a headstart! If she also took his wallet, she could pay for things and he couldn’t.

      August 12, 2019
      |Reply
  35. J.
    J.

    Remember guys, this masterpiece was totally in the works before 50 shades was written. 100% not something that was shit out two weeks before the deadline, a desperate attempt to meet a word count, and revive a dying career that, let’s be honest, was a joke to begin with.

    August 12, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      It was maid fetish fanfiction first but yeah… a lot of this is so rushed. She absolutely didn’t spend 10 years fine-tuning this… unless that’s actually the problem. She tried revising too much, too many times, by cramming too many subplots into this book but she probably spent several months off and on without touching it, especially during her vacation, and when she did work on it she was more concerned with getting the word-count up or shoving in some new idea. If she’d just listened to some editors it could’ve worked and taken her a lot less time.

      August 12, 2019
      |Reply
  36. Sam Beringer
    Sam Beringer

    Goddammit…

    At least Chedward showed more concern and acted immediately when he realized that Annabella was being kidnapped.

    Also, this whole fiancé subplot keeps reminding me of Haru’s storyline in Persona 5. Stop reminding me of better stories, EEL!

    August 12, 2019
    |Reply
    • Emily, a newbie
      Emily, a newbie

      I just imagined Eel trying to rewrite Persona 5.
      Kamoshida would have been the major love interest for the now female Joker. Jokerette’s “Big Bad Thing” she did would be /supposedly/ sleeping around her entire school when she’s /actually/ still just a pure and untainted virgin, and the rumors only started because the other girls were just /jealous/. Ann would be the Supreme Blonde Hoe To Beat, Haru and Makoto are the Lesser Hoes To Sneer At. Palaces are now just different Red Rooms of Pain (because everything Eel comes back to 50 Shades), and Kamoshida’s is where Jokerette has her sexual awakening. Of course all the male characters fall at her feet in praise, Yusuke sees her as his ultimate muse, Mona’s interested for furry inclusion, Akechi sees Jokerette as his only equal because she’s just so amazing and brave and smart. Igor is somehow interested too.

      Ryuji isn’t in this world. I can’t allow it. I refuse to even let a fake AU of Eel’s universe taint my boy.

      August 16, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Ryuji committed seppuku when he saw the new script. XD

        But I’d honestly expect Haru to be her reader-insert and Joker to be the true love interest who’s just so cool, strong, smart, and powerful and he treats her like shit. Because Haru is rich and Kamoshida is lewd and we can’t have that. Kamoshida would still want Ann but now she’s a slut. So Haru’s disgusting fiance would be the other side of the love triangle until Joker won her over. Mona wouldn’t be interested because I don’t think EEL knows furries exist (unless that bit about the dogs was a sign… lol) Or else Mona would be a cat-girl/cat-boy were-critter. Nah, nevermind. I legit can’t fathom EEL contemplating anything remotely androgynous or otherwise LGBT (Danny notwithstanding.)

        Mona committed suicide too and is replaced with some gadget Makoto created.

        Oh, and faux Igor would be like the Dante of this book… easily curb-stomped once the hero turns up. But then all of the villains would be.

        August 16, 2019
        |Reply
        • Emily, a newbie
          Emily, a newbie

          Sadly I would accept that headcanon just so Ryuji could escape the mess :c my Bad Boy With A Heart Of Gold deserves nothing but good things.

          I actually like your version better o: fits Eel’s narrative better, probably. Though Haru being the lead female is a bit out of Eel’s norm, as she likes her women to come from poor, downtrodden, sheltered walks of life and then finally blossom into a “real woman” because a handsome rich man swooped her up and groomed her- Oh, wait, I mean. Swoop her up and spoil her. Yeah, definitely not groom. No, not at all >.> never.
          Kamoshida does fit Eel’s idealistic man, though. Which is absolutely HORRIFYING in every possible way, to the point where you really start hoping she’s joking, but the “Just kidding!” never comes.
          There are just…a LOT of parallels between Kamoshida and Christian Grey, like an absurd amount. Difference is, Kamoshida is given the antagonistic light that is deserved for such a character, while Eel uses the smolder lighting, and Kenny G. tunes to make the mood sexy, and excuses his actions by “He had a bad liiiiiiiife, it’s not hiiiiiis fault!”
          But yes, Ann would be the succubus who tries to ruin everything. Because she’s blonde, and pretty, and therefore evil. Nevermind her own troubled background or anything. We’re just gonna skip over that because there’s no excuse for her to be so mean and such a slut. Because outwardly gorgeous women who are actually confident in their appearance can’t be heroines.
          (On a side note, I’m so sorry Ann, I don’t mean any of this ;.; you’re still my girl and I adore you.)
          I only say the Mona thing cause of what happened in Save The Pearls; how the author was showcasing very, VERY blatant furry kink, but I don’t think she was fully aware of it? It’s really hard to explain, actually ._. the recap over on the Blandbook For Chortles blog put her on blast for it though. And I could honestly, very, very easily see E. L. doing something similar. Like when Mona says that he’s not really a cat, but in this rewrite, when they find his “real self” he turns out to be an anthropomorphic sexy cat man. Thus it becomes very bold-font furry kink, but E. L. probably doesn’t actually realize that’s what it is. “He’s just a sexy cat man, that’s all!”
          “Something-something-something-I wanna make him puuuurrrrrr! Something-something.”
          I think if E. L. assigned anyone in the P5 crew a “LGBTQA+ voice” because diversity, it would likely fall on Futaba. I can see E. L. doing that, very easily.

          Sadly I could see her doing that to Igor too :c it’s his nose, isn’t it? Just screams stereotypical villain.
          Poor Igor.

