“ Hardcover: 144 pages / Publisher: Bloomsbury / Published: 7 Feb 2005 „
I received this book as a gift many years ago, when I was embarking on my first experience of living with a boyfriend. Ironically, I am no longer with the man I moved in with, however I can't blame the book for that! The book is a small hardback book, measuring around 3 x 4 inches, and is very retro in style. It is attempting to be a tongue-in-cheek guide to living with someone, providing some helpful tips and light humour. I can only see second-hand versions of this on the Amazon website, costing £0.26 upwards.
I quite like the retro feel to this book, it's reminiscent of the Soap and Glory toiletries with black and white photos of people in old fashioned clothes. I think the style of book is supposed to be ironic, and definitely not to be taken seriously. I don't think for one minute they are suggesting that women should be homemaking baby producers who live to fulfil their man's every needs. It's simply a light hearted humorous look at the situations we tend to find ourselves in when living with a member of the opposite sex. As we all know, comedians have been making a living for years out of telling us that men and women are very different.
The book is split into the following chapters:
· Creating a Home
· Staying on the Same Planet
· The Lost Art of Domestic Diplomacy
· Keeping Things Zesty
· Friends and Family: The Cirlce of Love
· Starting a Family
· The Other Woman
· Upgrading your Man
Although the book is clearly not intended to be taken 100% seriously, there are some interesting and useful topics covered, such as deciding whose house or flat to move into, keeping romance alive once children come along, and how to manage joint finances. The advice is split into blocks of text, and separated with things like "Top ten rules to hostess success" or a checklist on how to make sure you keep your life outside of your home and relationship.
I can't imagine anyone would ever buy this for themselves as an actual guide to living with someone, but it does make an amusing gift for anyone who is taking the plunge and moving in with their partner for the first time. Obviously, it doesn't guarantee success because no amount of advice will help you if you're unfortunate enough to have chosen a selfish liar for a partner, but it does raise a bit of a chuckle in a tongue in cheek kind of way. The part about how to dress to keep your partner's attention particularly made me laugh, and it reminded me of the old Harry Enfield sketch from years ago "Women: Know your Limits". It's a good reminder about how fortunate we are these days to have the choices and freedom that we have.
Overall, this is a relatively amusing retro style book which should raise a smile from the recipient. Although it doesn't seem to be in print anymore, copies are readily available on Amazon from marketplace sellers, and I will be donating mine to the charity shop next time I make a donation, as it's not the kind of book you can get much use out of after you've flicked through it and had a little chuckle.
(Review may also appear on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)