Eats, Shoots & Leaves, is an engaging and inspiring conversation that not only shares a comical story of a panda, whom Eats, Shoots & Leaves his chosen dining establishment, but also extends its reach beyond the call of duty; exciting the reader about punctuation and language control. Admittedly, the author’s (Lynne Truss) projection of her personality irritated me to a substantial degree in the early stages of the book, however an inflection point was soon reached, after which, her words read like a warm and interesting conversation with a friend.
For the technical and hasty among us: note that the substance of this publication may be refactored into a 2-page cheat-sheet of its core ideals, or at the very least – a colourful poster; although doing so would drop much of the guilty pleasure hidden in Rolf Harris references, and Lynne’s subtle, yet aggressive (and obviously present) attitude, towards clear communication – and sharing this joy with her readers. At the very least, reading an intelligent and thoughtful decomposition of the tools with which we communicate every day, has provided a warm validation of many of my English-axioms, whilst correcting my ignorance of the importance of many of these utilities.
My English arguably leaves a lot to be desired, as identified in the past by many of my high school reports. In fact, the years since I discovered my joy for reading can be easily expressed with my collection of fingers (which for the record, only consists of fingers attached to my hands in a permanent fashion, and counted in base-10 of course). Many of the rewards I have reaped since consuming Eats, Shoots & Leaves include:
- Correcting my use of the apostrophe in cases of ownership concerning possessive pronouns.
- An appreciation for the diversity and magnitude of the scenarios the comma can perform in.
- Termination of my irrational guilt of overusing the semicolon.
- An awareness of the interrobang.
- An understanding of what “[sic]” is intended to convey.
Most surprisingly, the most unexpected outcome I met, was respect for many American implementations of punctuation. I suppose the USA hasn’t even embraced the use of the Metric system however, let alone the idiosyncratic language challenges facing modern-day English, so this may not be long lived. Irrespectively, this concise summarisation of an incredibly complex and ambiguous topic, is an affordable and essential avenue of personal development for anyone who has ever experienced conflict while using punctuation. I intend to re-read it again as my passion attenuates, and I have no reservations in recommending this fantastic book to others.
PS. ‘Punctuation Repair Kit’ contained within.