Monday, 24 September 2012

Pedants Anonymous

Well, not so anonymous, as you all know it's me.  But I just needed to make a few points.  As I posted many moons ago, while reading dot.homme by Jane Moore I came across bits of the novel that were contradictory.  Since having written my first novel (still unpublished) I am reading books with a different eye. I try to note patterns and themes, to see what kind of thing gets published.  I've read a lot of books that I haven't enjoyed, but it's not that they're badly written; I just haven't enjoyed them.

Every time you look at a product on Amazon, they like to recommend other similar products.  I spend a lot of time on Amazon browsing books, and every now and then an interesting cover pops up (and as you know, I do like to judge books by their covers).  A couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued by the cover of Grow Up by Ben Brooks.  The blurb made it sound like a book that I'd like to read so I got it out of the library.

I'm not here to write book reviews, mainly because I don't want to.  I just need to voice my frustrations with books that have clearly been published, but have not been read.

Exhibit A:
The main character, Jasper, has a house party when his mum and step-dad are away for the weekend.  The house is full of people drinking and taking drugs.  Jasper, after snorting lines of ketamine, has sex with Abby in his parents' bed.

On page 40 Jasper says, "... I can cope with wearing a little blood.  I have blood, you have blood.  Your blood on me ... Your blood on the sheets."

In the morning he wakes up, and looks at himself.

On page 40 Jasper says, "There is blood on and in the immediate vicinity of my penis.  This is the most disgusting I have ever felt in my life."

He leaves Abby in bed and goes downstairs and talks to his friend Tenaya.

On page 41 Jasper says, "She throws me a pair of jeans from the floor.  I pull the full condom off and climb in."

A while later, Jasper and Tenaya are outside talking about the previous night's events.

On page 46 Jasper says, "I had sex with Abby Hall, even though she is plump and even though she was on her period."

On page 60 Jasper and Tenaya are having a conversation as Jasper is worried he may have made Abby pregnant.
'Tenaya,' I say, 'out of interest, can girls get pregnant on their periods?'
She tries not to laugh. 'No,' she says, 'Well, it is basically impossible.'
'Why?' she says.
'Isn't it obvious?'
Tenaya bites her lip. 'You weren't told?'
'Told what?'
'Abby wasn't on her period. It was her first time.'
'Her hymen, Jasper. You smashed her flower. '

Now, I'm sorry for the lengthiness of this bit, but if my Law A Level taught me nothing else, it taught me to have all of my evidence.  Jasper has sex with a girl and she bleeds everywhere.  He assumes she's on her period.  He worries about becoming a father after having sex with Abby, but he pulled a condom off when he went downstairs.  Unless he was so "mashed on K" that he had forgotten that he'd used a contraceptive, why would he worry about making her pregnant?

Exhibit B:
In the morning, after the house party, Jasper goes into the kitchen to make a drink.

On page 41 Jasper tells Tenaya that he will "make coffee and cigarettes."

While in the kitchen, his friend, Ping, wakes up.

On page 43 Jasper says, "I make three teas, leave one on the side for Ping ..." and then gives "Tenaya her coffee and cigarette."

They both go outside, and while talking, Tenaya says, "This tea is gash, Jasper."

Again, I know things like this probably won't matter to most people.  But to go from coffee to tea to coffee to tea within a few lines is something that surely have been picked up by proof-readers and editors?


I now read as a writer, not just as a reader, and I do have to question how these things slip through the net.  With the number of people who have to read manuscripts before they get published, how are these mistakes (if I can call them that) still in the final text?

I know you may call me pedantic (and I am), and that these things don't really matter (and they don't), but I want to know what gets published, and it seems that things with inconsistencies get published.  And before you nag at me for being critical, I am really enjoying the book so far.  I've only read six chapters and I have been sucked in to the story, and I really love Jasper.  It's just a shame that these things hadn't been picked up before the book was sent to print. 

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