Top positive review
19 people found this helpful
One adored it
on 27 February 2014
I received this from Library Thing's Early Reviewers in return for a review.
I love it. It managed to be both extremely funny, informative and USEFUL, unlike many other guides to manners which are just excuses to make class jokes.
The tone of the book is witty and scolding, it makes no apologies for the fact that
'If you eat your toast incorrectly when you are a house guest in a U [Upper Class] household, you will not be invited back'
This is tempered with lots of interesting historical explanations as to why things are Done the way they are (my mind was blown by why spoons should not be placed at the top of the place setting, I won't spoil it for you though I see another reviewer already has!)
I must admit that I skipped the long list of explanations of different dress codes but it's comforting to know that they are there because if ever I am called upon to attend an event in Morning Dress I will be referring back to it (no straw hats before Easter!). The beauty is you can (and I will) use this stuff and it reminds us that most etiquette is just based around good manners. Strict rules of etiquette are seen as 'stuffy' or comic these days but as this tongue in cheek guide shows they are really all about social signals designed so that no-one is discomforted or embarrassed, ensuring that one exercises restraint in eating and drinking and making sure no-one catches their death through wearing inadequate clothing.
Two things that I learnt of particular interest to me
1) Primogeniture was never observed in the county of Kent (I originating from Kent)
2) British rail is now called Network Rail (as the book was pointing out that upper class people continue to call things by their previous names this suggests that I can skip a bit of homework)