          August 16, 2019
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            Sadly I would accept that headcanon just so Ryuji could escape the mess :c my Bad Boy With A Heart Of Gold deserves nothing but good things.

            Awww. Well, let’s say he’s just going to another school and hearing about the Phantom Thieves inspires him. Then his life gets better without them. XD

            Maybe Morgana exists and turns up for a subplot where they’re the ones handling Mementos, which is easier or something? I dunno, the point is we know EEL wouldn’t give a shit about that and I could be wrong but I think those sidequests are generally more important to the game than the overall plot. (Obviously, Mementos is important but you know what I mean?) And Morgana is staying at Ryuji’s.

            I actually like your version better o: fits Eel’s narrative better, probably. Though Haru being the lead female is a bit out of Eel’s norm, as she likes her women to come from poor, downtrodden, sheltered walks of life and then finally blossom into a “real woman” because a handsome rich man swooped her up and groomed her- Oh, wait, I mean. Swoop her up and spoil her. Yeah, definitely not groom. No, not at all >.> never.

            Oh, true. The thing is, I can’t see EEL invoking gender-bends (although such protags can often be either gender in many modern games), which is why I didn’t think Jokerette was as fitting but that’s also a good point.

            I don’t think any Persona game would really appeal to EEL because they’re a little too self-reflective for her. Then again, I could sort of see her pairing Yukiko or a female Yu with Tohru Adachi. *shudders*

            Kamoshida does fit Eel’s idealistic man, though. Which is absolutely HORRIFYING in every possible way, to the point where you really start hoping she’s joking, but the “Just kidding!” never comes.

            Ew. TBH I just hadn’t thought much about him in a while. Maybe a long-haired Makoto who’s being groomed by Kamoshida in an AU where it’s presented as true love and she changes his heart with her magic pussy? I could see EEL warping a strong character like Makoto for this, especially considering the somewhat dom theme she has going on. Or more likely, Goro Akechi. I just think Kamoshida is too on the nose for EEL. It would make her recognize the reality and I think basically she’d have Goro as a possibly improved Chedwardxim merger while Kamoshida would be doomed to the Anatoli angle. He’d still remain more interesting and fail while Goro is just a refinement of the old model that moves her closer to the center of acceptance and hopefully finds enough swooning fans of her work to put her on top again.

            lol wait, maybe it’d be a male Makoto with male Goro then since she was thinking of branching into M/M to solve her problems. I could see that too.

            I only say the Mona thing cause of what happened in Save The Pearls; how the author was showcasing very, VERY blatant furry kink, but I don’t think she was fully aware of it? It’s really hard to explain, actually ._. the recap over on the Blandbook For Chortles blog put her on blast for it though.

            lol I read the first chapter she posted about and noped out. I couldn’t deal with it. I might have to hunt it down and try again because that’s also horrifying and interesting. I honestly think more people are furries than they know or let on but because there is a stigma to it, fewer people are willing to go there.

            Sadly I could see her doing that to Igor too :c it’s his nose, isn’t it? Just screams stereotypical villain.
            Poor Igor.

            *snuggles beautiful cinnamon roll* Let’s sing the song… XD

            But aye, he looks like a villain, hence the twist in Persona 5. I love his weird, unique design (probably inspired by tengu?) and his gentle voice. I like to think Philemon was visiting him while he was trapped. Like, Igor could’ve been unconscious the whole time but if he wasn’t, he got visits to keep him from getting too bored (hopefully a pack of cards too lol) and to know he wasn’t forgotten. I’m sure he knew but it’s good to have confirmation ya know? 🙂

            August 17, 2019
          • Dove
            Dove

            Or, since I can’t edit, male Joker with male Goro and Goro is, of course, the Chedwardximgeist. Like, I don’t even remember Goro that well rn but he was a jerk and he fits perfectly from what I do remember.

            August 17, 2019
          • Emily, a newbie
            Emily, a newbie

            Honestly I’m not sure if she could even, like…*get* the Persona games’ stories, concepts, themes, and compelling ability to “show don’t tell”. I really, really don’t mean to be offensive or anything by saying that (even if I do dislike Eel, I like to think I’m above blatant offense (I’m really not but I pretend, okay)), but Persona in general is tough for even seasoned fans to understand without some research; and as we have learned, research isn’t exactly Eel’s strong suit >.>.
            The sidequests are mostly just important for character leveling and Arcana building, which would technically equate to developing a relationship or friendship through time spent together and whatnot. Soooo…yeah, you’re right, Eel wouldn’t touch that with someone else’s arm, because if we have learned absolutely anything, it’s that she has no concept of actual character development, let alone actually /showing/ a relationship being built up a la slow burn >.>. Though to be fair I guess, that seems to be a very prevalent problem in a lot of the new and/or trending authors as of late. I’m honestly just convinced that “show don’t tell” is a long dead concept, and those of us who still hold on to it are just practicing a forgotten, ancient, almost outright forbidden type of sorcery.

            Tbh though imagining Ryuji and Mona in a house, living together has legit ALL the makings for a fantastic sitcom and now I need this in my life.

            See, I could see her either being exactly that and avoid all gender-bends because “iT’s JuSt WeIrD”, or she’d be a full supporter of it because heteronormativity and such. I know that was a major reason why a lot of people in the fandoms I follow wrote gender-bends, and they pretty much all but outright admitted it (though I feel like saying you do it cause homosexuals are unnatural is preeeeetty much the same thing). I could see her falling into either group, unless she actually does take the dive and attempt to write that M/M romance. Which I am…very afraid of. Very, very afraid.

