09 July 2012

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I'm just home from a weeklong vacation alone with my husband.  (My kids are away at summer camp and the dogs are at Grandma's.)  We swam in the ocean, climbed a mountain in a rain forest, explored an underground cave, worked on my crawl stroke in the pool, spoke a foreign language, slept till 10 A.M., and lingered over breakfast until mid-afternoon.  It was heavenly.

I managed to read a few books, too.  I finished The Hunger Games trilogy, which I had been working on for a while.  I'm reading Jenny Lawson's (you might know her as the Bloggess) ridiculously funny memoir Let's Pretend This Never Happened.  (I keep having to put it down because I am laughing uncontrollably.  At first my husband thought this was cute, but after about three sessions of laughing-so-hard-that-I'm-crying, it lost its charm.)  And finally, finally, I had a chance to read Fifty Shades of Grey.

Guess what I thought?  Thin plot, poorly written.  There's a lot of very, very explicit older-wealthy-man/young ingenue sex, and if you like that, the book is worth your time.  There's a lot to be said for a good, trashy summer read, and this book fits the bill.

But I am bothered by poor grammar and vocabulary.  I can't help it.  I think good grammar and interesting word choice are the kinds of things that make writing flow well.  If an author is incapable of using good grammar, then an editor should pick up the slack.  Neither happened here.  The book is full of comma splices and run-on sentences, and I spotted the occasional lack of subject-verb agreement.  In addition, the author repeats the same phrases and words over and over again without variation.  For example, she uses the phrase "oh-so-sexy" to describe the romantic hero, his demeanor, and his hair - sometimes more than once on a page.  She also repeats the phrase "my breath hitches," "his breath hitched," etc. whenever someone gasps.  (This happens a lot, given the nature of the story.)

In the end, I'm glad I read it.  I'm happy to know what all the fuss is about and to be able to speak about it intelligently.  I'm not sure whether I'm going to complete the trilogy, though; I'd need a lot of free time to do that, and I don't know whether it would be worth it.

And so back to real life.  I'm going to get my dogs back from Grandma today and talk to a painter about repainting my daughter's room before she returns from camp.  I'm grateful for a wonderful break alone with my best friend.  I feel recharged and ready to move forward.  That's the best thing about a vacation.

1 comment:

Kathy Scott said...

Sounds like a wonderful vacation, Jennie-I'm happy you and Sam got a chance to relax and reconnect. I completely agree about "50 Shades". My book club loved it but I just found the poor writing to be incredibly disruptive to my enjoyment of the book, from grammatical errors to frequent use of English expressions by the young American protagonist. I don't understand why the publisher didn't use a competent editor! Anyway, hope the rest of your summer is great too.