Lynne Truss, the author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, writes in a way that gets to me on a deep, instinctual level. The nitpicking pedantry, the sense that the world is terribly wrong (and I am right), and the uppity British humour, are all things that resonate with me and my core sensibilities.
Nevermind my enlightenment after David Crystal slammed “Trussians” for being ignorant in their intolerance of incorrect punctuation; as soon as I picked up Talk to the Hand, I was immediately back to my old ways again, nodding vehemently in agreement when Truss writes:
I now can’t abide many, many things, and am actually always on the look-out for more things to find completely unacceptable. Whenever I hear of someone being “gluten intolerant” or “lactose intolerant”, for example, I feel I’ve been missing out. I want to be gluten intolerant too. I mean, how much longer do we have to put up with that gluten crap?
This isn’t a book about etiquette. As Truss says, the time for those has long gone due to the prevalence of moral relativism. Instead, she provides “six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door.”
It’s a funny read if you like this sort of thing. She litters the chapters with many observations and amusing anecdotes from her own life, and selections from some old tomes on etiquette, which really highlight the difference between how the way things are now and how they used to be. There are some very pointed barbs directed at the British, causing me to wonder if Lynne might have an American twin sister who could please kindly write the American version of this book…