            I could see her doing that to poor Makoto, which hurts my soul because I love Makoto’s character :c but of course, gotta pick the “girl-next-door” brunette, erase all personality she has other than being a virgin and having other characters repeatedly tell us how smart and brave she is without showing us examples because LOL WHAT IS SHOWINGGGG. That would definitely be the route she takes though, and make Kamoshida climb back up to his supreme glory as an Olympic medalist. Or, yeah, totally Light Yagam-Wait, I mean. Akechi. Yeah, the definitely-not-Light-Yagami character >.>.
            Though she’d have to make Akechi skeevier. As unhinged as he is, he is very much so all business and no play; some quips here and there, but never much more. Comes off almost like an android programmed only for ultimate justice, to the point of legit corruption on the other end of the spectrum. Part of what made him extremely interesting despite his flaws. Just thinking about the blatant character assassination Eel would do to Akechi in any form of AU or fanfic makes my soul curdle so much I think I can taste it /:

            And I do implore you to read through those Save The Pearls recaps, or at least skim them. There is just some…real weird stuff in there. It’s honestly really hilarious reading the author’s self-insert show so much furry attraction, yet be so oblivious to what it actually is. It stands as one of the most hysterical things I’ve ever witnessed go down in any book, and it almost distracts from the very offensive and horrific racism at play. I reaaaally stress that “almost”, cause holy mother of GOD.

            Igor is my long-nosed king c: doin’ be proud, giving me confidence in my own huge sniffer. His voice acting in Persona 5 is probably my favorite too as compared to his other VAs in the earlier games.
            I like your theory, I think I shall also join you in believing it c: makes it easier for me XD.

            August 17, 2019
  37. This book would be ten times better if in the end Alessia saved herself, realized Maxim was an idiot whose idea of a rescue was going on a leisure travel vacation, and said, “Screw it. I can do better.” She figures out her immigration stuff on her own, starts playing piano in bars to make her way because the piano is the only reliable happiness in her life, and one of her coworkers encourages her to go to auditions. And she does it because it’s not nearly as terrifying as everything else she’s been through, and she directs all her emotions into playing and blows everyone’s minds. Finally, she’s where she wants to be; she plays sold out shows around the world and relies on no one but herself, and when love does come her way, it’s a real relationship between two people on equal footing.

    Maxim, meanwhile, crawls back to Caroline, and they get married because he really doesn’t have the emotional capacity to understand how to love someone besides himself, and they live miserably for the next ten years until Caroline gets sick of his immaturity and realizes, thanks to many hours of therapy, that he is not Kit, nor ever will be, and she, too, can do better.

    August 12, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I’d pay for that version, especially if Caroline went to one of Alessia’s shows and they have a nice little chat about true happiness and how far Alessia has come, which is where Caroline expresses her regrets for wasting ten years of her life like that but now she’s happily divorced and they just kick back and relax, discussing other things, brought together because they’re both awesome women who’ve found better partners. Caroline can have some actual hobbies and her own life too.

      To hell with Maxim.

      August 12, 2019
      |Reply
      • Myriam
        Myriam

        …Or they could become each other’s partners. That would be awesome.

        August 12, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          I’d be down for that! But that’d need some establishing of course. So far I don’t think they’ve even talked to each other in the actual book. XD

          August 13, 2019
          |Reply
          • Elizabeth
            Elizabeth

            That’s perfect!

            Caroline goes to this show and has a VIP pass or whatever to get backstage. After watching the gorgeous piano player and trying so hard to figure out what seemed familiar, it’s the accent when they meet backstage.
            “I’ve seen your picture! You’re Moss’s Dimelssia? From Albania?”
            Dimelssia was starting to vaguely remember this statuesque blond. “Moss? No- you’re the Earl’s Caroline?”
            Simultaneously they look each other up and down and say, “He let you go? What an idiot!” With that they laugh and Dimelssia cancels the rest of her meet-and-greet to share a bottle of wine and stories with Caroline.
            It’s not long after that that a certain statuesque blond is always in the wings to congratulate her pianist after every show. She even starts practicing the piano lessons she was forced to take as a child. Who had any idea a pianist’s hands could do *that*?

            August 13, 2019
  38. EC
    EC

    I really, really want the instagram thing to come up in the end. She’s grateful that Moss rescued her, accepts the proposal and comes back to England. But then she sees all the photos of him goofing off, getting drunk, and hanging out in the museum seeming totally unconcerned while she was being abused.

    Then she dumps him for being a total asshole, and makes a ton of money selling her story to the tabloids. The End.

    August 12, 2019
    |Reply
  39. K R
    K R

    You know, even though Anatoli is technically Christian only Albanian, I think I like him. At least he’s interesting and we know he’s straight up an a$$hole. Maxim on the other hand comes off as an a$$hole, but he’s not supposed to be one and he’s boring AF.
    Remove his violent tendencies and I almost want Alessia to stay with him. Honestly, their “romance” would make more sense that her’s with Maxim.

    August 12, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, but if Maxim had been written with any personality and genuine concern, the tables would be turned. The only reason Anatoli seems better is that he’s clearly dedicated (28 hours drive both ways…) and he has little moments with her. Give Maxim those same elements, remove the violence and kidnapping from Anatoli for an actual love triangle dynamic where the heroine has to choose and has a hard time making up her mind! For once, I’d prefer that.

      August 13, 2019
      |Reply
  40. EC
    EC

    I don’t even unpack when I’m on god damn vacation. I live out of the suitcase, taking things out and putting them away again as I use them. Its an efficient system that means I’m ready to go immediately.

