Thursday, April 23, 2009
Jane: Book review
OK, I'll admit it. I'm an Anglophile. I don't love ALL things British, but I love being in England--the weather (sometimes), the light, the sense of history and a literary past, the architecture, the flora and fauna. Sometimes the British people too.
But those British people can be puzzling. I remember being rather put out by the British women I met when I first taught at TASIS England. They were really smart people--smart, confident, organized, professional. But when a man entered the room, they would suddenly get giggly and the pitch of their voices would raise an octave. Suddenly, their apparent IQs would decline! It made me nuts! I remember discussing it with another American woman. We couldn't figure it out.
Well, Sarah Lyall's book The Anglo Files: a Field Guide to the British, doesn't address that problem, but it addresses many other aspects of the British psyche--British men and sex, British politics, British child-raising, British teeth. And the author is a journalist, so she doesn't just rely on stereotypes, one thing I disliked about Bill Bryson's book, Notes from a Small Island. Lyall shares anecdotes from people she's interviewed and historical and literary quotes, too. But she's also got a great sense of humor, and tells the book as one with an unusual perspective on British people: she's an American married to a Brit, and living in London with her children, who say things like "this blouse is unsuitable with these trousers."
Enjoy this book--I laughed aloud many times.