you didn’t start in the very fist stitch on each row- you did some fancy decreasing!! (see, its a design feature) and you might have skipped a space here and there- but you did each mistake consistently- that’s good! LOL-
when you look at a new row, unless directed otherwise by a pattern, you start the stitch in the same one you chain up from the last row. that will make the edge more straight.
for clear pictures I also like the crochet answer book; and I checked crochet for dummies out of the library. (I wouldn’t buy that one, but it had some good pictures for stitch placement)
Oh! and Craftydaisy (craftydaisies?) blog had a whole series of beginner crochet tutorials that were great- 9 lessons with nice pictures of where to put the hook and what to do. She has been featured on the Craft MAgaine blog a few times so I’m sure if you google craftydaisy you will find her. right now she is doing an embroidery tutorial but the crochet ones are in the archives.
and one more thing- keep counting stitches- I go back and count my stitches in a row often. that way I see right away if I skipped a stitch or made too many…