And that, girls and boys, is why commas are so important. A recent New York Times short review of best-selling author Ann Patchett’s latest book This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, to coincide with its release in paperback, included a sentence that really grabbed your attention. Patchett, clearly possessing a great sense of humour as well as her writing skill, wrote in to put the record straight.
To the Editor: I was grateful to see my book This is the Story of a Happy Marriage mentioned in Paperback Row (Oct 19). When highlighting a few of the essays in the collection, the review mentions topics ranging from “her stabilising second marriage to her beloved dog” without benefit of comma, thus giving the impression that Sparky and I are hitched. While my love for my dog is deep, he married a dog named Maggie at Parnassus Books last summer as part of a successful fund-raiser for the Nashville Humane Association. I am married to Karl VanDevender. We are all very happy in our respective unions.