Book Buzz: I never metaphor I didn’t like Dr. Mardy Grothe Harper Collins, 2008. A review by Bhavana Gopinath


I never metaphor I didn’t like

Dr. Mardy Grothe

Harper Collins, 2008

“An idea is a feat of association, and the heights of it is a good metaphor”

Robert Frost

Dr. Mardy Grothe is a collector of quotations, and the author of Oxymoronica and Viva la Repartee. I never metaphor I didn’t like is an extraordinary collection of examples of figurative language. Dr. Grothe explains the basics of figurative language —analogies, metaphors and similes—and then takes readers through a tour of the English language’s greatest word pictures. The gems in this collection are classified by topics, like Wit & Humor, Life, Insults & Criticism, The Literary Life, etc.

There are examples from writers, (“A friend is a present you give yourself”: Robert Louis Stevenson), philosophers (“It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken”: Aristotle), poets (“Love is a fan club with only two fans”: Adrian Henri), playwrights (“Children are the anchor that hold a mother to life”: Sophocles), and many others. Some astounded me, some dogged me for days, while others made me laugh out loud.

Dr. Grothe’s compilation grew from a period of uncertainty and doubt in his youth. He began a program of intense reading and reflection to help him find his place in the world. He would jot down observations from writers on index cards, and tack them on the walls of his room. These words re-inspired him. This book was borne out of those index cards, and as I read it, I began to understand how these metaphors could guide, illuminate, and heal.

As Kafka said, “A book should serve as an ice-axe to break the frozen sea within us.”

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