fiction-noun-the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, especially in prose form.
Fiction is, by definition, something that once was just a figment of a person's imagination. The author is allowed to take the story wherever he or she wants, giving the characters quirks, tossing entertaining lines into the dialogue, and embellishing the plot with details. It is these little touches that really give the book depth and make it interesting, but sometimes they just do not match reality. Of course, I am not talking about a writer describing a dragon's scales as green when they really should be blue, because we all are aware that, as far as we know, these creatures do not exist. I am addressing the information pertaining to our world, either current or historic-our schools, clothes, media, anything- that is a little off. Although the story comes from the author's mind and is not true, shouldn't the real-world things that occur actually be able to happen? My answer to that question is yes.
I recently read Speechless by Hannah Harrington. I loved the plot, the people, and the writing, but there was one thing that bothered me: the fact that the main character, Chelsea Knot, is taking geometry, but her math problems are always algebraic. She repeatedly complains about her inability to comprehend parabolas and quadratic expressions, which are things you do not even touch in the former subject. This frustrated me immeasurably, and now, weeks after reading the final chapter, it is what stands out the most in my memory. Although it did not take away too much from my enjoyment of the novel, it did slightly affect my overall opinion.
On the other hand, I am sure I come across some books whose mistakes I do not have the knowledge to notice. Occasionally, I read reviews in which these errors are pointed out, but this never impacts my feelings about the novel. One of my favorite things about The Luxe was the way the writer wove in beautiful historical details, and other people saying that they were inaccurate did not change my oblivious opinion. If I had any knowledge about the time period, I may have reacted the same way I responded to Speechless, but others' opinions are not my opinions, and I appreciated the fine points regardless.
Accuracy in fiction is of high value to me, because you can never tell who will pick up on the smallest discrepancy. When writing, always check your details, employ proofreaders, and never forget to ask yourself, "Is that a fact?"
Do these little mismatched details annoy you? Let me know what you think!