Who wants to read a short review on a beautiful Friday morning? I’m pretty sure it’s you. And I’m equally sure that I’d like to write a short review, since I don’t have much to say about Heavy Words AND I’m currently reading The Canterbury Tales AYEN, which is Middle English for ‘again,’ which is the main problem with Middle English, namely that the words are almost the same and that suckers you into thinking you can just whiz through it. Which you can’t.
Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme – Chris Roberts
SO! HWLT = what nursery rhymes actually mean. Except that no one knows what they actually mean, or even when they first originated and what the earliest forms were. Ergo, HWLT = those websites where people speculate about the meanings of song lyrics and are usually wrong. But funnier, and with better research, and less lolcatzy. U no wat I meen.
And I rullllly wish that there were hard-and-fast answers to questions like Who is Marjorie Daw, and Why are the three mice blind and Why could not Jack Sprat eat fat, poor bastard, but as Mick Jagger so aptly said, You can’t always get what you want. And that’s not Roberts’ fault. He proposes some excellent mebbees and whatifs, but then he wanders off into other things for the rest of the chapter and the chapters are each only a few pages long. There really isn’t room for digression.
And sometimes his jokes are a teeeensy bit reaching, and sometimes I think he’s being intentionally British just so that he’ll have things to put in the British-American glossary in the back, and sometimes I wish there were two of me, and that one of me lurved dusting. And that I was the other one.
The moral of the story is, this is a baby best not thrown out with the bathwater, by which I mean read it because it is short and interesting, but go in with your expectations around your ankles.