Most helpful positive review
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Quite good for building vocabulary, SAT language skills, and snarkiness
on November 30, 2009
As one of the vocabulary workbooks that I used in high school, I pretty much had no choice but to become familiar with this book. However, I enjoyed using this one very much. It contains a nice mix of everyday words, familiar words that one might already know (but might not be too sure of the definition) and words that one may not know but would find useful. It also contains roots, prefixes, and suffixes with explanations and examples. And, as with any vocabulary book, there are exercises to build skills with each of these. Following the vocabulary and roots/prefixes/suffixes exercises are SAT-prep exercises, which include writing prompts, comparing articles, simple analysis of texts, and grammar exercises. These are all pretty helpful and build skills pretty well.
One problem I've found, however, is the sample sentences, paragraphs, and prompts for the vocabulary words. The author of this book must have been either clinically depressed or disturbed, because some of these things are extremely pessimistic, depressing, and (at times) sadistic. Examples include paragraphs about a masochistic, sadistic criminal (as well as the tale of a man's peccadillo); a criticism of an elitist fop who feels that everyone but himself is wrong; a man dying of thirst and starvation in the desert; a single mother who is in a worse situation than Tommy and Gina, about to get evicted from her apartment after losing her job; an essay on how technology is the root of all evil; a woman who isn't at all moved by the death of her husband and immediately turns her affections to his brother; and a man living a bleak, depressing life working in an office (which may be very telling). As you can tell, the characters all live very happy existences. Honestly, I do not believe the author believes life to be anything but pain, sadness, and meaninglessness. I kept waiting for a paragraph glorifying Count Rugen.
However, after each of these paragraphs (fill-ins) is 15 sentence prompts, one for each vocabulary word. I had fun making up witty sentences and trying to match the author's sadism and depression. So that makes up for the star this would've lost.
All-in-all, it's a great book to use for SAT prep or even just learning new words. Now I'm going to find the author and give him a hug. He really seems to need one.