Category Archives: it’s not exactly the end of the world as we know it

Etiquette for the End of the World

Etiquette for the End of the World
by Jeanne Martinet
Published by Liza Dawson Associates
278 pages
Available on
3.5 / 5 cupcakes

For some women, finding themselves on the cusp of forty, unmarried, childless, and recently dumped by both boyfriend and employer is akin to the apocalypse. And for Tess Eliot, it sure does seem that way. When she is hired by WOOSH, World Organization for Omniscient Solstice Harbingers, to write a book, Tess thinks her luck is starting to turn. Except for one teensy little problem. The WOOSH’ers believe the supposed Mayan prediction that the world will end on December 21, 2012, and the book Tess is to write is about how we should behave toward one another when the world ends.

This silly sounding premise might make you leery to read this book, but you should not worry. Etiquette for the End of the World is charming, entertaining, and humorous. WOOSH may want a book about the end of the world, but they want a funny book about the end of the world, and Tess is just the person to write it. Naturally snarky, she uses her talents to offer up a humorous take on etiquette as the world ends.

She also meets Peter, a George Clooney lookalike who charms her in spite of a nagging sense that he is too good to be true. Peter is a fundraiser for WOOSH, and clearly attracted to Tess. When she meets him at the bar she frequents, Richie, the bartender, approaches Peter with no small amount of suspicion. Maybe he really is too good to be true. Richie, on the other hand, is solid. He counsels Tess on her romantic and professional failings, and when she starts to suspect that there is something afoot at WOOSH, he supports her concerns. Too bad he’s gay, because Richie could be the perfect guy.

This is a romantic comedy of sorts. Parts of it are quite funny, and Tess engages in a couple of romances. She also has to make peace with her brother, Stuart, to whom the family beach house and money were left when their father died. Tess doesn’t understand why he won’t split the inheritance with her, but Stuart has his reasons.

The mystery angle of the book will spark your interest. What exactly is going on with WOOSH? Is there something nefarious happening, or is it merely a group of quirky fatalists? As Tess begins to dig into WOOSH, she uncovers information that leads her to believe the former, and we become curious right along with her.

While this is a pleasant little book, it is not something that will stick with you after you’ve read it. There are problems: some of the things that bother Tess about Peter are never explained, and the ending is far too neat and tidy. Still, though, it’s a sweet story that you will enjoy reading. Who knew the end of the world would be so funny?

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