Review

Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World, or Six Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door

by Lynne Truss



Just when I was beginning to think that being nice was a shameful
weakness, Lynne Truss gives us TALK TO THE HAND, a gritty rant
appropriately subtitled "The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World
Today." Not only is it timely and true, it's a hoot to read!

You just have to love the whole saying, "Talk to the hand 'cause
the face ain't listening." How many times has that happened to you?
I have actually faded off with, "Well, it doesn't really matter
what I'm saying," when I've embarked on a short (and, I'm positive,
quite hilarious) anecdote and my audience (of one) starts grinning
at something over my shoulder --- or, worse yet, tosses out a
cogent comment to a neighboring group. I figure I can blurt out
whatever is on my mind "'cause the face ain't listening,"
obviously.

The rest of the subtitle is "or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and
Bolt the Door" and provides half a dozen pet peeves for Ms. Truss
to gleefully expound upon. But TALK TO THE HAND is not merely a
forum for a thoughtful author to give vent to her personal irks,
although she does write "…I now can't abide many, many
things, and am actually always on the look-out for more things to
find completely unacceptable," which sounds like quite a lot of fun
to me.

She explores reasons we might have come to this unhappy state; for
instance, TV, one of my favorite disappointments. "One hesitates to
blame television for all this because that's such an obvious thing
to do. But, come on. Just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's
not true. People being vulgar and rude to each other...is TV's
bread and butter." Or a close contender for top billing: parents
with ill-behaved children --- or is it children with incompetent
parents? Whichever, the moms and dads have "let their kids
manipulate, insult and bully them…taught them to demand
respect, but not to show it. Who cares if the result is a
generation of unhappy sociopaths? Just so long as the unhappy
sociopaths regard their parents as their pals." (I have an example
of one of these horrible parent cum buddy types in my very own
family and it drives me batty.) As Ms. Truss so sanely points out,
this attitude does a disservice to the child as well as to the rest
of us.

And then there is the currently popular outlook that no one is
responsible for his/her actions. So who is? The scary part is that
a significant number of people truly believe that they are a victim
of circumstances rather than their own actions, and woe to the
person who suggests the opposite. "If you point out to someone that
he is in the wrong, you must be prepared for the consequences,
which may include violence, but will automatically include Eff
Off." To me, the Eff Off reaction, beyond being downright
offensive, seems to signal (often physically as well as verbally)
an aggressive disassociation with personal culpability.

I could go on and on, because TALK TO THE HAND sparked a righteous
outrage that grew inside me as I furiously turned the pages,
nodding and chuckling. I can guarantee that you will find yourself
recalling experiences of your own that take you to the boiling
point just thinking about them. You might even be tempted to write
Ms. Truss with shocking examples of the utter bloody rudeness
you've run into but heretofore believed you had no one who shared
your indignation. Now you have. Revel in it. With enough of us, we
can stamp out this insidious rudeness epidemic. Read this book, and
be nice!

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 23, 2011

Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World, or Six Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door
by Lynne Truss

  • Publication Date: September 26, 2006
  • Genres: Humor, Nonfiction, Reference
  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham
  • ISBN-10: 1592402402
  • ISBN-13: 9781592402403