Author: Jeanne Martinet
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
RULE #1: DON'T PANIC—IT ONLY ATTRACTS THE SHARKS
It's not the end of the world. That's what 39-year-old Tess Eliot has to remind herself after losing her newspaper column ("Tess Knows Best") and being dumped by her boyfriend for a younger woman (a feng shui expert? Really?) Then Tess is hired to write an etiquette guide preparing readers for the Ancient Mayan doomsday of December 21, 2012, and she has to ask herself: Could the world really be coming to an end? At first, Tess fakes her way through chapters like "Boundaries in the Bunker" and "Cannibalism: Yes or No?" But after uncovering a secret plot for world destruction, she is forced to embark on a life-changing odyssey of her own—involving all-too-close encounters with touchy-feely survivalists, conspiracy theorists and one handsome guy who seems way too perfect.
I had put Etiquette for the End of the World on the back burner for awhile, though I’m not really sure why. Then recently I was in need of a fun, quick read, so I decide to give it a try. Okay, I’m totally laughing at that rhyme I just wrote! Anyway… though this book wasn’t an outstanding piece of work, it was however, just what I needed. It was light, funny, and had a bit of mystery.
Tess is pushing forty and has just lost her column, Tess Knows Best, leaving her jobless. Plus, she’s just been dumped by her cheating boyfriend, her brother is stiffing her out of her inheritance, and the rent is due soon. What else could go wrong? Oh yeah, the apocalypse on 12/21/12. Tess desperately takes a job writing an etiquette book for after the big day, because you know, manners are still important while fighting to survive. The chapters she wrote are really funny, and I loved how each one coincides with what’s happening in her life at the time.
I liked Tess and her sense of humor a lot, but I didn’t necessarily fall in love with her character. When I think about the book, it’s actually the secondary characters that stick out in my mind. I loved Ben, the gay bar owner; Ginny, one of her best friends; and Harriet, her mentor. Now Harriet was quite a character! She’s in her eighties and bound to a wheelchair, but the woman is a firecracker and made me laugh with her crassness and feistiness. I hope I’m as sharp as she is when I’m that age. Oh who am I kidding, I wish I was as sharp as she is now!
The group that hired Tess to write the book truly believe that the apocalypse is a sure thing, but they’re crazy, right? Right?! Tess uncovers something major that might just make it a reality. So what’s a girl to do when there’s impending doom? Stop it, of course. I admit, how some of the things unfolded were a little too coincidental and silly, but this isn’t meant to be a heavy mystery. It’s fun, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It also added a little more excitement reading it so close to the real 12/21/12, because there is some of that “what if…” feeling.
The romance in Etiquette is pretty good; it’s sweet and funny, and was a bit of a surprise. It’s hard to really say much about it without giving certain things away, but I will say that things aren’t always as they seem.
Overall, Etiquette for the End of the World is a good book to read when you want something quick and light.