CRAIG BROWN: EL James & # 39; The Mister is fifty shades of AWFUL

The gentleman

EL James Arrow £ 7.99

Rating: No stars

Maxim Trevelyan, who lives at Trevelyan House in Chelsea, inherited the title of Earl of Trevethick. And that's not all. "I just inherited a huge estate in Cornwall, one in Oxfordshire, another in Northumberland and a small part of London," he says early on.

He reminds us of this property damage at regular intervals. For example, on page 13 he writes:

"Earl of Trevethick.

& # 39; This is me. Now.

"It's unimaginable. It's devastating."

The gentleman is Barbara Cartland, narrated by Alan Partridge: The normal penniless virgin, who is chased by foreign villains, was torn off the feet by the taut fabric

Although he claims to have been educated at Eton College, he offers no explanation for his illiteracy. Obviously, no one ever taught him sentences and paragraphs.


He keeps going.


Like this.

His character or the little of it is borderline.

He helpfully tells us that sex is "my favorite pastime" and "my specialty is the black sheep of the family … but deep down I know how damn useless I am".

"Having access to a healthy trust fund since I was 21 means that I've never had a serious day's work in my life."

As you can see, the 13th earl puts the V-Dick in Trevethick. The book begins by using what he disgustingly calls "a large part of my anatomy" to engage in as much sex as possible with women through a thorough study of the A Window Cleaner's Confessions Films from the seventies.

"Let's go to bed, Posh Boy," Leticia whispers.

"All the best, honey," he replies.

As soon as things are going, Maxim thinks in italics: "Man, she really wants that. "

In her thanks on the back, E L James thanks "James Leonard for his teaching in the language of the noble young English". Something makes me doubt that she has ever achieved more than one F grade.

However, Trevelyan House has a hard-working Albanian cleaner named Alessia. We know that because "she sprinkles the bathroom mirror with Windolene and rubs it vigorously."

By mistake, Alessia goes into Maxim's bedroom. He sleeps and is thrilled: "The first naked man she has ever seen". His eyelids open "to reveal fuzzy but bright green eyes," which we learn are "the color of the still, deep water of the inside on a summer day."


When Maxim finally comes to, he also sees Alessia's eyes. In fact, he can't stop clocking them. In the further course of the book, he describes them one after the other as the color of espresso, dark and unfathomable, large and liquid brown, soul-searching, full of sadness, round with worry and framed by the longest eyelashes I have ever seen '.

It is love at first sight, on both sides, but because she is a virgin and Maxim has been overcome with respect for her, she remains celibated for well over 200 pages. Given that Softpornos are the unique selling point of E L James, their regular readers may feel upset when they're away.

It's like going to Nando and realizing they run out of chicken or booking a flight to a sunny and exotic location and learning that the plan has changed, and you're now on a bus replacement service to Nuneaton.

It is long, long, long 200 pages, full of skippable passages, which are signaled by early warning sentences such as "Tell me more about life in Kukes". Wikipedia-like paragraphs follow: "Albania is a special place where the family is at the center of everything … Kukes is a small place in the north near the border with Kosovo – of almost sublime banality.

It turns out that Alessia is not only fleeing from murderous Albanian sex traffickers, but also from a murderous Albanian vulgar she has to marry.

In the meantime Maxim wants her urgently. We know this because on page 190 he thinks:

& # 39; I want her. Bad. & # 39;

and on page 191:

"She has nothing.

& # 39; I have everything. & # 39;

Only on page 240 – "The desire burns like wildfire through me" – everything really begins, but to be honest it sounds more like origami or balloon bending than foreplay.

"In a split second, her nipple is big and stiff and fits her twin." Page 249 is ultimately about the whole pig, but by then it will have turned out to be too little and too late for most readers.


The year after Fifty shades In the United States, the number of victims of dirty sex accidents increased by 50 percent.

In fact, the little sex reads like someone is struggling to assemble an Ikea shelf. "With my arm under her butt, I push her up on my body so that her legs are on either side of my hips.

And I sit up so that she sits astride me, her arms on my shoulders. I fold her face and kiss her. "The only surprise is that there is no Allen key. On the other hand, His Lordship has no complaints.

"It fits perfectly in my arms. I can put my chin on her head if I choose it. “In another incarnation, she might have made the perfect backpack.

The gentleman is Barbara Cartland, told by Alan Partridge: The penniless virgin, who is chased by foreign villains, is torn from her feet by the straps, but with additional sports cars. Maxim thinks for a moment:

"It is flawless.

& # 39; In every way. & # 39;

And next time he gets into his F-Type Jag and presses the ignition.

"The engine comes to life and I push the car forward from its parking lot." Twenty pages later he is back in his engine. "I exhale, press the ignition and the engine growls to life."

Oddly enough, the F-Type makes exactly the same sound as Caroline, his brother's sexy widow, with whom he has an on-off affair: "Kiss me," she growls.

This is followed by a conventional boy meets girl / boy loses girl / boy finds girl again / wedding bells action, although artificially extended with these stupid one-word paragraphs.

I have to find her.

Where will she go

At home.



Like James Fifty shades The only recognizable characteristics of the hero are a huge account balance and an extensive real estate portfolio. Alessia goes to his big house. "This house is so big!", She thinks.

He leads them through the property. “Rosperran Farm has been part of the Trevethick estate since Georgian times. The Chenoweth family have been tenants there for more than 100 years. “Skip, reader, skip!

Materialism combined with snobbery make Maxim the perfect partner. Maxim takes Alessia on a shopping spree and spends £ 1,335 on clothes for her. He offers her champagne.

& # 39; champagne! She read about champagne. But I never thought that she would experience the taste. "

When he finally raises the question, he chooses the Cartier platinum diamond ring from the 1930s that my grandfather Hugh Trevelyan gave to my grandmother. It is an exquisite, simple and elegant ring: 2.79 carats and currently worth £ 45,000. & # 39;

Maxim introduces her to his numerous servants, including an old Scottish biddy who says things like "Ah, girl, don't cry" and a butler named Blake who appropriately says butler things like, "Will that be all, sir?" ? & # 39;

To reassure Alessia, His Lordship says, "I know you are from a different culture and I know that we are not economically the same, but this is just an accident by birth." We are the same in all other respects. "

Instead of answering: "You patronizing idiot", Alessia turns her tear-stained face to him and says: "You are not ashamed of me?" So he assures her that he doesn't – "No. No, of course not. I … I … I fell in love with you."

At this point, "her eyes sparkle with fresh tears," she tells him that she loves him too, and according to His Lordship, "joy breaks from head to toe like a million fireworks".

Fifteen pages later he works hard to teach her how to use cutlery like a real milady: "Always start from the outside and work inside on every course." Happy Days!

Part of a book critic's goal is to read bad books so you don't have to. The gentleman is not only bad but terrible. Or, as E L James could put it:

Not only.