‘The Grammarians’ by Cathleen Schine chronicles the lives of identical twin sisters, Daphne and Laurel Wolfe, and their love of words. As twins and sisters, they speak to each other in their own creative language, which causes havoc and even some fun times with everyone else around them as they grow up. Their father gave them an old dictionary when they were young, which only ignited their love of words more. They scour the dictionary looking for words and definitions to interesting and unusual words that they use daily based on their current life situations. Their story of words continues from their childhood, through their school days, well into their adult lives and their chosen careers. The story takes us into the depths of their feelings of being one with their twin, as well as difficulties experienced as an individual person involved in their own personal relationships. A world of words can create hard times within relationships. While they work through those difficult times together or apart; the one thing that remains constant is their love of words and languages.
The story sounds typical, however, where the book excels is in its writing style and use of language. The author includes a lot of wry humor, which fits the story of two sisters who thrive on words and wordplay. Of course, there is an educational side to the story as well, providing words and definitions of some obscure, archaic words to help the reader boost their own vocabulary. It will also give you a better understanding of the dictionary and its true purpose. If you are a lover of words, obscure or not, and enjoy stories of mischievous sibling adventures, you will enjoy reading ‘The Grammarians’.