The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine- ARC Review

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The Grammarians are Laurel and Daphne Wolfe, identical, inseparable redheaded twins who share an obsession with words. They speak a secret “twin” tongue of their own as toddlers; as adults making their way in 1980s Manhattan, their verbal infatuation continues, but this love, which has always bound them together, begins instead to push them apart. Daphne, copy editor and grammar columnist, devotes herself to preserving the dignity and elegance of Standard English. Laurel, who gives up teaching kindergarten to write poetry, is drawn, instead, to the polymorphous, chameleon nature of the written and spoken word. Their fraying twinship finally shreds completely when the sisters go to war, absurdly but passionately, over custody of their most prized family heirloom: Merriam Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition. (taken from Amazon)

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest opinion. This will be available on September third.

Isn’t it funny how words can both simplify and add complexity, often simultaneously? This book was one of those rare stories where little happens, but in such an all-encompassing way that when you read the final sentence, you feel like you’ve experienced something profound.

Laurel and Daphne are identical twins. They’ve always been close, and they both share an unapologetic love for words. As they grow, this love stretches in different directions, causing first tension, then a full-blown rift.

I have a thing for books about books or language, so this one immediately interested me. I ended up really enjoying it. The way it was written was both clever and charming, but it never moved fully over into the fluff category. Daphne and Laurel were well-balanced and believable characters. Sometimes one or both of them would annoy me, but in an endearing way, if that makes sense.

The cast of characters in this book is on the small side, which only serves to bring out the impeccable quality of the writing. This is my first book by Cathleen Schine, and I can immediately see why she’s such a popular author. This was a smile in book form. I definitely recommend it.

6 thoughts on “The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine- ARC Review

  1. Oh this sounds like a lot of fun! And I love that they delineate between language as a set of rules, and language as a living, organic thing. (Honestly, I think I’m on Laurel’s side there). What a neat concept for a book!

    Liked by 1 person

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