    August 12, 2019
    |Reply
    • bewalsh7
      bewalsh7

      Yes!!

      I always marvel at people that actually put their clothes away in the dressers at hotels. I’m too damn lazy for that, plus I’d loose something if I didn’t put everything back in my suitcase.

      August 13, 2019
      |Reply
  41. Mr. Fell
    Mr. Fell

    Please Anatoli stop saying “carissima”, nowadays it makes you sound like a extremely fake (and camp) tv personality.

    Also I’m lost. Demelzia has to marry Anatoli to settle a debt between two crime lords, right? And Anatoli is actually super duper in love with her and he is the superior crime lord who has ties to the Albanian and Italian mafia.
    So… what’s the fucking point of Moss? If Anatoli wants to marry Demelzia, Moss can’t throw money at the problem and it doesn’t matter what her parents think, Anatoli can just kill them or threaten them. Are they supposed to just bow to his Englishness and give up?

    Unless Anatoli finds out they had sex and gives up on Demelzia because she’s now a filthy whore in his eyes?

    Moss is such a twat it kinda ruins the whole thing, I just want him to fail out of spite.

    August 12, 2019
    |Reply
    • Coco
      Coco

      So the sequel set up is just as Moss whips out the ring to propose, Anatoli kills Moss. Tom kills Anatoli. Alessia’s mother uses Anatoli’s weapon to kill her abusive husband and frame Anatoli. Tom goes to prison while his saintly girlfriend fights to free him. Mrs Demachi takes over two criminal organizations. Alessia is pregnant and she has to protect her child from Moss’s mother who wants to take the child and raise it as her own. Caroline goes to the Olympics as an equestrienne. All of this is mentioned in passing because the main characters of the sequel are the interpreter, his twin, and his girlfriend. The interpreter spends an entire week stopping to smell the roses and taking the scenic route while back at the hospital his twin awaits a life saving transfusion of their rare blood type.

      August 12, 2019
      |Reply
    • bewalsh7
      bewalsh7

      But remember, this is Albania. Being a filthy rich crime lord actually only means you have about 10 goats as compared to the common Albanian family, which has one maybe two tops. This isn’t England where the wealthy have actual money and magick cards.

      Moss is totally superior to Anatoli. /s

      August 13, 2019
      |Reply
      • Mr. Fell
        Mr. Fell

        You know, I can see that happen and now I hope Demelzia runs away because MAGIC so I can root for Anatoli to drop Moss into a well in peace.

        August 13, 2019
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I legit don’t know what the fuck is up with the debt thing or where they are in the ranks. If Anatoli is higher up you’d think the fucker could’ve gotten a fake passport to drive his beloved home with so he wouldn’t have to keep shoving her into the trunk. Honestly, I think they’d accept a shit ton of money and ties to an Earl if he offered it because that could lead to favors but only if Anatoli isn’t in love with Alessia which… eh? Maybe? I guess if her dad is willing and able to murder Anatoli then they’re fine but we’ll see what the hell EEL came up with sometime soon.

      August 13, 2019
      |Reply
      • Mr. Fell
        Mr. Fell

        The passport bit doesn’t bother me because Anatoli just randomly run into Demelzia and maybe bribing border guards it’s easier than faking Albanian passport.

        My issue is the love angle. If Anatoli isn’t in love with her than sure, Moss looks like a useless connection right now but maybe Anatoli is looking forward to have a member of the House of Lords (Moss gets that, right?) in his pocket. Maybe one day he can blackmail the Duke of Kerfuffle or something.

        But if it’s out of love… No way?

        Also usually you wouldn’t be able to kill a crime lord and get away in it, so I’m not sure about that. I feel like Demelzia’s dad would rather get rid of a daughter he doesn’t give a shit about that dying and having his house set on fire at the very least.

        August 13, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          The passport bit doesn’t bother me because Anatoli just randomly run into Demelzia and maybe bribing border guards it’s easier than faking Albanian passport.

          But he’s a criminal… fake passports are big business for organized crime, especially now, with all the refugees trying to get across Europe and find a place to stay. If Anatoli doesn’t have the connections to get one on short notice, then he’s not high up or he’s not in the mafia. Or he enjoys shoving her into the trunk of the car and risking his own hide in a personal smuggling attempt because if he bribes them then all they have to do is pretend they saw two passports if she’s sitting in the passenger seat.

          I think EEL took the easiest way out for her, it keeps Alessia from talking to anyone, but it’s not necessarily the most sensible option. He just needs to threaten her into remaining silent and if it’s a quality fake then he shouldn’t get caught. Or he could and that’s when she gets away… For that matter, he might’ve flown instead of driving in a better book, to cut some of the needless chaff out and minimize his risks of getting caught (only two passport checks, lift off and descent, compared to however many countries they drove through, and a much shorter trip so less stress for him.)

          Also usually you wouldn’t be able to kill a crime lord and get away in it, so I’m not sure about that. I feel like Demelzia’s dad would rather get rid of a daughter he doesn’t give a shit about that dying and having his house set on fire at the very least.

          Fair point, but it depends on whether or not killing Anatoli would allow someone he prefers to be in charge of the opposing group. Regardless, I don’t see Anatoli just walking away so it’s a weird position to be in when we know EEL deals with conflict the way most people deal with a turd in the toilet… she flushes it down on sight.

          August 13, 2019
          |Reply
  42. Maura
    Maura

    I just… wow. Maxim doesn’t seem to be worried for his ‘true love’ at all. He really is treating this as a vacation opposed to a rescue mission. Alessia isn’t well-characterized, but she deserves better than him. I’m upset that she won’t be angry with Maxim because the plot says so.

