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Good Manners for Every Occasion by Emilie Barnes

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Good Manners for Every Occasion: How to Look Smart & Act Right
by Emilie Barnes

Reviewed by John Perrodin

"Good Manners allows anyone - even those lacking solid examples - to make a gallant charge against the rudeness overwhelming our culture."

We like to think we live in a civilized society and yet where’s the evidence? Foul language is heard at the grocer’s, table guests are ignored during lengthy cell calls, and does anyone even know what to do with an RSVP these days? It’s good that Emilie Barnes is available to fill in the blanks. And there are many.

In Good Manners for Every Occasion, Barnes shares “do’s” and “don’ts” that will enable anyone to “look smart and act right” as the subtitle promises. She tackles all the essential moments of life. Take a date, for example. The author believes that a gentleman should pay but that doesn’t give ladies carte blanche to bust the budget. And if the date moves into uncomfortable territory, a woman must stand up for herself and get out of a difficult situation, warns Barnes. As with all her advice, the kindly author of Good Manners urges a positive attitude – even if a date doesn’t hold much hope when it comes to mutual connection.

Keeping family ties strong can be difficult. That’s why Barnes includes an entire chapter on small, doable steps that can be taken to show how much you care. The author offers practical ideas for what to do when a family member has been hospitalized. These include cheery phone calls to keep the patient upbeat, books or magazines to break the monotony, and fresh flowers to brighten the room.

Good Manners even handles the delicate question of cell phone abuse. She notes, “Many users think the world revolves around their next call.” Barnes cautions against checking text or voice mail messages in the presence of another – unless they relate to that person as well. Other tips: don’t speak loudly and blurt embarrassing personal details for other listeners. And no one likes to be ignored while a companion jabbers away. The Golden Rule applies even to cell phones.

This all-purpose volume also helps make a wedding celebration more joyful. All it takes is caring attention to details. Covering a myriad of topics, this book is indispensible. The grateful reader need never wonder if a “thank-you note” is appropriate, what makes an excellent hostess gift, and why proper pool manners matter.

Good Manners allows anyone – even those lacking solid examples – to make a gallant charge against the rudeness overwhelming our culture. And isn’t standing out from the crowd one of the best ways to quietly share witness to our faith?

John PerrodinJohn Perrodin is the Senior Editor for the Christian Writers Guild. He co-authored the Renegade Spirit Trilogy with Jerry B. Jenkins. The latest release in that series is Seclusion Point (Thomas Nelson). His book, Simple Little Words: What You Say Can Change a Life, written with Michelle Cox, releases in April 2008 from David C. Cook. Please visit www.simplelittlewords.com to find out more about the book, and visit John's website www.johnperrodin.com to find out more about his writing.