A book review brought to you by Parent Bloggers Network...
Shortly before Sydney was born, some of my former students threw a baby shower for me. They were all poor college students, and the party was where a few of them were living in a not-quite-fabulous apartment in Corvallis. Despite being college students and despite not having lots of money, I distinctly remember the yummy food, the good conversation, and A CLEAN BATHROOM. Honestly, if I had gone into labor I think I could have delivered in that bathroom, although I will say that the lighting wasn't great and the color of the tile wasn't exactly flattering. But hey, there was a pre-nursing student in the midst, so I would have been okay.
Clearly, these were students not raised by wolves.
Their ability to clean a bathroom and host a party notwithstanding, as young adults they would certainly enjoy reading Were You Raised By Wolves? Clues to the Mysteries of Adulthood, by Christie Mellor. I personally enjoyed reading it, and I am moderately clued in to adulthood. Kinda. At least, I'm responsible for small people, so that has to count for something. AND, AND! I save money, which was an entire chapter in the book.
Humorously written in a tone more like a funny older sister than a distantly polite Emily Post, Were You Raised by Wolves captures many of the elements we sometimes assume young people should know, but don't. Even I learned quite a few nifty tricks. As a sidenote that's not completely random, but is still a little bit, I have to tell you that today I received a Thank You card from one of my students who took my class this semester. Not only is it refreshing to see a young adult writing a thank you card for a class she took (for a grade!), but I was tickled pink because I love getting cards. Makes my day.
The book covers important topics--like being polite--as well as helpful cooking tips and amazing uses for baking soda (which inspired me to scrub my kitchen sink until it sparkled), good manners and good fashion, being a good-houseguest and being a polite individual, and creating your own holiday traditions as well as creating a sound budget. And for those who can't be bothered with important things like reading, Mellor fills her book with clever illustrations:
- how to shake hands: firm, look her in the eyes
- how to make a bed properly: ooh! I knew this one! pattern-side down on the top sheet so you can fold it over and make it look just like a Pottery Barn bed
- how to make Christmas ornaments: Q-TIPS! Cereal Boxes!
- how to sew on a button (while we're talking about using metal instruments, how about this nifty tip: "Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your hem and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress." Cool.)
Since the book was just hanging out in our living room, Rebekah the World's Best Nanny took a look-see through it and promptly declared it hilarious and clever. She is actually one of those college students who will make a remarkably responsible adult (since she's already a remarkably responsible adult), yet she still learned things from the book. We're hoping that her other place of employment (twig downtown) will carry the book for sale.
In the interest of full disclosure (and knowing the world views of many of my readers), I'll mention the fact there is one element of language in the book which is written in the context of "don't say this." I'm not mentioning it because I happen to be someone who belongs to--as the book puts it--a "certain fundamentalist religious sect," but because I'd want you to be comfortable with that fact before buying the book for your soon-to-graduate niece. That's all I have to say about that.
That so many of my former high school students are now finishing up college, plus I teach college students, and my brother is graduating from BSU in a few weeks with a graduate degree in kinesiology means that I should be giving this book to more than half the people I know. That's a lot of books. But since I'm following Ms. Mellor's advice on the importance of saving money so that we can build a house, I'll just buy copies for my brother and my favorite students, and give the rest of those fabulous new adults thoughtful cards and a high-five.
The book concludes with the perfect word of encouragement:
"Be a kind and thoughtful person. Don't forget to drink water and wear a hat in the sun, but don't always come inside when it's raining. Splash in a few puddles and enjoy the showers, so you'll appreciate the sunshine that much more." --Christie Mellor
I may have to borrow that quote for those cards I'll be sending out.
(c) Creature Bug 2008. All rights reserved.