“Ah, well… it happens with every book.”

“Ah, well… it happens with every book.”

That’s what other authors and industry folks are saying, trying to help me get over the headache that began the moment I found a rather glaring error right in the middle of the first chapter of Through a Screen Darkly.

Why didn’t I remember that in 1987 when I was 17 years old, “Dances with Wolves” was still three years away from opening?

And yet, I wrote that I saw the film in 1987, at age 17.

In fact, here’s what happened: I went on a date with my friend Melissa in 1987 when I was 17. The movie was “Roxanne,” not “Dances with Wolves.”

Three years later, I took Melissa on another date, when I was 20, and we saw “Dances with Wolves.”

The story… and its point in Chapter One… are still all true.

But in writing the story, the two events merged in my head, and I put down the wrong date, and thus identified myself as being 17 when I saw the film.

Most readers would have skimmed right over it and never been the wiser. But I’m a perfectionist, so… there you go.

Elsewhere, where that chapter is being published online as an excerpt, the correction has been made. But the error will be there on the printed page to puzzle generations to come.

Two more things: My apologies to Kristin Wilhite, whose name appears as “Kristen” on one page, and to Alfonso Cuarón, whose name appears as “Alfonzo Cuaron.”

Given two or three more days, I would have made one more proofreading sweep and caught all of these things. In the second printing, all will be made right.

If there’s anything else you need to bring to my attention, please email me at joverstreet [at] gmail [dot] com.

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  • eucharisto

    The only movie I’ve seen by myself in the last two years was “Serenity”, and the reason for that was because the person with whom I was going to see it bailed at the last minute. Consequentially, I didn’t enjoy it as much the first time around.

    I’ll go to regular, run of the mill movies with anyone I can find. But when it comes to movies I really want to study and analyze, I’ll wait until I can see it with other people who I know I can count on to engage in discussion with me. There are only a handful of such people I know like that.

  • During the Summer Blockbuster season I usually go with a few friends. But when awards season rolls around and I want to go see something to make me think and ponder (something that may not be that entertaining), it’s very hard to find people to tag along. Sad statement, but I’m working on alot of my friends to make them more thoughtful engagers of culture.

  • Amelia Little

    I just wanted to let you know that Covenant College’s library will be carrying a copy of your book. It goes very well with the Senior gift this year which is a movie collection!

  • Cpt Casual-T

    You know how IMDB has a “goofs” section for each movie. (And even the best movies have goofs.) You could add a similar section to your “DVD extras” web page?

  • Greg Wright

    First, you should take solace from the fact that most of C.S. Lewis’ books look like they were NEVER proofread; so that’s obviously not the measure of a book’s value.

    Second, as a collector, I can tell you that those errors are invaluable. They’re what enable folks sixty years from now to distinguish first state from second state.

    Third, as a writer and editor, I fully sympathize with your chagrin.

  • David McElroy

    I used to be a newspaper editor, and I can guarantee that you have my sympathy. I could see words on a layout board over and over, but not see a typo. As soon as it was in print, though, it would leap out at me. One time, I wrote a front-page headline (the huge one at the top in huge letters) that should have said “millions,” but I put “billions.” It was embarrassing, but it’s just a part of putting print on paper. No printed product is ever going to be consistently perfect.

  • Brett

    Hey — it could be worse. You could be someone like Dan Brown or John Spong and have to face up to the fact that every word you write is somehow misleading or wrong…

  • Adam Walter

    I hate to bring it up, but the Biblical phrase that you draw on for the book’s title… well, it’s actually “through a glass darkly.”


  • Joel Buursma

    My wife has been reading some mysteries that have been around for a while where the main character is Agatha Raisin. She says that the author regularly mixes up the names of the characters, sometimes at key junctures in the plot(like revealing the identity of the crook)! Since she is an editor by trade, she is delighted when she finds a typo in a major release like Harry Potter.

    All this to say that, yes it does indeed happen with any book.

  • Amelia Little

    I just wanted to tell you that Covenant College’s library will be carrying a copy of your book!

  • Sara Z.

    I’m more interested in the two dates with three years in between. That’s kind of a long time for a follow-up date.

  • revnace

    I saw Dances with Wolves while in high school on video and I questioned your dates in my mind. But I continued on through it. Its nice to know I actually was right. Book is a great read thus far.