New Nonfiction – Etiquette for Teens

Doherty, Meghan.  How Not to Be a Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide.  San      Francisco: Houghton Mifflin, 2013.  978-1-936976-02-7. 176 p.  $16.99.  Gr. 7-12.

Everything about this book, from the title to the illustrations, seems to imply that this is going to be a different kind of guide to manners.  In many ways, this is true.  The language is slanted toward teens, and the “Dick & Jane” illustrations are both humorous and relevant.  How Not to Be a Dick addresses situations at home, school, work, transit, and on the Internet.  Some of the suggestions seem very basic; always say please and thank you.  Walk to the right of the sidewalk.  Ask before bringing guests to a friend’s house.  Other suggestions deal with the complexities of a modern world; social media, sexting, and online dating are discussed.  This book- and its title- will appeal to students who need to deal with social situations but would never consider reading a standard etiquette book (i.e. the works of Emily and Peggy Post).

395; Etiquette               Susan Fox, Washington Jr. / Sr. High School

This book is difficult to classify.  It is definitely aimed toward an adolescent audience, but the topics discussed deal with the concerns of different age groups.  For example, there is a lengthy discussion of workplace behavior that seems geared toward college graduates.  One section even talks about being a “good boss”.  Other segments of the book mention living with roommates, going to the Laundromat, and the best way to run errands.  The discussions of sexting and internet porn could prevent this book from being used at the Junior High level. These complicated topics are difficult to reconcile with the simplistic advice offered in the bulk of the book.  How not to be a Dick could be useful for students with Asperger’s Syndrome, or other conditions, who need to have social norms spelled out.  The discussions of personal space and active listening are excellent.  All in all, this is a book that seems to want to be relevant to many different patrons, but it doesn’t quite succeed.

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