Thursday, May 01, 2008

Rasied By Wolves, Or Just A Very Busy Mom

When I heard the premise of the new book, Were You Raised by Wolves?: Clues to the Mysteries of Adulthood, I knew it was something I had to read. Basically, author Christie Mellor gives practical advice on surviving young adulthood that some of us may not have received (or at least didn't pay attention to) when we were younger.

What modern mysteries am I talking about? Much of it is basic advice - things like how to make your bed, wash dishes by hand, and set up a budget. Simple, everyday living tips that we probably all should be following, but most of us aren't.

But a surprising portion of the book digs far deeper into topics we should have been educated about: how to act in social situations even if you're bored, how to properly throw a party, how to be a good worker at your first job, etc. In other words, basic etiquette.

As Mellor writes, "By making the people around you comfortable, and therefore forgetting about yourself for a few minutes, you are actually helping society run more smoothly and in a much more enjoyable manner." I wish I could force a large chunk of society to read these sections, as I slowly see basic etiquette slipping away more and more each day. I love her rant about turning off your cell phones once in a while - do we all really need to be that connected? Her guidance on how to be a good listener is also priceless information that even I need to be reminded of now and again.

OK, at this point I have to make a confession: I learned a surprising amount of information even from the basics mentioned in this book. I consider myself a domestic zero. My mom was a single mom, so she didn't have time to teach me all of her wisdom when I was younger. My house is a disaster, I'm a lousy cook, and until reading this book, I didn't know that a martini was made with gin. I could have sworn it was only made with vodka. While the intended audience are young adults on their own for the first time, I realized that at 31 I still needed this advice and knowledge.

Mellor also proves to have a little bit of Martha in her (sorry, Christie, if Martha offends you!) when it comes to ingenious uses for everyday products. Who knew baking soda kills fleas, relieves itchy skin, and can unclog a kitchen sink? And I never would have guessed that mayonnaise could bring back the shine in hardwood furniture.

Near the end of the book is a series of quotes under the title If only I had known: Things I wish I'd understood before I hit thirty. I enjoyed reading all of these, nodding my head with them and wishing I had understood some of them before I was 30. I especially liked the first one: "Sunscreen and cocktails: one I should have used more, the other less." So true.

This book is a quick read, and Mellor's sometimes chaotic writing style - jumping from one topic to the next, rapid-fire - is actually easy to follow and resembles having a conversation with a wise friend. Even if you think you've mastered adulthood, this book could prove you still have a few things to learn.

I'd like to thank Parent Bloggers for giving me the chance to check out Were You Raised By Wolves? You can read more reviews by visiting the PBN campaign launch page.

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