Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Review: How To Get Things Really Flat by Andrew Martin

Subtitled, "Enlightenment for Every Man on Ironing, Vacuuming, and other Household Arts," this book promises to remedy all Oscar like behavior. Unfortunately, while the idea is great the book falls flat.

Before I go further, let me just say for the record that I'm a recovered, Oscar. In my twenties when I needed to clean quickly, my best tip was to box the dirty dishes from the sink (there was no dishwasher and things piled up). Eventually when I saw the cupboards were bare or silverware missing, it was a reminder to go hunting for dishes in the closet. A girlfriend made the gruesome discovery of my efforts and decided I needed intervention (we're still friends by the way).

For a book like this to have been of help, it needed a few diagrams and something like "CliffsNotes" added to the text. Instead the reader is given lengthy (and interesting) explanations on subjects like ironing and research done on the topic.

What I really, really didn't care for were the stereotypes in the book. At the beginning the author wants men to know that holding a duster will not make him any less of a man. Well said, but did he have to imply that men might think cleaning is gay like behavior? Or that female shoppers are not decisive?

The tips in the book are helpful and sometimes humorous. I also liked that this book is definitely British. It was released last year in the USA and contains footnotes for Yanks and a preface written specifically for the American edition.

In the end, however, the stereotypes in the book influenced my rating. Clothes need labels but do people?

Rob's Rating: 3/5

About the Author: Andrew Martin lives in London and is the writer of seven novels, including five titles beginning with The Necropolis Railway, featuring the young Edwardian detective, Jim Stinger.

How To Get Things Really Flat by Andrew Martin. Copyright 2008, 2009. The Experiment Publishers. ISBN: 9781615190027.

FTC: Library Copy (and heading back there soon).


  1. LOL! What a title while the premise strikes me as only "meh."

  2. Footnotes for Yanks--ROFL
    Thanks for this review...I have been tempted by this book before, but now I'll just scan through it in the library or a store.


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