It was a very cute little book, one that I actually found myself falling in love with as I turned each page. Humorous, witty, and very insightful, Lynne Truss doesn’t leave any question unanswered when it comes to grammar; but she does lay it out in an amazingly clear, beautiful style. Eats, Shoots and Leaves becomes a story of grammar, and if you argue, “That’s not possible!”, let me tell you, it actually is! 🙂
Besides the fact that she is from Britain and so the punctuation and spelling are slightly different from ours (which she mentions and clarifies), her humor and scope of vocabulary is astonishing. Sometimes I feel like I am reading a well-written ten-year-old’s term paper; it’s not that it is simple–it is that it is fresh, new, exciting, and not at all boring.
I thought periods were frightfully dull, but after reading her book, I am learning about the dance punctuation plays with words so a reader can hear the rise and fall of energy and emotion as well as the writer. The length of pauses bring life into a simple paragraph of writing: one for a comma; two for a semi-colon; three for a colon; four for a period–and yet, I may be getting her descriptions completely mixed up because I am just remembering and writing about the book; I’m not copying word for word what she said; I am throwing out here what my memory learned.
Like about the uses and brilliance behind semi-colons and colons! I had no idea! Did you? No idea at all. Now I stick them liberally in all my writings: and I am afraid I have no idea how to use them anymore! 🙂
It’s great fun! Reading a grammar book and coming away with more inaccuracies than before . . . I am afraid Truss would be horrified. Her seventh sense (the one that finds advertisements misspelled and billboards unpunctuated) would probably explode in shock. She meant her book to be a guide; I made it into a liberator.
She wrote it to catch people who punctuated inaccurately; I may become her top villain.
Yet I won’t trade my beginning struggle with correct punctuation and go back and unread Truss’s book. It may have given me confusion, but first, and overall, it gave me the world.
Opening a new expanse for me into the heart of Punctuation Capitol (no pun intended 🙂 ), I have been intimately introduced to every punctuation mark out there (I think every one, anyway), and I am delighted to have met them. I will be using them all frequently, whether correctly or incorrectly, from this point out.
Instead of enemies, Eats, Shoots and Leaves taught me that punctuation is and are friends.
- My Truss-ted guide (englishgrammargripe.com)
- Grammar Is Dead, Long Live Grammar Nerds (theatlanticwire.com)