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The Grammarians

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3.60  ·  Rating details ·  5,295 ratings  ·  962 reviews
"The Grammarians" are Laurel and Daphne Wolfe, identical, inseparable redheaded twins who share an obsession with words. They speak a secret “twin” tongue of their own as toddlers; as adults making their way in 1980s Manhattan, their verbal infatuation continues, but this love, which has always bound them together, begins instead to push them apart. Daphne, copy editor and ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Sarah Crichton Books
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Mildy no sex nor violence.
a few swear words.…more
no sex nor violence.
a few swear words.(less)

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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  5,295 ratings  ·  962 reviews


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Debbie
Cuckoo over word play…then a dive to 3.5!

If you’re a word freak, you will probably adore this novel about identical twins who live to play with words! I was jazzed for most of the show, but I was eyeballing the exit as I watched the final act, which was the whole last quarter of the book.

And it’s not just word play, it’s grammar! Twins who love grammar? Are you kidding me? I was in pig heaven (whatever that means). This was an editor’s dream, I tell you! I was thrilled when I heard serious talk
...more
Diane S ☔
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
Twin, n. A couple; a pair;two
Twin, v.t. To part, sever, sunder, deprive of.

And do a matching set of twins are born. Vibrant red hair, a precocious pair, who take to language early and never really stop from it being fascinating. Their closeness even into intimadated their mother, their was scarcely a thought that between them went unshared. What one knew, the other did. They even made of their own language. Words were important, are important and how it is used matter. Lauren and Daphne, one tho
...more
Kathryn Speckels (Metaphors and Miscellanea)
The Grammarians is a tale of sisterhood and a love letter to the English language. Cute, quirky, and highly readable, this book was a good deal of fun, especially for someone as word-obsessed as I am.

The blurb on this book is rather misleading, so I’m providing my own here. As children, Daphne and Laurel—red-haired identical twins—speak to each other in a pidgin language of their own creation, much to the bafflement of those around them. Their greatest delight comes from poring over an old dicti
...more
Kitty Jay
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, giveaways
From the summary, we have what seems to be a rousing set-up for a biting grammatical comedy: "Daphne, copy editor and grammar columnist, devotes herself to preserving the dignity and elegance of Standard English. Laurel, who gives up teaching kindergarten to write poetry, is drawn, instead, to the polymorphous, chameleon nature of the written and spoken word. Their fraying twin-ship finally shreds completely when the sisters go to war, absurdly but passionately, over custody of their most prized ...more
Donna Davis
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, but especially twins and those that love them.
Oh hell yes. This charming little book had me on the first page, and when it was over, I was sorry to be done. Big thanks go to Net Galley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the review copy. This is the first time I have read anything Schine has written, but it cannot possibly be the last. You can buy it now.

We start in the dark; we start behind bars. Happily, it’s because our protagonists are infants, and they’re in a crib. As light streams through the open door, we enter the lives of Daphne an
...more
JimZ
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time thinking about how to review this book. It was only 2.5 -3 stars for me. And I know I will once again run up against positive reviews. I know this because I only picked out this book because I subscribe to the New York Review of Books (NYRB) and Alan Hollinghurst over the course of two pages gave it a very good review. So I wanted to read it. I went into reading the book with a positive bias.

This novel is about two identical twins, Laurel and Daphne, who from their birth are ob
...more
Jackie
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It’s a decent book, easy to read. But it’s falsely advertised. The story makes it seem like most of the book deals with this fight between the two sisters when about 2/3rd deals with them growing up and just naturally drifting apart... the ending was a bit unrealistic as well... if it had been advertised better I’d have given it 4 stars. It’s more about twins who lose sight of the other
Stephanie
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I received this ARC in a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

“The Grammarians” follows the lives of precocious twin girls who share the “special bond” characteristic of identical siblings, which for them is a shared secret language. This broadens to a mutual romance with words, fueled by their father’s purchase of a massive English dictionary. The tome, perched on a wooden stand, is given pride of place, where the girls obsessively pore over it.

As adults, there is no juicy compet
...more
Robert Blumenthal
Words to describe this novel: delightful, clever, witty, intelligent, droll, and, finally, moving. I have been a fan of Cathleen Schine for some time now, starting with her Rameau's Niece from the early 1990s. The Grammarians is like a finely aged wine, written by a skilled novelist at the height of her craft. It is a novel of twins trying to find their independence as well as how we humans use language.

