How Rude! by Alex J. Packer (Free Spirit Publishing, updated edition May 2014) is a hilarious and down-to-earth guide for teenagers about, as the subtitle says “good manner, proper behavior, and not grossing people out.”
Each chapter covers a category of social etiquette, including what to say, how to act, what to wear, how to groom oneself, and so forth. Encompassing matters that teenagers would find most interesting as well as those they may not have considered, How Rude! is truly a refreshing reminder and learning manual for teenagers to actually enjoy reading.
That is not to say that How Rude! does not have its faults. At 450+ pages, this is a huge tome for teenagers. While I read through it with interest, I highly doubt the average teenager would read it through. It’s true that the tone is highly amusing. The author makes jokes and supplies puns, as well as providing humorous stories from teenagers surveyed and his own life to show the errors of rude persons’ ways. However, unless teens think to reference this book before going out and about, it may be rather difficult to get them to reference such a huge book on their own.
As a homeschooling mom, I see How Rude! as a great text for kids to delve into in a regular format and as a supplement to homeschool curricula. I’m one of those people who think manners and social etiquette should still be taught these days! I can see myself assigning a chapter here and there to Raisin, when he gets to middle or high school, so we can learn together and discuss. Although much of it is directly related to social etiquette, I will say that the author has inserted some opinions that I do not always agree with into his text. Thus, discussing and learning together would be ideal.
That said, my children are not even close to becoming teenagers yet. Maybe our relationships will evolve by then so that handing them such a book as this will prompt a “Thank you, mother!” rather than a scowl.
So, although How Rude! is truly fantastic, I’m not quite sure how it will be received by teenagers themselves. Let’s hope that when we do gift it to them, they will actually read and learn something from its pages. It is a great approach to etiquette for the socially challenged.
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book.