Review – Peas & Queues

Cover of Peas & Queues, by Sandi ToksvigPeas & Queues, Sandi Toksvig

I’m not sure what other people were expecting with this: luckily, I approached it for exactly what it is, a book which offers advice on all sorts of situations and how to navigate them with dignity and politeness. Sort of like Captain Awkward, but more formal, and less tailored to a specific individual or situation. It contains all sorts of advice from dealing with family life to what to do at weddings and funerals.

It even touches on some etiquette that seems obvious when you hear it, but which people genuinely do miss. Like asking a lesbian couple about their sex life and which of them is the man — just don’t. If you wouldn’t ask the question of a straight couple, don’t ask it of a gay couple. A lot of Toksvig’s advice boils down to not putting other people in awkward situations (e.g. like public proposals where there’s an obligation to say yes or look ridiculous) and respecting other people’s privacy.

Pretty solid. And it’s sometimes interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes useful — and sometimes, as all generalisations are, not useful. At least Toksvig acknowledges — repeatedly — the importance of context rather than a rigid set of rules.

Rating: 3/5

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