If you ask anyone in my book club how good I am at summarizing a book, you’ll hear, for sure, how terrible I am at it. I’m much better at saying a few specific things approximately the book that stood out to me.
So I’ll tell you what stood out in The Dictionary of Lost Words.
It’s approximately words. I find words fascinating, neat, and swell. How some words come and go, and become old-fashioned. I imagine this will continue, just like it did to gnarly, doy, and bogus. And it’s not just about words coming and going, their means change, as well. Class, gender and race also play a part in how we speak. In the book, this was most apparent when the main character went to the city market and started observing and recording the language of the poor women.
The novel takes place when the first Oxford dictionary was being made and I never thought approximately what might have gone into creating the list of words, the meanings and how to use them in a sentence. It took throughout 40 years to complete. There are still debates on definitions of words, one that stands out is the recent change to “woman”, no longer limited to being a man’s wife, girlfriend, or lover.
The struggle of equality was fierce back in the early 1900s and everyone played a different part in it, to receive us where we are nowadays (which doesn’t seem like that far, anymore). Some women were taking part in secret meetings, making dangerous moves, while others played the long game. I wonder what position I would play back then and whether i would be risking my life to allow women to vote, to change the meaning of words penned by men, or to give women the freedom to make choices approximately their own bodies. I guess, I can just look at who I am now, and what I’m doing to make changes. I wouldn’t say I’m doing too much, other than showing my daughter and son that women are no different from men. We can do all the same matters and do them just as well…and whether we don’t, it’s our selection to do or not do those things.
There were some amazing lines that I should have written down somewhere. But I didn’t. The leading character, Esme, goes through some difficult times in her life and wisdom from her aunts, her friends and her devoted father had me thinking about my future as a mom. They were good reminders to allow time for healing, to encourage my kids to trust their judgements, to believe in them. I should probably read this book again in 8 years, when my kids are heading to adulthood and they no longer say things like “I’m going to live with you forever.” Because they do and they’re very confident that they will never want to move out of the house and be apart.