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The Grammarians

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  711 ratings  ·  205 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
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Expected publication: November 5th 2019 by Macmillan Audio (first published September 3rd 2019)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  711 ratings  ·  205 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 a
Kathryn Speckels
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
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 dictionary th
Kitty Jay
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kasa Cotugno
I had a problem getting into this, and it didn't work for me.
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
Geonn Cannon
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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,
Karen Brown
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved reading this delightful story of Laurel and Daphne, and you will too!
Jul 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Joshua (ithildins)
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.
Public Service Announcement: Cathleen Schine is one of my favorite authors. Goodreads brag: I was the first person to borrow her latest book from my local library.

The protagonists of this novel are identical twin sisters, Laurel and Daphne Wolfe, who developed a secret language to communicate with one another from their earliest months and continued to use this language well into adulthood to cement their connection and sometimes, just to play with adults. Twin speak, twin brea
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's well written and I love the quirky fascination with words and even the debate about descriptivist or proscriptive grammar and how the two girls' personalities changed over time. I was absorbed by the characters enough to make it a good read, but the plot points felt a bit weak and the story was not all that memorable.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC copy via a Goodreads giveaway: 3.5/5 stars. Biting and laugh-out-loud funny, though the ending felt a bit rushed.
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, and it was off to a good start. What could be more charming than identical twin girls with a penchant for word play? Their devotion to each other as they developed language ability, perplexing their adult relatives, was adorable. But as they grew into adults they were not adorable, but pretty darn annoying.
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Grammarians is the story of identical twins, Laurel and Daphne, who are both obsessed with words; they even speak their own language to each other which frustrates their mom to no end.

I really enjoyed this quick, easy to read story as it followed Laurel and Daphne from newborns to the end of their lives. Laurel and Daphne's lives revolve around words but when words take them on different paths, can they find their way back to each other? You'll have to read this story to find out, and you,
Nancy Shields
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have no idea about my true feelings on this book. It has such a strange premise. I’m dorky enough to really enjoy it but at the same time, I’m not sure if I did. Four stars for oddness. And once I got into It, I couldn’t put it down. It is basically the story of twin sisters, their life-long love of words, and the ins and outs of their loving relationship. It is certainly character driven. Very little really happens. Not for everyone.
Kathleen Gray
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I suspect this is going to be one of those love it or hate it literary novels that deserves a larger readership than it will get and might be put down early on by those who read the promotional material and expected something other than what it is. What it is is a very interesting, to me, story about a pair of twins- Daphne and Laurel- who worship language. It's told in the third person from a variety of perspectives, not only theirs but also that of their mother, their love interests, etc. This ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest opinion. This will be available on September third.

Isn’t it funny how words can both simplify and add complexity, often simultaneously? This book was one of those rare stories where little happens, but in such an all-encompassing way that when you read the final sentence, you feel like you’ve experienced something profound.

Laurel and Daphne are identical twins. They’ve always been
Crystal Zavala
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways

I won The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine from Goodreads!
I loved The Grammarians! The Grammarians is about identical twins, Laurel and Daphne. The book follows them from toddlerhood in the 70's through the passing of their parents. As toddlers, the twins create their own language to communicate with each other. At the age of 5, their father brings home a Miriam Webster dictionary and the girls become enamored with words and their meanings. In adulthood the twins grow apart and a rift forms.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Well put together story about identical twins born in the late 1950's who love words and develop differing views on language. They eventually take the two sides of the argument about whether the rules a society develops concerning language override how people are actually using it. Are standards necessary and are they acceptable?
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I recommend this book to people who are interested in language and enjoy a good stor
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Funny and moving. This felt like a near-perfectly edited novel: it had exactly the right amount in it.

The book follows language-obsessed twin sisters as they go from kids creeping out their parents with an uncanny facility with wordplay (and a dictionary that gets treated like the family pet) to living hyper-connected adult lives until differing priorities make them drift apart. The sibling rivalry between the girls' father and his brother is also spot-on and affecting.
Daniel Aken
If there is a common theme uniting Cathleen Schine’s incredibly varied body of work, it is family. Throughout her career, Schine has explored a multitude of groupings and personalities that are encompassed by the term family, and in her 11th novel, The Grammarians, she explores yet another intriguing combination of characters who share the same last name, but a diversity of traits and mannerisms. She intertwines her narrative with a fascinating discussion of words and language, an obsession shar ...more
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love words, and I love stories about female friendship, especially this kind, where each friend looks to the other as a mirror, to help her figure out who she is, and as a window, to help her figure out what the world is. These two are twins, and they're both the kind of child who makes friends with a dictionary and tries to take it to bed in order to have someone to talk to.
In school, both Laurel and Daphne often had to clarify that they were themselves and not their sister. "No," they woul/>
Lolly K Dandeneau
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via my blog:
'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 sibling relationships, there
Matt Fitz
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book for bibliophiles and verbivores!

The book cover intrigued me enough to read the jacket. And the intrigue continued. This is the life story of two identical red-head twins (Laurel and Daphne) with all the standard notions of twins, such as twin-speak and indistinguishable characteristics and behaviors as they grow up in their own mutually shared orbit. What really binds them together is their love for words and how words are conveyed.

The story becomes crafty as
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
There's the cutest picture on the cover of two young girls with adorable matching outfits and brown hair. The twins in our story have flaming red hair. In fact, it's their trademark, their distinguishing feature, their claim to fame. Is it asking too much that the person who made the book cover actually reads the book?

It's an engaging story if you like grammar rules and dissecting words, which I do. The characters are all witty and their conversations are more like a script than actu
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have a stack of unread issues of The New Yorker somewhere in your living room, there's a good chance you'll enjoy this book. "The Grammarians" tells the story of twin redheaded sisters who grow up obsessed with words and language. As they grow up, they are like magnets: sometimes clicking together and occasionally repelling each other with unusual strength. Novelist Cathleen Schine makes occasionally profound observations about grammar and why people care about it. It's a Jew-ish book, wi ...more
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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.
“Why does ignorance make you feel superior, Daphne? Laurel thinks.” 0 likes
“Copyediting is helping the words survive the misconceptions of their authors.” 0 likes
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