Lists for Life
by Rory Tahari
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Lists for Life / 978-1-4391-2468-0
The introduction to this book notes that it's not a book for reading, it's a book for setting by the phone and consulting as necessary, and yet to say that this isn't an interesting, thought-provoking book would be to sell it short. Author Tahari manages to compose lists that are thorough, useful, and - at points - witty and amusing. The chapters cover:
* Planning a wedding
* Buying a house
* Navigating a pregnancy
* Raising children
* Traveling abroad
* Buying and selling a car
* Preparing for a hospital stay
* Navigating through a divorce
* Planning a funeral
* Handling an emergency (the usual stuff: fire, flood... nuclear attack)
First of all, the pros - this book is *extremely* thorough. In many cases, it would seem that Tahari has thought of absolutely *everything*, right down to the designated safety-pin person in case of wedding dress malfunctions. The lists are well-organized, easily accessible, and easy to locate and parse in a hurry. The listed information ranges from the "well, duh" obvious, to the "oh, yeah" easy-to-accidentally-forget, to the "whoa, I never would have thought of that on my own" crucial. Tahari also recommends (thankfully, short) lists of books and websites for further aid and organization, although it seems unlikely that any website could add more to the wealth of knowledge here! For instance, I've already turned down pages 28-29 - the list of all the people and places you need to contact to update your name, should you change it after getting married. That kind of information, already consolidated in one place, is extremely useful.
Despite all my glowing praise, though, I'm not sure that this is the book for everyone. For one thing, it's not going to be a daily reference book - if you're not actively getting married, pregnant, divorced, or sick, then the actual use of the book is somewhat limited (although it *would* be handy to already have this book on hand *before* the given emergency happens...).
Secondly, it's worth noting that this book has a very stereotypical American-consumer flavor to it. That may seem obvious, but it's worth pointing out - if you want an event (wedding, birth, funeral, etc.) that follows a different tradition than this particular flavor, then the advice here may be less useful to you, personally. For instance, since my fiance and I are planning a *very* quiet, low-key wedding, pretty much everything in the wedding chapter (*except* the aforementioned pages 28-29) did not apply to us - and thankfully not, since most of the apparent "must-haves" for the current 'standard American wedding as defined by Madison Avenue' reflected in this book involves going so far into debt that you'll be lucky to have the whole thing paid off in ten years! Another instance caught my eye later on, in the parenting chapter, where a list of do's and don'ts for meeting your child's teacher seemed more interested in cultivating a good impression with the teacher as opposed to figuring out your individual child's needs. I'm getting cranky in my old age, I guess, but is "Never wear jeans to a meeting with the school teacher" *that* important of a rule, considering the real issues at stake, i.e. your child's education? I don't know the answer to that, but considering that I regularly wear jeans *to work*, you might guess where my inclinations fall.
Beyond that, some of this book is going to come off as extremely intimidating. The list of yearly house upkeep tips, for example, is impossibly long in my opinion, and impossible tasks just make me discouraged (Your Mileage May Vary). Why do I need to remove my window screens in November? Where do I store them for the winter? Why is there no 'follow-up' task telling me when to put them back on? Must I *really* have my curtains "professionally cleaned" each year? And my carpets? And my blankets? Not every book needs to be a Green book, but the amount of wastage suggested here makes me a bit uncomfortable and brings to mind those magazines that keep upping the ante on being a "good" housekeeper, largely in order to sell more cleaning products and services.
Probably I'm being overly nitpicky, though - I'm glad I received this through Amazon Vine, I suspect I'll use it at least a couple times in my life, and I enjoyed reading through it. If it seems like your thing, pick up a copy, but if the price seems a bit high to you, you wouldn't be missing much by getting the information for free online.
NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through Amazon Vine.
~ Ana Mardoll
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