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Never Kiss a Man in a Canoe: Words of Wisdom from the Golden Age of Agony Aunts Hardcover – 6 Nov 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 6 Nov 2009
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Boxtree; Main Market Ed. edition (6 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752226827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752226828
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 340,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'The repackaged 19th-century agony aunt market is one obvious publishing success story: both a comic look at outdated mores from times that are happily gone by, and a reminder of how little has really changed. Tanith Carey's Never Kiss a Girl in a Canoe offers much that is still relevant to today's girl-about-town.' --Independent on Sunday

'Good for a hoot on a girls' night out'
--Sunday Telegraph

Book Description

A collection of the funniest – and most bizarre – agony aunts' advice from the 1850s to the 1960s

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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the first review I've ever written, but I had to write one to let everyone know how ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT this book is! Not only is it really interesting from a social history perpective, it's also completely hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud the whole way through.

My favourite bits of advice have got to be the letter advising a young girl how strangers are pretty much always likely to be evil highwaymen or murderers in disguise, willing to steal her virtue at the first opportunity. Then there's the letter to a woman worried about varicose veins, a bunion and bad breath who's told that her hips are out of alignment and that's what's cassing all three problems. Or the one advising a man who can't swim to throw an egg into the water and propel himself down towards it! It's fascinating reading what people believed was right or wrong in the past, what they thought made someone beautiful or made a boy into a man, or how they believed you could resolve medical problems, and some of the lotions and potions the agony aunts advise would never get past a magazine's health and safety checks nowadays!

This is the funniest and most interesting book I've read in ages, and I've already gone and bought two more copies to give to friends. My whole family sat around the table after lunch on Sunday reading snippets of advice and killing ourselves laughing, and I'm only disappointed that I didn't save it for Christmas Day as it would have been the perfect way to wile away a lazy Christmas afternoon!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
3 star read
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Format: Hardcover
Before Agony Aunts were wise, sympathetic figures, doling out candid advice on relationships, sex, and life, they were formidable matrons who saw themselves as guardians of the moral code. A wife who wrote in despair that her husband was having an affair could expect to be told "chin up, dear, just pretend to be happy. That's what's important". A husband whose wife expected help at home was told she was selfish, foolish, and that if he beat her up or deserted her - while the agony aunt wouldn't like the idea - it would be completely understandable. A wife who was alarmed at her husband's vigour in the bedroom was told to grin and bear it, for he can't help his nature. A young girl who thought herself in love was brusquely told "stuff and nonsense, don't be so ridiculous, and don't write to me again". Mothers were advised to whip one-year-olds and that loving them too much was bad for them. Agony aunts offered advice for a girl's appearance, too. A plump girl could be told that a gentle stroll around a museum was as beneficial as a bracing walk up the Alps and advised to roll around the carpet as if the pounds would be magically whittled away. Soot was thought to whiten the teeth.

And yet, while some of the advice made me laugh, and other advice shocked me a little - some of this advice dates from the 1960s, often thought of as a haven of permissiveness (clearly, no-one told the agony aunts) - some universal truths are illuminated: teenage girls have always fallen in love and found themselves nursing broken hearts, young women have always envied the clothes their friends are wearing, some have always wanted to be actresses, women have always struggled with bad husbands, women have always been plagued by naughty children, widows have always hoped they would find love again.

A sometimes amusing, sometimes sad, often hopeful little book of advice from yesteryear.
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Format: Hardcover
What a brilliant book! Favourite lines include:
'Invest in a good panty girdle'
'Nothing is more efficacious in whitening the teeth than a little soot'
'Reading in bed is a dangerous and odious habit'
'To treat a double chin, wear a chin strap during sleep, which not only prevents the mouth falling open but also keeps the flesh up'
Hours of amusement and an endlessly fascinating look at how times have changed, thankfully!
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Format: Hardcover
Good
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Format: Hardcover
An ideal book to give as a present. Had us all laughing out loud - love the line about 'not wicked Hester, but foolish and weak, dear'... that was in the Daily Mail. Tough love at its best and perfect for christmas cheeriness.
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Format: Hardcover
"Dear Aunty,
Here's my problem. Some of your words of wisdom had me in agony - with laughing too much !

My advice - buy this book !"

SONNYSCRIBBLE
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book on a recommendation. I always like to give the gift of a book to someone who invites me to dinner and this was PERFECT. I had a quick read before I packaged it up and immediately decided to order another copy - for me.
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