Well. My resolution to go easy on EL James didn’t even make it to the first page. Because The Mister opens with one of the laziest prologue chapters I’ve ever read, and it immediately brought me right back to all of my least favorite things about 50 Shades — Christian’s tortured, poverty-stricken childhood flashbacks. For the uninitiated, just know that these sections were told in a breathless first-person narrative that imagines that the internal narrative of a human being — but particularly a panic-stricken and impoverished human being — is roughly equivalent to a spooked deer.
But before we get to that, let’s first focus on how EL James actually chooses to open her book: the time-honored “dictionary definition”:
Now, if EL James was a good writer, I would expect that the comparison of a physical object to a working class human being might be a central theme. Especially given James’s habit of creating lead characters who fetishize material goods and demonize the poor and working class.
But instead, I think this is literally the author going, “Hey I bet Americans doesn’t know that we sometimes call maids ‘dailies’ in England. I should clarify that right at the start so nobody gets confused. Should I add in a section that explains we call apartments flats, or do you think they’ll get it?”
Now on to the terrible opener, about which I have almost nothing to say.
It is a long, tortured account of a woman who appears to be fighting her way out of a plastic bag(?), then running through the woods(?), then running through a parking lot(?), and then eventually arriving at a woman’s house.
All of it — and I mean all of it — is written like this:
One foot in front of the other. Walk. It’s all she can do. Walk. Walk. Walk. Sleep in a doorway. Wake and walk on. Walk. […]
She’s cold. Hunger claws at her stomach. And she walks and walks, following the map. A stolen map. Stolen from a store. A store with twinkling lights and Christmas music. […] Tired. So tired. Dirty. So dirty and cold and frightened.
We don’t get this woman’s name, we don’t know anything about her, but we can be pretty sure that she’s about to find work as a maid… a sexy maid.
So that’s fun. That’s all it is. Fun. Fun. Fun. etc.
Anyway, that’s all we get from this prologue. Which means I’ll probably be back with Chapter 1 soon. And it, my friends, is a real doozy.
Til then, mist hard and mist well.