    August 12, 2019
    |Reply
  43. Stray (Wilderness)
    Stray (Wilderness)

    I KNEW James was going to copy and paste from her travel diary, but I’m actually stunned by how easy it is to tell.

    Anyone taking bets that she chose a different (maybe even made-up) country for the first draft, and then changed it to Albania later because that’s where she went on vacation?

    August 12, 2019
    |Reply
    • 9ofspades
      9ofspades

      Tbh, the word limit is pretty easy to hit for a romance; all you have to do is flesh out the characters and give them cute interactions where they slow burn fall in love. I’m not saying that’s not hard to write because writing in general is hard, but it’s easy to come up with that idea. Of course, pulling it off requires actual competence in your chosen field…

      The fact that she copy-pasted her travel journal into this is actually super gross. Plus just. The contrived “I need to stretch this out more so let’s just get Alessia kidnapped twice”.

      Honestly I hadn’t even thought of that but now that you mention it, it’s amazingly plausible. Put me down for a dollar saying that she did XD

      August 13, 2019
      |Reply
  44. 9ofspades
    9ofspades

    Honestly this sounds like some kind of version of Chopped that you could only pull off if you were actually a good writer. James isn’t even competent, let alone good.

    Premise: you got a multimillion dollar advance to write this great new romance/suspense/thriller novel you thought of. Great! The problem: it’s due in a month, and you’ve already committed to certain plot elements – it’ll be a heterosexual relationship, the man is some kind of rich nobleman, the woman works for her and is a former victim of sex trafficking, and finally she’s from Albania. You haven’t done any research yet apart from what you already know about Albania, sex trafficking, and earls. To top it all off, you’ve lost interest in the story, but it has to be at least 125,000 words long.

    You have one month. Begin.

    August 13, 2019
    |Reply
    • 9ofspades
      9ofspades

      I am very tempted to do this because I love writing challenges, but the sex trafficking research doesn’t sound like something that can be rushed.

      August 13, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        If it was a short story, I think it’d be a lot easier to pull that off in a polished form but if it has to be a novel, I’d err on the side of 80,000 words. Even though that’s pretty short, it should keep the padding down since the word-count is low (and of course there is the time limit… but I assume that’s for the first draft.) Plus, I remember how thin most of those Harlequin romances are… It’s do-able! 🙂

        And yeah, as you said, the research probably can’t be rushed. But you know what? To be fair, sex trafficking doesn’t need to be super accurate, especially when it’s mostly backstory. I think the hitch will be the Albanian research but that said, it might be possible to research as you write it and realize you have a question to answer? And then you can fill in something serviceable. The issue with EEL was that she did go there/did research and then had enough written that she didn’t bother revising the previously unresearched sections so it made sense. (And if it had purely been Maxim’s assumptions that would’ve worked but because she wrote it like that in Alessia’s POV… yeah.)

        August 13, 2019
        |Reply
    • EC
      EC

      Now I really want Chopped: Writing to be a real thing.

      August 13, 2019
      |Reply
  45. WendyNerd
    WendyNerd

    God if she tries to make Anatoli sympathetic…

    August 15, 2019
    |Reply
  46. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    For some reason I’ve got this mantra stuck in my head, as if there were a bunch of cheerleaders stoking bleachers full of people shouting:


    Trev-a-thick is a Trev-a-dick!
    Trev-a-thick is a Trev-a-dick!
    Trev-a-thick is a Trev-a-dick!
    .
    .
    .

    over and over again, endlessly . . . .

    August 15, 2019
    |Reply
  47. Emily, a newbie
    Emily, a newbie

    But like.
    Why is imagining Anatoli as an actual djinn a far more interesting development than pretty much /anything/ else in this book?

    I’m also still a little confused on how Eel wrote Anatoli in general. Originally, he was given this whole background that he’s the stereotypical abusive gangster, super selfish and misogynistic to every degree; he is a walking red flag, and is written that way. He only cares for himself, has even said things along the lines of “Women are just objects to please men”, portrayed as having no remorse or sympathy at all.
    Yet, he appears to be hopeful that Alessia actually cares for him?
    That just seems very…out of character to me. Why would he care about Alessia’s feelings for him at all, let alone to the degree of actually being semi-concerned and interested in how she views him. If he didn’t give a shit about Alessia and only viewed her as an object, then he wouldn’t be hoping for her to approve of him or care about him, because she is an /object/ in his eyes and therefore her opinion would hold no value to him at all. Him even vaguely wanting her approval is a conflict to his character, and it MAKES. NO. SENSE.
    I finished this book ahead of the recaps, yet I still can’t really wrap my head around this. Because it almost seems like…
    Like Eel is trying to make him able to be redeemed somewhere down the road, should there ever be a sequel made.

    I get the feeling that if The Mister really is just another Twilight fanfic in disguise that Erika had on an old harddrive somewhere, and we assume that Maxim is Edward, guess we know now who Jacob would have been.

    August 16, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Ugh… oh god. Well, it is a Twilight fanfic, Maxim is definitely Edward, so you must be correct. Gross! Poor Jacob. That would certainly explain this entire “Love Triangle but Not a Love Triangle” issue…

      Wait, so, wait… I’m very muddled about the progression of Christian Grey here. Is he also inspired by Jacob from Safe Haven (along with Edward from Master of the Universe) or was the version of Jacob basically Dante and she shoved Christian in at the last minute as Anatoli? I mean, EEL definitely changed things from the little tidbits of the fanfic I saw in the twitter link (the word fuck isn’t in every single sentence) but there wasn’t enough to judge how much she changed plot and character-wise. Bella suffers some kind of head injury and Edward gives her some rudimentary, non-doctorial assistance while saying he’ll kill who-ever did it. And she’s a maid at a hotel or something. That’s all I saw.

