Review: Talk to the Hand

As I mentioned in an earlier article “Talk to the Hand” was an instinctive pick as I haven’t heard about the book from anyone. ThImagee title was impressive and the brief mentioned on the jacket was something that pushed me to go with this book.

So in my first week I completed the book “Talk to the Hand The utter bloody rudeness of everyday life (Or six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door)” by Lynne Truss.

The title itself is self-explanatory as to what the book might contain. In short the book talks about how  the manners are a passé and the world overall has become rude and from young children to waiters in a restaurant nobody seems to have patience, compassion and it has become difficult to go out in the world and face it day in and day out. She mentions six reasons how rudeness is affecting us and why we should just “stay home and bolt the door”.

I found this book brilliant, funny and engaging. And I am glad I picked this book for the first week!

What Lynne Truss outlines is nothing very dramatic nonetheless it’s good to see it in writing. It’s not a “how to” book, it doesn’t give any advice; it for sure is no panacea for dealing with the disease called rudeness. To me it appeared as an outcry, a vent to the frustration and just a way to lighten your head by stating the way how the world is today.

I too share the same feelings and same frustration in dealing with people in today’s world. How waiters won’t listen to your order properly, how bus conductor would give you a dirty stare if you are unable to hand him the exact change, how children today and the world in general has become comfortable with the word “eff off” (in Truss manner).

So the six reasons she mentions are:

1. Was that so hard to say? – She looks into the state of today’s world where words like thank you, sorry and please are on the verge of extinction (or are already extinct), people find it too hard to say and only place where you can hear such words is automated machines.

2. Why am I the one doing this? – With the DIY tactic becoming the norm of the day the customers are no longer treated as customers but system operators who would listen and fix their own dish washer, internet connection and pretty soon cars and air conditioners too. The customer support center has become a joke, from calling to activate the new credit card to letting the credit card company know that you are travelling overseas (so that they don’t block your card) there is hardly any respect left for customer and we often time ask the questions to ourselves why we have to do it?

3. My bubble, my rules – The issues of “Private space” where people think that they should not be disturbed and this personal/private space has extended to the public spaces too. A person’s mobile phone starts ringing while he is on a local train, he picks it up and instead of saying he is on a train and will call back he starts off with the conversation for a long time, oblivious of anyone present on the train, within his “personal space”.

4. The universal eff-off reflex – You see children on the skateboards, screaming in front of your house and you tell them to slow down and in an instant you get the reply “eff-off”. The word has become so common that it has lost its sensitivity. From a child to an eighty year old anyone can eff-off you and if you haven’t kept off with today’s world you might as well be in a state of shock. Gone are the days when people used to apologies for the wrong doing, today they would say “eff-off” and mind your own business.

5. Booing the judges – Respect has gone for a toss in this new world. Disrespecting, booing the judges or honorable people has become the new ‘respect’. On reality TV shows if the public adored contender is criticized by the judges they are booed, people indulge themselves in throwing eggs and pancakes and water on celebrities’ faces. Now no one wants to be a celebrity. If you can dishonor, humiliate one why become one?

6. Someone else will clean it up – The worst form of disrespect as the author says is disrespect towards everybody. People now go with the idea that the whole world is their property and they can do the shit they want and someone else is there to clean it up. No one wants to take the responsibility of their actions. A drunkard will say the ‘beer has gone mad’, a person would throw out the burger box out of the running car, someone will overtake you without a signal and when you expect an apology from them, all you get is a “eff-off”. Talk to the Hand as the face ain’t listening.

The author also looks briefly into British mannerism and how some of that has now become irrelevant in the current world. She cites many books on manners their evolution and extinction, how rudeness is all prevalent. She also points out that the issue of mannerism is subjective. What is considered as good manners for some might not be so for others or for people staying at other places. Also, that the manners are ever evolving and have to keep up with the changing world.

In conclusion I would say I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it’s a must read for anyone who is wondering as to where all this rudeness is coming from and where have the manners of the old world gone. You can share your frustrations and pain with Lynne Truss while she tickles you with her jibes on the rude world. She is brilliant in Talk to the Hand.


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