A journalist's brilliant, touching and
hilarious journey through the dictionary and life
September 2010/ ISBN 0615377726
Nonfiction/ Humor / Life /Social
by Willie Elliott
In The Words That Shaped Me author and journalist Aliza
Davidovit takes the reader through the dictionary, but she only
uses the dictionary as a means of presenting all kinds of writing
on all kinds of subjects. A reader looking to improve his vocabulary
will be better served by another book, but it is doubtful the reader
will find such a wide range of serious and humorous writing in such
a book. That's not to say the reader won't learn several new words
but that was not the author's purpose and should not be the reader's.
The book contains a lot of material that certainly could be labeled
memoir but it has so much more. Much is made of her Jewish religion
and the humorous and sad things that were caused by being a Jew.
Then there are those writings that defy labeling—except to
It seems that the author had a plan—a writing plan to get
the writing finished: she would write the section of the book that
went with a certain letter and this kept her on track. The fact
that she decided to omit a whole letter suggests that she may have
gotten behind in simply said she didn't like words that started
with that letter.
Each letter leaves the reader with something to think about, wonder
about, or laugh about. One wonders what the reader missed in that
missing letter that never gotten written about.