Saturday, November 21, 2015

Confessions of a Comma Queen
Mary Norris

     The first word that comes to mind when describing first-time author Mary Norris's homage to punctuation is FUN.  You weren't expecting the word fun, were you?  Perhaps you were thinking more along the lines of dry or bland or mundane.  Between You & Me is none of those things.  I can honestly say that I laughed out-loud many times while reading Mary's chapters, such as "Comma Comma Comma Comma, Chameleon" or "Spelling is for Weirdos."  Whether it was her sharp humor or her dead-on "this drives me crazy so it must drive you crazy" list of punctuation faux pas, Mary's words made me chuckle, guffaw and shout "Yes!" 
     I actually may have found a kindred spirit in Mary Norris.  Who else worships the lowly pencil as an editing tool in this age of high tech? Who else appreciates the finely wrought beauty of a well  placed cuss word?  And who else would ponder a comma, a colon, a semicolon and, gasp - a hyphen with such delight?  I would.  And many of my friends would, too.   
      Mary Norris includes a wonderful appendix at the end of Between You & Me entitled "Some Books I Have Found Particularly Helpful."  And many of her suggested titles already inhabit my own bookshelves.  As if that were not enough, upon reading her chapter "Ballad of a Pencil Junkie," I immediately ordered a set of Palomino Blackwing pencils on-line, at two in the morning, by the light of my I-Phone.  I get a thrill each time I think of the Palomino's lovely soft lead and the smooth, square eraser attached firmly to one end. (Preventing pesky rolls off the table edge.)  Oh my goodness!  I've just realized something.  I am Mary Norris's doppelganger.  Yes, as Emily Bronte's Catherine Earnshaw said, "I am Heathcliff!"   Confessions of a Comma Queen will never be far from my elbow!