Thursday, March 04, 2010

Non-Fiction: I See Rude People by Amy Alkon

Hannibal Lecter would have loved Amy Alkon. Actually, upon consideration, they might have adored each other. Where Thomas Harris’ notorious fictional Hannibal the Cannibal only ate the rude, Alkon stands up to them with the sort of glorious panache that sometimes makes you want to stand and cheer.

I See Rude People (McGraw Hill) is a kind of post-modern Miss Manners or rather, as the subtitle tells us, “One woman’s battle to beat some manners into impolite society.”

This is a seriously great book. Alkon is smart and savvy and funny as hell. And though, given the opportunity (and it’s her book, so she’s given lots) she plays for the laughs, there are times when she comes perilously close to describing the ways in which our society is breaking down.
If it isn’t fear of bodily injury that keeps people from speaking up, it’s probably fear of verbal confrontation, or maybe they’re just not that practiced at it. I’m a syndicated advice columnist with somewhat controversial views, so I regularly get mail from readers that opens with something like “Dear Bitch.”
There’s a clean, forthright and completely unexpected charm in I See Rude People. Everyone should read it for their mental health. And though it’s well written and excruciatingly funny, I suspect not everyone will laugh.

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Anonymous Amy Alkon said...

David, thank you so, so much for your kind words, and for posting this review of my book. Much-appreciated!

Friday, March 19, 2010 at 10:10:00 AM PDT  

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