Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Book Review: 'That Should Be a Word' by Lizzie Skurnick

Lizzie Skurnick's "That Should Be a Word" is an intriguing and droll lexicon of over two hundred and fifty neologisms. This imaginative and satirical book is an entertaining commentary on human foibles and modern times. For example, how many college grads desperately accept a "povertunity," a job with more status than salary? Is your partner "stardy," someone who habitually starts out late for appointments, driving you to lie about when a scheduled event begins? Are there people you "loave"— love and loathe? Here's some good news for single expectant moms: When nosy acquaintances ask about the father of your baby, tell them you're "indiepregnant." Is someone infuriating you, but you're not sure if you should respond in kind? You may be in a state of "doubtrage."

Adding to the charm of this whimsical and pun-filled dictionary are Janne Iivonen's minimalist illustrations; sentences that capture the essence of each word; and eye-catching graphics. The entries touch on a variety of topics, including love, parenting, pretentious yuppies, pompous bores, foodies, and our ridiculous obsession with electronic devices (a "plabor" checks her emails incessantly while she is supposedly on vacation). This quirky and inventive work of non-fiction offers a fresh and canny perspective on the pleasure and pain of contemporary living.

Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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