Picks and Pans Review: Charlotte Ford's Book of Modern Manners
by Charlotte Ford
The giant compendium (493 pages) advises what to do and how to act in every conceivable social situation, from eating bacon (with your fingers, if it's crisp) to driving past a jogger (don't jeer). Ford's book also serves as an often witty guide to handling some delicate puzzlements of modern life—how, at a party, to introduce a couple living together (use both full names and skip comments on their relationship); how to explain to your child that you chose to remain single and not marry Dad (be honest); or how to tell guests you would rather they not smoke marijuana (just say so). Ford, 39, is Henry's pampered daughter. Neither of her husbands has been less than a multimillionaire. So her credibility in discussing common folk's real-life problems can be questioned. Still, she has a down-to-earth approach to manners, and the problems of single women in particular. Her gracious philosophy is summed up in the epigraph by Somerset Maugham: "Tradition is a guide and not a jailor." (Simon and Schuster, $14.95)
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