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I liked it - not a dictionary that is difficult to read but a book you can dip into for five minutes or read read for thirty. It missed one of my favourite cliches, but taught me about several new ones. I enjoyed the story of the author spotting the arrival of "not fit for purpose". I will try it out on my three aunts as a Christmas present.
0Comment7 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 December 2008
This is without doubt the absolute ideal Christmas stocking stuffer or present to someone who is difficult to find a present for. It's a sure-fire winner (and beats the daylights out of a tie or some scented soap).The book is both incredibly entertaining and astoundingly informative. It's not a read-from-the-beginning-to-the-end book; it's something you can dip into for a minute here and there and come away fascinated - and wiser. I read bits every day.
It's not put together in dictionary form. Instead Ms. Cresswell has written it as a narrative and it flows quite wonderfully. How on earth she managed to do that is extraordinary, but it works and makes the book exceedingly charming. I promise you won't be disappointed (in spite of a reviewer who was, but then everybody has a bad day now and then and that's not the time to comment on anything, is it?).
Robin Stuart-Kotze
0Comment1 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 July 2008
Someone gave me this as a present and given my love of all that our English language has to offer (I have enjoyed similar books, such as Balderdash and Piffle), I thought this would be a real winner.

How wrong I was.

The entries are repetitive (OK, I understand it's not meant to be like a dictionary, but could the author at least have made it a bit more comprehensive?), and the defintions drone on in a most unimaginative manner. The author professes to know everything about the subject, but the limitations of their knowledge are immediately apparent. And the tone taken in the book is an extremely pretentious one that makes one cringe to read it. The way the author treats you like an idiot is probably the worst element.

It's as though the author decided upon showing off how many "clichés" she knew in the English language, instead of giving us the interesting detail that a true linguist would provide.

Long story short: Don't bother with this if you're looking for a nice reference of clichés. As the other reviewer on here noted, you'd be a lot better off with a collection of such phrases from a respected authority like Oxford - not some nobody, with an over-inflated sense of their own ego. It's long, it's rambling, and it manages those qualities without even offering the joy of detail one expects.

Avoid!
0Comment2 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 November 2007
As one who often engages mouth before brain, I enjoyed this book which will make me think twice before I speak in future. It is full of unexpected information, and the discursive form makes it very readable. You get the impression that the author clearly knows her stuff but also knows how to get it across to the rest of us. It's a good book for dipping into to fill the odd moment.
0Comment8 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 December 2007
I gave this book one star because, although what it has is good, it's brief and vague, and the author makes sweeping assumptions about origins without backing them up or providing sufficient sources. However, as a resourse it is truly terrible. I purchased a book expecting a good resource as well as a good read. This book is neither - it feels like reading a bad dictionary. Try phrases.org - and save yourself a wasted £7.
11 comment5 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 December 2007
Great fun, while authoritative, and scholarly. You can dip in and out, so a perfect book for the train or waiting-room, and as a present for almost anyone curious about our language.
0Comment4 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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