488 Rules for Life: The Thankless Art of Being Correct, Kitty Flanagan, Australia, 2019

488 Rules for Life: The Thankless Art of Being Correct, Kitty Flanagan, Australia, 2019

This delightful book can be read cover to cover in one go, or else it can be spaced out between other books: either way it is worth reading.

The 488 rules are either just plain common-sense or else slightly tongue-in-cheek, and the presentation (or is it just the fact that they have even been mentioned?) creates many laugh-out-loud moments. Anyone familiar with Kitty Flanagan’s stand-up comedy acts on the ABC will be able to see and hear her behind the words on the page.

As she writes in the beginning of the book: “I think, deep down, people are crying out for rules. Once it was commonplace to look to published guides for advice on behaviour, protocol and etiquette… ” and “… if you don’t know the rules, how are you supposed to abide by them? Which is why I say, thank god for me… ”

Kitty Flanagan from SMH

The rules – all 487 of them – are divided into different sections: Around the Home, Health & Lifestyle, Parenting etc. (you have to read the book to find out about the 488th rule) and cover practically all aspects of our lives.

The only criticism I would make of this wonderful book is Flanagan’s use of the American word ‘Mom’ instead of the Australian ‘Mum’. It is difficult to know how this could have happened (should we blame the editor?), seeing as she makes a point of saying that we should not be using the American expression ‘candy’ (Rule 401): “Embracing American tradition (Halloween) is one thing but let’s maintain our own language standards.”

Rule 62 from YouTube

You may not agree with every single rule in the book, but there will be plenty there to give you food for thought and a lot of laughs.

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