Oh yes, I jumped the bandwagon and read the first book in E L James’s trilogy. This will not be a review as such, though. Other people have said pretty much everything I would say about it – Grace put it all very eloquently and amusingly, so I suggest you read what she had to say – and so I will do something a little different.
There’s two things that really got to me about the book. First of all, the style. It practically screams “mediocre fan fiction”. And before you jump to the conclusion that I have something against fan fiction – I don’t. I’ve been reading and writing it for about a decade, and there’s so much good stuff online it’s very impressive. What baffles me is that this particular one has been turned into a book, and with so little effort to conceal the fic origin. (I also suspect there was no editor at all. All the repetition, the same phrases and words used over and over – aargh!)
But now to the matter that’s been eating me since I read the line in the book. It is the importance of research, which I have ranted about before, namely in June when I read Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver. In Fifty Shades there is, towards the end, a scene where Ana dreams about Christian feeding her strawberries. Let me quote the offending bit:
“Eat,” he says, his tongue caressing the front of his palate as he enunciates the t.
– E. L. James: Fifty Shades of Grey, p. 442
Let’s get this straight. Here is a picture of the parts of your mouth:
The consonant [t] is not palatal. Try to say “eat” with your tongue touching the front of your palate, and you’ll get quite a nice lisp. Hardly attractive and very much reminiscent of Pratchett’s Igors. But why take my word? You can consult any table of the International Phonetic Alphabet (mine is in the back of Plag et al.’s Introduction to English Linguistics, second revised edition) and see that [t] categorises as a voiceless alveolar plosive (or stop, whichever name you prefer).
I know I’m picking nits here, but this is the kind of information that is not hard to obtain. And if you don’t feel like doing the research, then don’t put that kind of details anywhere.
Ahem. That’s all for me right now. Carry on.