Sunday, 30 January 2011

Watching the English by Kate Fox

Subtitled 'The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour' this book purports to tell us why we are like we are -if you're English that is, sorry I shouldn't have assumed that. We do apologise a lot, something to do with our social dis-ease and hypocrisy -see, it's true, I wasn't really sorry.

The main fun that comes from the book is compare your own behaviour -and that of your friends, significant others and work colleagues with the behavioral rules laid out in the book. Kate has cunningly played to the English preoccupation with class by giving codes of behaviour for the various classes under each section. The other half lets herself down with a liking for napkin rings and coasters.

She also attempts to put us into context by comparing us to other  nations, for instance picking on our dislike (unless we're from Yorkshire -but the north is another country) of talking about money and our ubiquitous use of humour.

The book is engagingly and amusingly written, but the style can pall and one can get fed up with being called a hypocrite and social autistic, so it is probably best kept as a 'toilet book' -oops 'lavatory book' my lower-middle class slip is showing.

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