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Book Report

June 14, 2007

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This book was an easy read. I read it in just a few hours, all totalled. It was lightly entertaining, and Tim Gunn has a sense of humor that shines through in his writing. However, I felt that sometimes I needed to have my dictionary next to me with some of the French quotes and large words. If you didn’t know who Tim Gunn was you’d think the author was pompous and arrogant. But he’s not; that’s just his style.

Overall, the tips and guidelines he offers didn’t hold any epiphanies for me. There was nothing earth shattering that he relayed that would alter my life. However, I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to show bare shoulders at a wedding ceremony (unless of course you are the bride) and that you should save that for the reception. Who knew? There might be other faux pas I’ve been making, but overall, I felt satisfied that I’ve not been committing any major fashion style transgressions. Phew. I was losing sleep over that.

I really grabbed this book because, unlike my normal choices, it has been mentioned a lot, I like Tim Gunn, and thought I’d learn something new. I didn’t. It mostly impressed me as the modern century male version of Heloise or Miss Manners.

Speaking from an editor’s (and a confessed bibliophile) perspective, the book was very well done. I liked the font, text layout, chapter intros and exits, and the illustrations. Even the size of the book (taller than wider) was enjoyable to hold. The writing was precise, had a smooth gait to it, and again, was easy to read. In fact, the editors of the book must be top notch, because I don’t think I found a single error in it. That’s rare that I don’t find at least one typo.

Bottom line: If you need something lightweight for a distraction, I’d recommend it. If you are looking for anything deep and substantive, I’d pass.

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5 Comments
  1. thesecretpocket permalink
    June 15, 2007 3:52 am

    Great review! I needed a dictionary too. And I was unfamiliar with many of the style icons he talked about. Also, I found it reassuring that 1) I wasn’t making any huge style blunders, and 2) it’s OK to shop at Target!

    I wonder if the bare shoulders has more to do with being in church than being at a wedding. If the wedding were outside or secular, I wonder if the same rule applies.

  2. June 15, 2007 4:07 am

    thanks for reviewing this book. i have the biggest crush on tim gunn and i don’t crush easily. his vocabulary and speech pattern are what i find most appealing about him. will have to get my hands on a copy of the book. i don’t get bravo because we have cable, but neighbor gets it because she has satellite. she is gracious enough to allow me to watch project runway at her house every week…..even if she isn’t home. her teenage daughter has loaned me her dvd set of season 2. i love being able to replay tim’s comments over and over again.

    teri

  3. June 15, 2007 5:00 pm

    Great review of the book – I didn’t bother to purchase a copy as my library added it to their collection when I submitted a request. I enjoyed the book. It was almost like having a conversation with him. I must admit that, while I’m not an editor, I notice always typos, layouts and fonts also.

  4. June 18, 2007 7:58 am

    Claire, I so agree. While the book is entertaining, there is nothing ground-breaking in there, just plain good sense – it might be useful to some, true, but I don’t really understand all the fuss about that book. Probably because I don’t (can’t) watch Project Runway?

    I have a big rant about the language snobbery, though – oh my. I don’t mind people dashing a little bit of French here and there, if they think that’s chic (I don’t really see the point, personally); but if they do so repeatedly, they should be sure of themselves, don’t you think so? When you don’t know the language that well, it ends up being ludicrous because that “culture” you are so proud of appears so fake. I am French. Well, there is hardly a French phrase in this book that doesn’t have some mistake or other. I mean, this is not just conversation, this is a book – couldn’t he have at least the French phrases proofread by a native speaker?

    I know, I know, I’m writing in English and chances are I may be making mistakes every now and then, especially when I’m tired – and I sincerely apologize for those. However, I am using English as a means of communication with my friends, not in order to show off any kind of “culture”.
    So, the “style” may sound as très chic to those who may not know French that well. But to French natives, who will cringe at the mistakes, it sounds like the very opposite of chic.

    I’ll step off my soapbox now. It’s not in my habits to be so harsh, but I have such a love for langage – French, English, any language.
    I was happy to read your review. I completely agree with all that you said. Your phrase “modern century male version of Heloise or Miss Manners” was delightful. 🙂

  5. June 18, 2007 12:25 pm

    Isabelle – I completely agree with you about using the foreign language. That is something the editors should have checked. Your use of English is excellent, and if you make mistakes, they are forgiveable (because you are you *smile* but also because it’s casual conversation.) But in a printed book, you raise a good point. It’s different.

    Personally, it reminds me of a cartoon character from when I was little (or some TV character) that always used the wrong “big” word for something and it was hilarious.

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