It gives me great pleasure to re-post a review of E.L. James’ latest romance novel, The Mister, because I just cannot bring myself to read it – and E.L. James is news. As you might have picked up from previous posts, I think her writing is dull and her depiction of sex scenes just toe-curlingly, cringe-inducingly awful. It seems that someone at The Atlantic agrees with me. No-one disagrees though, that James has become extremely wealthy from her Fifty Shades books and films – regardless of what critics say. According to The Sun newspaper, “E L James has a fortune of £114m. As of December 2018, her books have sold 125 million copies worldwide. In 2014, E L James earned £9m from movie and book royalties.” So there. She knows critics don’t like her books. And she doesn’t take it to heart:
“The critics are less enthusiastic about everything I do. So I don’t really listen to critics. You know, they do their thing, I do mine, and our paths do not cross.” (Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic, Fifty Shades’ author E.L. James on ‘The Mister’, published April 30, 2019; updated May 1, 2019; rtrvd. 2019-06-08)
For your enjoyment and edification, here is the funny and astute review by Sophie Gilbert. (And thank you kindly, The Atlantic magazine.) I’ve bolded some of the juicier bits. I am not only reposting it because it supports my point of view – that would be plain self-indulgence. (Me? Self-indulgent? Never!) I’m also reposting it because of the criteria against which Gilbert measures the book, including:
- gender and consent dynamics
- sexual slavery
- “pervasive whiteness” in romance novels
These subjects, while current, are not exactly my forté. I could not have written a review of this book without a lot of effort (and actually reading it) and thank goodness, I didn’t have to! Fair warning – rude bits will follow. And if the quotes make you want to read the whole novel, don’t say you weren’t warned.