      August 16, 2019
      |Reply
      • “I get the feeling that if The Mister really is just another Twilight fanfic in disguise that Erika had on an old harddrive somewhere, and we assume that Maxim is Edward, guess we know now who Jacob would have been.

        OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE, THERE IS PROBABLY SOME TRUTH TO THIS AND NOW CANNOT UNSEE!

        Dark/swarthy/native casual racism? Check? Abuse as love? Check. Dad wants them to be together? Check. Guy she knew from back home? Check. Did I mention the racism? Yeah, check.

        August 16, 2019
        |Reply
        • Emily, a newbie
          Emily, a newbie

          Honestly, as gross as Jacob’s character was written to be within the patient 0 that is Twilight, I always kinda preferred him to Edward anyway. Like, yeah, he was pushy, super emotional, pretty creepy in some instances, a touch rage-y in later books, etc. but he was also younger, and honestly didn’t really act to out of the norm for a 16 year old kid being put in very bad life-or-death situations. It’s not an excuse for a majority of his shit, but there’s at least some sense to it, I guess. Plus he always felt like he actually cared for Bella for reasons that surpassed just looks and her smell, and Bella /did/ lead him on pretty heavily after Edward decided to Seacrest Out.

          In conclusion, may not be Team Jacob (Team Emmett since high school, Team Emmett forever), and may not like Jacob for a lot of reasons, but he was horrifically treated both in book and movie incarnations. His character deserved a lot more than to just “Recognize-but-it’s-not-actually-Recognition-Please-Don’t-Sue-Me-Wendy-And-Richard-Pini” a literal baby to force close the love triangle in time for the Deus Ex Machina ending. Meyer by all means really dropped the ball on Jacob and his potential. She managed to be offensive /through/ her claims of being anything but, and at the time, the fanbase was so loud that most just ignored it; not like anyone would have listened back then anyway.

          It is interesting though that there /were/ a lot of Team Jacob people out there (went to school with quite a few, myself), so you’d think there would be SOMEONE in the fandom who could take his character, battered as it is, and make him even half of what he could’ve been. Where are all the Jacob and Bella fics-turned-novels?
          They existed, I know they did. And there were semi-decent ones that actually delved in to the Native American culture and either expanded or corrected things from the book. Where are /those/ stories? Why does Jacob Black somehow end up going from, “just another jealous teenager who doesn’t get the girl,” to, “I am a Big Bad and my favorite passed time is rape. And assault. And CRIMES”?

          (I know the answer is racism, but I’m going to keep asking despite that.)

          August 16, 2019
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            I think you need a lot of gumption, brazenness, and confidence to get a novel published, especially if you’re a fanfic author who has never been through that process before, and those aren’t always the same people who would carefully research Native American tribes to give justice to their fandom crush. There’s also the weird stigma that is pervasive in most media, where the heroes and heroines should either be white or ambiguous. So, racism again but if you’re branching out from that then you generally want to make sure that your work is the best it can be so it’s taken seriously and does credit to the topic. Unfortunately, I think publishers are probably more leery at taking a chance on that, even if it would get the book out of the slush pile, or it would certainly be perceived that way even if that’s not entirely true. Which means anyone who doubts themselves is less likely to pursue publishing, even though it’s plausible they’ve written something far better than E.L. James. Also, it probably takes a certain amount of luck, knowing someone, or willingness and ability to self-publish when you’re starting out.

            Racism definitely has a hand in it but some of it may just be getting all the right factors aligned but I’m sure the published authors in here could shine more light on the answer.

            August 17, 2019
        • Dove
          Dove

          Dark/swarthy/native casual racism?

          Btw, I suspect she made Anatoli blond to deter accusations of racism. Like, she knew that most people will go “oh yeah, he’s blond, he’s a villain” but given her slight hints at attempted sympathy, I suspect he wasn’t always. Maybe one of her dearly departed editors did manage to hammer that thought into her or she’s just aware enough to know it wouldn’t go over well if she went with the swarthy look. It could also be why she made him partially Italian… lol not that they haven’t faced prejudice but as another decoy, especially against the accusation of Islamophobia (since more Italians are Catholic.) It also could be her attempt to avoid Islam entirely, I dunno… which is both a blessing and a curse.

          August 17, 2019
          |Reply
      • Emily, a newbie
        Emily, a newbie

        I think Dante (if we’re assigning Twilight roles to everyone, as per fanfic rules of course) would be more of…that one kid that Bella /kinda/ dated after Edward left in New Moon? I only remember him as “Friend 3” or “Dollar Store Archie” (no hate to that actor btw, if anything I feel nothing but the strongest of sympathy). He was the friend at the start of Twilight that kinda acted like he had a thing for Bella. Then in book 2, after Ed left, Archie Clone asked Bella on a date to the movies, and Bella “mistook” it as a group invite and invited everyone to go see the action classic, Face Punch. The whole thing ended up being a weird way to give Jacob more interaction with Bella, because god forbid any natural bonding happens in Twilight, with Not-Archie being a third wheel and basically shoved out of existence afterward. I’d say if Dante were anyone, it would be Not-Archie. OR he could be James, all things considered.
        I personally side more with the idea of him being the James here, but who knows tbh. I’ve been in fanfic long enough to know that no matter what, some authors will surprise you with their “casting choice”.