Daphne and Laurel are very precocious twins growing up in Westchester, NY. They become obsess
...more
Kasa Cotugno
I had a problem getting into this, and it didn't work for me.
Geonn Cannon
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lot of the lesser reviews of this book mention its summary was misleading, or wrong. They claim it isn't about sisters who have a rift, instead it's a story about sisters and how they eventually grow apart. The separation isn't the focus, the focus is the relationship that was lost. This was a beautiful, funny story about a realistic relationship between two sisters and their lives together and their lives apart. It's likely going to be one of my favorite books of the year. If you like stories ...more
Aria
Jul 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ---- Dnf at ~ p. 85, b/c it just wasn't interesting. That's really about all I can say about it. I'm into words & odd characters, but unfortunately nothing here clicked for me. Don't even have suggestions for how to make it better, as there's not anything in particular that I noticed wasn't working. The whole thing just fell flat, so I'm moving on. ...more
Joe Oser
Sep 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bandit
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve had a very mixed experience with the author thus far. I’ve discovered her while reading her latest(prior to this) book, which was an absolutely lovely introduction, but it didn’t hold extend to her earlier work. Seems to me that she’s improved tremendously over the years and now her talent really shines when it comes to a very specific sort of subtly humorous New York stories. This is one such story about two redheaded twin sisters united and later divided by their love, no, more like arden ...more
Faith
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio, overdrive, dnf
Women's fiction. Mild family drama. Did not match blurb.
Andrea
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. I really wanted to like this book but mostly I admired it. Clever. But it didn't pick up for me until about 50% through. That said, I v. much liked the second half and even more so, the ending [though it was a tad rushed]. I found it uneven--as I do Cathleen Schine's work.
Toni
Nov 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This started out really good but couldn’t hold my interest throughout. Felt like a chore to finish. Disappointed because I had high hopes for this book. Oh well, la dee dah, la dee dah.
Joy Clark
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, netgalley-arc
2.5 stars - Twins that love words. What's not to love? I really wanted to enjoy this one more than I did. It was decent but not at all what I was expecting. The language part of the book (you would think it would be the major part, given the title) was really a background troupe. It didn't fully fit with the rest of the story, and the big fight as advertised in the summary was only a very small part of the book. I enjoyed the exploration of sisterhood and the grammatical/wordy fun, I was just un ...more
Aaron Broadwell
Something about this book didn't quite break through for me. I think the narration never let me identify fully with the characters, and their adult alienation from each other didn't seem to be very well motivated.

From a structural point of view, I liked the idea of rival twins, who begin united by language and latter split due to language. I also liked the dictionary definitions that start each chapter.

But the loves, hates, and passions of the book didn't seem to me like the passions of real peo
...more
Martha
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued by the reviews and the blurbs promoting this as a witty book, filled with word play. It is actually a pretty dull story about a set of twins growing up and apart. So dull I couldn't be bothered finishing it.
Heather Fineisen
A quirky bit of charming. The story of identical twin sisters follows them through life. Revolving around language and the love of words in both careers and personal lives. The twins discover what it is to come together and apart.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
Jaclyn Crupi
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 There’s so much here for grammar nerds to relish in but I’m not sure others will enjoy that aspect as much as I did. The word-play is delicious and clever but the book still has a beautiful beating heart and shows us what love can look like. Truly delightful.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/
'There was something wayward in the twins’ relationship now, a devious shift Sally sensed but could not catch in the act.'

Much like their father Arthur and his brother Don ‘were like trees that had been planted too near each other”, redheaded, identical twins Laurel and Daphne Wolfe have a bond that begins with a secret shared language until even their love of words pushes them apart and the relationship feels like a confinement. As in all sibli
...more
Ann-Marie
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a book hits you where you live, and you don't even realize it is speaking to you until the last line. "The Grammarians" did this to me. I just finished it. I am shaking and my eyes are leaking.
As this is an ARC I cannot quote the last line, but it gives me hope, in this time of broken relationships in my own family, relationships which have broken for such a stupid reason, the one which has divided our whole country.
This is not what causes the sisters in "The Grammarians" to break wit
...more
Karen Brown
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved reading this delightful story of Laurel and Daphne, and you will too!
Terris
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this story of identical twin sisters who were obsessed with the world of words and grammar. I like the writing style, the character descriptions, the setting. However....I felt that it might have been a little short (I hesitate to say weak) on story. It could possibly have had a little more "punch/oomph" of some sort. Also, I wouldn't have minded a little more of the words and grammar part, although there was a decent amount of that.

I don't mean to talk this one down. You see I gave it
...more
Wendy
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love words and was looking forward to reading this book about word-obsessed twins. It was good, but it wasn't great. The pacing of the story was uneven and I intermittently lost interest. Then things would pick up and it was good again. Suddenly it was over. This book about Grammarians could have used a better editor. Very cute premise, tho.
Joshua (ithildins)
May 24, 2019 marked it as five-more-minutes-wait-listed
A book about the love of grammar - sign me up, please! I need this like I need air. GR giveaway, don't fail me now!

Also, I want to put my name in the hat for a copy of that dictionary, thank you very much.
Annelisa O’Neal
This book was solidly 2 stars... until the last two pages. The (rather sentimental) parallelism between beginning and end warranted the third star. Overall, I was extremely disappointed with Schine’s character development. A big let down.
Margie Dewind
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I enjoyed the discussion of words, but the story on which the author hung the words was not compelling. I didn't feel anything for or about the characters.
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Play Book Tag: The Grammarians, by Cathleen Schine; 2 Stars 5 18 Nov 13, 2019 05:21AM  

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Cathleen Schine is the author of The New Yorkers, The Love Letter, and The Three Weissmanns of Westport among other novels. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review.

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