“Good Manners for Nice People who Sometimes Say F*ck” authored by Amy Alkon
I was really excited about this book primarily because of the title- and the fact that a friend of mine at the time raved about it. I picked it up expecting it to be a more modern and comprehensive guide to etiquette and manners without the stuffiness of old materials. Unfortunately that was not what I actually found within the pages.
The book started off well enough. It was well sourced, and a lot of the material appears to be backed up with some interesting psychology, biology, and other information well rooted in scientific study and understanding. I like that the author went out of their way to actually explain the ideology behind their conclusions.
Ultimately, though, I had so many problems with it that I DNF’d the book after only a few chapters, then skim read the rest of it.
The first reason was because. truth be told, at a base level the material was the same rehashed advice that I’ve read in a thousand columns online. There was nothing genuinely unique, riveting, or particularly useful about the book- and much of the information was basic things I already practice in day to day life. In reality I would really consider it more of a guide on common / human decency- which, while it has to do with manners, is not really the same thing at all.
My largest problem, however, is that the author is highly inconsistent in her advice throughout the course of the book. In many areas she flat out gives the reader terrible advice- most of which would have even modern manner and etiquette masters rolling in their graves. Some of the advice especially comes from a place which is outright entitled and even perpetuates victim blaming and shaming. Other advice is downright reprehensible, even for someone who “sometimes says F*ck”.
Overall I generally found her attitude more condescending and superior, and I didn’t appreciate the “humor” she attempted to interject into more than a few areas.