Friday, 12 March 2010

MISC REVIEW: Never Kiss a Man in a Canoe - Tanith Carey


Dear Ta-ra-ra,

It surprises us to find that a girl sufficiently educated to write and spell well should be so deplorably ignorant of the common rules of society to think that she may go out alone with a young man in his canoe.

Girl's Own Paper, 1895

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Never Kiss a Man in a Canoe is a fascinating glimpse into our social past and harks back to a time when agony aunts played a pivotal role in society, advising men and women on love, sex, relationships and other taboo subjects.

From advice on the immorality of reading a crime novel or riding a bicycle to Sunday school, to tips on beauty, etiquette and how to make a boy into a man, this wonderful book is a slap in the face for everyone accustomed to the politically correct advice of today, and is a tribute to the manners of the past that will make you grateful times have moved on.


This is an unusual novel but one that I was fascinated by. Why? Well it is full of advice column snippets that have appeared in papers from the 1850’s through to the 1960’s. Its fun to see how attitudes changed over time as well as to get an idea on the social history that if not read now may well become lost in the archives of history. Whilst its full of the problem alongside the answer received the author doesn’t comment upon either allowing the reader to draw their own thoughts from each piece. It’s a great bit of fun and something that I think a lot of people will get something from.

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