Review: It was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences

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It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of SentencesIt Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences by June Casagrande My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was expecting something different from this book. The back of book blurbs used phrases like "wickedly funny" and "you'll laugh all the way to writing better" (the former is a sentence, I know,) so I was expecting a light, new and easily absorbed, for even the uninitiated, take on the art of the sentence. "It was the best..." is lighter than Strunk and White, certainly, and the sentences that Casagrande corrects in order to instruct were, occasionally so bad they were amusing but it wasn't laugh out loud funny (like, for example, "How Not to Write a Novel" by Mittelmark and Newman.)

I was excited by the first chapter, in which Casagrande declared, "Thy Reader, Thy God," I looked forward to her showing us how good grammar helps us to serve the reader and she did do so but not in any particularly new way, nor in a way which would help those who didn't already have a good deal of traditional grammar under their belts. Despite the 'cheekiness' of using "actual sentences" from actual pieces Casagrande has edited, albeit disguised, her adherence to an essentially traditional method of teaching grammar results in a heavy treatment of the subject.

If you have the traditional grammar background, there is no doubt that there is much to learn from this book, but it doesn't meet the purpose I was hoping it would fulfil: a book I can recommend to those without the traditional grammar background, but with an almost religious belief that grammar is unnecessary.

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