        Honestly though, we could probably make a game out of this XD kind of like a Guess Who: E. L. & Her Fandoms Edition. Could sit around with some friends and guess what real Twilight characters “inspired” (read: were copypasta’d into) Eel’s characters.

        August 16, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          I’d say if Dante were anyone, it would be Not-Archie.

          Sounds like a fair assumption.

          OR he could be James, all things considered.

          Who was James? I’ve never read the Twilight books or really watched the movies.

          I’ve been in fanfic long enough to know that no matter what, some authors will surprise you with their “casting choice”.

          Indeed! lol, But sometimes the surprising choices can still be really interesting, in a good way. This wasn’t one of them.

          August 17, 2019
          |Reply
          • Emily, a newbie
            Emily, a newbie

            James was the main “antagonist” for the first Twilight book and movie c: the dude that apparently wanted specifically /her/ blood soooo badly that he went through hoops to lure Bella to Arizona, to an abandoned dance studio, and ended up biting her during the big epic stand-off with Edward and Co. that ended up being the piss poor climax of the book.
            Ultimately, he was pretty forgettable, think his name was said maybe like…four times over the series? So, didn’t leave much of an impact xD

            And I say this as someone who was a big fan of Twilight in high school, and am still relatively okay with the books today.

            August 17, 2019
    • Dove
      Dove

      But like.
      Why is imagining Anatoli as an actual djinn a far more interesting development than pretty much /anything/ else in this book?

      I forgot to add but I guess that’s a hallmark of bad fanfic lol. Zeb was a super minor character in Handbook for Mortals but it was fun working out the details: like if he was a djinn that Charlie and Deli had influence over back in the day and then maybe Charlie freed him when Deli left but Zeb stayed on. I loved that idea and it gave all of them some much-needed personality.

      It’s also maybe a sign that the origin had fantasy elements and the author loses some of that intrigue by not including any. (I maintain that H4M had none because literally everything could’ve been done without it… including the heroine’s collapse, coma, and revival.) Perhaps the paranormal was minimal in Twilight but it had some impact?

      August 17, 2019
      |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Oh, laud! XD

          Good on whoever wrote that. I hope it’s a lot sexier, with some actual magic acts, a mysterious plot, and a happy ending.

          August 18, 2019
          |Reply
      • Emily, a newbie
        Emily, a newbie

        I remember those comments! I was a silent lurker when those recaps were being posted, and read through alllll the comment threads to try and quell my rage with a giggle or two.

        H4M holds a very…/special/ place in my heart due to the incredibly personal offense it brought to me. I’m a very proud Ruska Romani, or Russian Gypsy, whose family barely escaped capture during World War 2 by immigrating to the U.S., and I generally take a pretty great interest in absolutely any media that has to do with any Romani, either directly or just thematically. I’m not really one to criticize much, because I know firsthand just how secretive my people are when it comes to tradition and lifestyle, and I know that’s a big part of why so many people are mystified and intrigued by Roma life in general. I understand that stereotypes exist for a reason, and I’m not typically offended by the caricatures most media portrays of my people; I even get a good chuckle out of it sometimes, because usually it isn’t done in a way that’s really meant to offend, but rather just kind of show a weird sense of appreciation and interest in our ways, and that’s fine to a degree.
        However, to quote Youtuber Mista GG, “Once you cross that line, I don’t care how you got there,” and Lani Sarem not only crossed the line, but she took like five extra steps passed it with a constant, cocky grin. It’s one thing to buy in to stereotypes and just be ignorant, because ignorance can be cured by education, but it’s another thing entirely to not only be willingly ignorant, but also somehow put yourself on this pedestal and scream over everyone that your portrayals are 100% accurate and those you’re portraying should be grateful for it. I hate that she continuously pretends that her use of the word Gypsy is perfectly fine because Jason Mamoa does it, I hate that she can’t accept any form of correction or attempt to educate her on the racism, I hate that she made absolutely no effort to actually learn anything about the Romani, and I really, really, REALLY hate that she only tacked on the Roma racial card just to add another descriptor to her avatar just to make her more quirky, unique, mystical, and “just so super duper speciaahhhhhl.” If she had done absolutely /anything/ to expand on her identity as a Romani woman, I would have been less angry. May have even given her a pass. I’m pretty free with handing those out, honestly; really doesn’t take much. I actually like seeing an outsider’s perspective, I really do.
        But no, it genuinely seems like Miss Sarem believes that “Gypsy” is just synonymous with “tarot reading”, “witch”, and “magick”, and the blatant dumbing down of my culture and race to be nothing more than an inaccurate adjective with no depth is disgusting to me. It just perpetuates every single stereotype that is the /most/ harmful, and almost acts as a way to erase our traditions and identity to be nothing more than some Instagram hashtag for white girls who just have a case of wanderlust. And like I said, I really wouldn’t have this huge grudge about it if she would admit she was wrong (or even just say she didn’t realize how offensive it was, I’d take that too), and take even the smallest steps towards spreading the awareness that she claims she has with her novel. Hell, even just throw in ONE scene of her muttering an annoyed, “Frickin’ gadje,” when Riley or someone shows an absurd amount of amazement. Something, ANYTHING, come ON Lani. GOOGLE EXISTS.
        That’s just the tip of the iceberg regarding my grudge towards that book and Lani, too =.= I just…have a lot pent up about it xD sorry, /EndRomaRant.

