Now only use four letter words… is how the song Anything Goes speaks about modern authors, mid 20th Century.
Not so about Sheridan Hay.
I am currently reading Sheridan’s book, The Secret of Lost Things. It is an introspective novel about a 15 year-old Tasmanian native transplanted from her antipode island to the smaller island of Manhattan. There she begins work in a Dickensian bookstore located in the Madison Square-Union Square area of the island.
Each of the characters is fully developed enough to fit their place in the story. But, though it may seem like one, this is not a book review. Good Book-Read it! There, that’s the review.
What it is about is my vocabularic shame. In my youth I developed the habit of writing words I didn’t know in the fly. Then, unless the word was critical to the understanding of the story, I would, at the end of the day, go to the dictionary and learn the word.
Now we have The Kindle. Each time a word appears that stops me short, and in this book it happens all too often, I use the Kindle’s instant dictionary referral tool. It can honestly be said, I will probably never use any of the words I have looked up in my Vulgate speech, but, I will in Scrabble. I learned early in life to take Kipling’s words in his poem If, “…nor talk too wise.” to heart.
What pleases me most is each of these words exactly fits their meaning as used in the sentence and the story. Where it throws me, is are these the words a barely educated girl from a small village in Tasmania would use? Have you every held a conversation with an Australian? They do tend toward the saltier, more colorful side of the English Language.
Again, The Secret of Lost Things, by Sheridan Hay