Book Review: The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time

From the first page, I applauded Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson’s cross-country trek on their noble mission of restoring proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar. I encounter such public gaffes far too often and embarrass myself by gesturing and shouting at guilty billboards on the highway. I yell at the television when captions flash across the screen containing misspelled words and misplaced apostrophes. So when I heard that these two gentlemen took up arms in the form of a Typo Correction Kit and headed out to right these pervasive grammatical wrongs, I couldn’t wait to read their story.

Jeff and Benjamin did not disappoint. Not only is their grammar, syntax, spelling, and punctuation flawless (as one would expect), their humorous storytelling is filled with informative, historical tidbits regarding the English language. One of my favorites concerns the battle between language Prescriptivists and Descriptivists, whom Jeff dubs Grammar Hawks and Grammar Hippies respectively, which dates back to the late twelfth century and continues to this day.

Jeff and Benjamin then go on to provide a solution to our nation’s slide into orthographic apathy by giving us an inside look at Direct Instruction, a highly effective yet too-little-implemented teaching model used in conjunction with phonics-based reading instruction. Priceless!

But never did I anticipate that our heroes’ noble mission would be met with antagonism, outright hostility, even run-ins with the law. Who would have thought that a brief, relaxing visit to the Grand Canyon (which included only some minor typo corrections) would turn into a legal nightmare?

This chronicle of Jeff and Benjamin’s illustrious journey was the next best thing to riding shotgun. For all word nerds and lovers of the English language–maybe even (or especially) for those who aren’t–The Great Typo Hunt is a gotta-read.

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