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Miss Manners' Basic Training: The Right Thing to Say Hardcover – April 20, 1998
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From Library Journal
Martin points out that "polite conventions have been ignored so long that even kindly disposed people no longer know what they are." Never fear. Martin, a.k.a. Miss Manners, is on hand to supply the appropriate comments for every situation. The art of the polite nuance?how to say "none of your business" or "quit bullying me" with grace?would be lost if it were not for this delightful author's tenth book. Viva Miss Manners! Highly recommended for public libraries.
-?Susan B. Hagloch, Tuscarawas Cty. P.L., New Philadelphia, Ohio
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The conceit of "basic training" --Martin has previously put out books on eating and electronic communication under that boot-camp heading--indicates how far she believes manners have fallen. The culpable trend in conversational manners, her topic here, is the tendency for the etiquette-challenged to emote, to be honest, to be original. Where once one answered the pleasantry, "How are you?" with, "Fine, thank-you," modern custom threatens the inquirer with a soul-baring soliloquy on the interrogatee's exact state of mind. Miss Manners deplores this. She prefers euphemism and conventional phrases, and in this, as in her previous books, she issues rulings in response to letters she receives. The gaffes and embarrassments her correspondents record are entirely avoidable, Miss Manners assures them, if only they would keep a few rules in mind: say every baby is beautiful, confine commiseration to an "I'm so sorry," say no nicely, and don't talk about politics, religion, and grandmother's failing health. Like an interpreter in a foreign country, she even provides the phrase book, in the form of boldface replies to conceal the bold-faced lies that we need in order to extricate ourselves from potential crises. To a friend who is marrying an unsuitable partner, "Congratulations," not "Don't do it!" is the right thing to say. Martin is an amusingly sardonic arbiter, and her manual should be popular. Gilbert Taylor