Tom MacWright

tom@macwright.org

I read Spunk and Bite by Arthur Plotnik on

Review

This book came out right after the critically-acclaimed Eats, Shoots, & Leaves, which I felt iffy about. I care about grammar, spelling, and style, but Truss’s correctness-centered approach in Eats didn’t agree with me. Her open judgment of all aberrations of the written word, of misplaced apostrophes, rings elitist. And even for those who are ‘in the know’ and were lucky enough to have good parents, education, and/or luck, a laser focus on correct use of the Oxford comma usually takes priority over writing with clarity and personality.

I liked Spunk and Bite better. Sure, it slaps a few wrists and identifies a few common mistakes, but it also identifies underused resources (like reverse dictionaries), includes examples of great writing, and generally has an air of levity that’s so absent in disciplinarian texts. It helped me to identify what the author was doing in books like Priestdaddy and hopefully helps me incorporate both taste and flavor into my writing.

Details

  • Spunk and Bite by
  • ISBN: 0375721150 (look up with WorldCat or Open Library)
  • Published:
  • Publisher: Random House