        Honestly though, any development on Zeb would have been welcome. He was like…the only character that had any air of mystery about him. Well, him and Lambo Girl, but she may as well not exist and just read as a weird Victoria from Twilight knock-off with more lines and less threat. Somehow.
        The paranormal in Twilight mostly peaked with expanding on the werewolves and how they came to be, imo. The vampire stuff was very run-of-the-mill, awkward, and a touch too /safe/ for my liking. If you’re gonna do a supernatural race with so many different variations in lore throughout history, to the point where nearly every culture has a version of it in some way, then show a little chutzpah and go all out with it. Take different folklore tales, mix the elements, maybe add a little comedy with them saying, “Oh, yeah. This is how that story came to be and it was entirely an accident but man, those humans really clung to it. Kek.”
        Aaaaand I just realized that Twilight in general was void of like, any comedic relief besides the occasional Emmett quip. Something of which has translated over into E. L. James’s work >.> and somehow managed to go from 0 down to the very deep negatives. It’s almost admirable just how easily Eel can literally suck the fun or entertainment out of anything she touches.

        August 17, 2019
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Well, hey, it’s good to hear your opinion on such things! And your anger is understandable; everyone just wants some basic respect. Appropriation doesn’t do that and even if H4M couldn’t be labeled that way, Lani Sarem sure as hell has no respect for anyone else.

          That’s also where EEL went so wrong… if she’d made some simple mistakes, no one would be as angry as her lambasting an entire country before eventually dabbing her travel journal onto the end of the plot as if it were a patch on the ass of some super ripped jeans.

          Honestly though, any development on Zeb would have been welcome. He was like…the only character that had any air of mystery about him.

          Right? Zeb was a major missed opportunity. It felt like she was trying to lead up to a reveal, ala Snape, but that fell through somehow. Maybe she got bored with it or tried hinting without knowing what she wanted to do with him.

          The paranormal in Twilight mostly peaked with expanding on the werewolves and how they came to be, imo. The vampire stuff was very run-of-the-mill, awkward, and a touch too /safe/ for my liking. If you’re gonna do a supernatural race with so many different variations in lore throughout history, to the point where nearly every culture has a version of it in some way, then show a little chutzpah and go all out with it. Take different folklore tales, mix the elements, maybe add a little comedy with them saying, “Oh, yeah. This is how that story came to be and it was entirely an accident but man, those humans really clung to it. Kek.”

          Yeah. I think Bella did research and then the vamps tossed most of that out the window but it was done to make Meyer’s life easier and maybe to sanitize them for a young and/or evangelical audience. How did she handle the werewolves? 😛

          August 18, 2019
          |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      I get the feeling that if The Mister really is just another Twilight fanfic in disguise that Erika had on an old harddrive somewhere, and we assume that Maxim is Edward, . .

      In a way. Maxim is Edward, but both are actually EEL.

      Steely Dan skirts the issue very briefly in their song “Do It Again” with the line:

      Now you swear and kick and beg us that you’re not a gamblin’ man
      Then you find you’re back in Vegas with a handle in your hand
      . . . .
      You go back, Jack, do it again,
      Wheels turinin’ ’round and ’round
      You go back, Jack, do it again

      They had something there, but no one really knows it.

      Every therapist worth their salt knows what is going on with 50 & Mister is that EEL is putting herself on the pages. Remember all those stories of her being a terror on the set of 50 and Sam Taylor-Johnson pulling her hair out over EEL’s minuscule demands? EEL was being herself: a control freak. Christian is a control freak. Because EEL does no research and chooses not to explore the human condition outside her own, that’s all that shows up on the page. There’s a reason Maxim and Christian are alike: They’re EEL.

      How this got popular, tho, is beyond me.

      So, to me, the faster she disappears into oblivion the better.

      August 18, 2019
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        There’s a reason Maxim and Christian are alike: They’re EEL.

        I think there’s some truth to that, EEL is a control freak, but it’s not quite that simple. She was bleeding onto the page as the author moving her puppets around. There are enough differences between them and EEL to say they aren’t strictly speaking her self-insert. It’s only a few degrees mind you and I’m just splitting hairs but I think it’s a bit dangerous to say, for example, that she is either character when her impression is that each man thinks about nothing but his dick. That’s a stereotype which indicates who she is as a person but it’s not an example of her personal patterns of thought, presumably. It’s also just a case of lazy copy-paste in some cases.

        Also, I hope she doesn’t rape people but who knows?

        And furthermore, she researches things all the time! Just look at all this exposition on the page about useless details that totally ruin the pacing of the scene. It’s only correct when it’s unimportant but by golly, she did have that vacation maybe lol. XD

        Anyway, here’s to hoping that she loses interest in writing and aspires to something she can’t share for money. Hooray! *clinks glasses*

        August 18, 2019
        |Reply
  48. J.
    J.

    If I suddenly discover the love of my life is ever kidnapped and most definitly in mortal danger I’ll be sure to:
    Go to work (i have priorties, man)
    Pal around in the bar with my bff
    Btw, Clubbing sounds nice … I got time
    Raid my mommy’s jewelry box
    Leisurely book my flight
    Go to the bank
    Feed on the dog
    Mow the lawn
    Check the mail
    Read a book
    Browse Facebook
    Meander around a museum
    Do some site seeing
    Chat it up with their parents

    There’s really no need to rush. They’re fine.

    August 19, 2019
    |Reply
  49. Krita
    Krita

    Several seaside estates in Croatia? Does Anatoli shit money?

    August 19, 2019
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      That’s a good point. He must be extremely well off (or deeply in-debt) to have that many houses… unless he was lying through his teeth but since it wouldn’t serve any purpose at that moment, I’m willing to take it at face value (it never registered as an attempt to impress Dimzy and he was kidnapping her anyway so why would he bother?) I think EEL wrote that in because it sounded good and then promptly forgot about it.

      August 19, 2019
      |Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *