Saturday, October 18, 2014

Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck by Amy Alkon | Book Review

(I can't say I hate this cover.  It's kind of subtle, in a way.  You're all "look, a manners book!  'Good Manner for Nice People.'"  Then WHAM you get to the bottom line, "Who Sometimes Say F*ck."  Gotcha.)

My mom sometimes reads my book reviews.  Mom, if you're reading this: please don't be offended with this book title!  :)

Bad news first:  I only give this book 2 of 5 stars.  There were a few gems of wisdom within, but there were a lot more times where I thought to myself, "this woman is absolutely insane.  She's going to mess with the wrong person someday and get skivved in an alley."  

I'm definitely willing to give the benefit of the doubt.  Ms. Alkon lives in LA.  Perhaps people do need be more exertive out there in order to avoid being walked on.  But I felt that the author took it just a little too far in many cases.  To me, the most appalling anecdote she shared involved some trash left along the street in front of her house.  In the book, she shared a picture of said trash.  It was two plastic grocery bags and a cardboard box, not like 15 lawn bags of yard waste.  She dug through the bags of trash to find mail with a name and address and tracked down the person.  This person was a well-to-do doctor from another country who had been staying with a friend in a neighboring wealthy subdivision.  (She goes farther into all the research she did for this case in the book.)  She proceeded to mail the trash to the other country with a passive-aggressive note about trash-dumping.  That was a lot of trouble to go through, for something that may not have even been their fault.  Couldn't the trash have been jostled out of the back of a passing garbage truck?

She's also a fan of online shaming of people that she feels violate the code of civility.  She proudly shares a copy of a flyer in her book that she made and posted around her neighborhood.  The centerpiece of the flyer?  A photograph of a man relieving himself.  Yes, he shouldn't be doing that in a neighborhood.  But I also think she probably shouldn't be posting that picture all over town.

Now to the positive, because there were a few things in the book I agreed with and I don't want to be 100% negative in my review.  First, with inconsiderate cell phone users.  When you're stuck somewhere with a loud cell phone talker (or someone who is using speakerphone on their cell phone in public), she advises that you start politely with, "You may not know this, but you are speaking a little loudly.  Didn't know if you might want to keep your call a little more private."  Or "You may not know this, but this place actually frowns on cell phone use.  Just wanted to give you a heads up before an employee comes by."  I like that, and can get behind it.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt and giving them the chance to correct themselves without shame.

I also actually found her advice on how to be a friend/relative to someone who is seriously ill to be pretty sound.  She repeatedly makes note that not everyone is the same and different things might work better for one person than another.  But she does give good advice on what to say (and not say), and give examples of what worked for her and her friends when they lost a good friend a few years ago.

Aside from the examples above, Ms. Alkon also goes on rants against underparented children and airplane courtesy and dating.  Not an unbearable book, but I'd recommend taking her advice with a grain of salt.

*I checked out my copy of Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck from my local library.

**Also!!  Check out Tynga's Revies today!  I'm hosting their Stacking the Shelves meme.**

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