For a book on grammar that runs to 400 pages, actual advice is fairly scanty. Many of Jovin’s 49 chapters squeeze considerable mileage out of relatively minor points: past vs. passed; than vs. then; affect vs. effect...Jovin has written usage manuals, but with its folksy, peripatetic arrangement, 'Rebel With a Clause' isn’t quite one of them...Strong on charm, then, but without enough of either prescription or reflection, the 'Grammar Table' finds itself falling between two (grammar) stools.
Jovin, the author of several books on writing and grammar, describes her experiences traveling across the country answering the public’s questions about language use...In 49 lively chapters, she recounts her conversations on punctuation, conjugation, spelling, pronunciation, and contentious word choices while offering sage and sensible advice on common areas of confusion...She writes about passersby who air their grievances about the misuse of apostrophes, and she offers jaunty but exceptionally clear illustrations of their appropriate deployment. Individual chapters cover some familiar problem areas—affect and effect, lie and lay, whoever and whomever—along with broader reflections on the evolution of verbal conventions in the digital age and the significance of a respect for language itself...Jovin’s charm as an explainer of sometimes-esoteric rules and as a defender of common sense and clarity in communication is a major strength of this book...Many of the chapters describe people venting about others’ grammatical lapses, and Jovin positions herself, convincingly, as not just a linguistic, but an emotional counselor, fostering healthy communication rather than judgement...The invitation she poses in her introduction—'Now, please lie down on a nice couch with this book and let’s have some grammar therapy'—is well worth accepting.
Jovin, cofounder of a communication training firm, documents in this zippy account her trip across America with a pop-up grammar advice table...Her endeavor was a success, and soon she took the show on the road across 47 states...Whether she’s discussing Oxford commas or contractions, Jovin uses a combination of intuition and established guidelines to demonstrate that there’s almost always more than one correct answer to questions of communication...Along the way, she shares funny anecdotes about the interactions at her booth and how it functioned as an outlet for individuals to passionately express their points of view...Jovin’s emphasis is always on fun—chapters have silly titles, and stick-figure drawings illustrate the concepts...The result reads less like a how-to guide and more like a usage-centered memoir.