Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Review - The Escape Manual for Introverts

The Escape Manual for Introverts
by Katie Vaz
Date: 2019
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Reading level: A
Book type: comic collection
Pages: 144
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Feeling cornered at a wedding reception by gossipy guests? Stuck at a holiday party that lasts forever? This beautifully illustrated book is the ultimate funny, sometimes absurd guide to escaping those painfully awkward situations.

Trapped in an airplane seated next to a chatterbox? Are you hosting a dinner party with people who just won't leave? Katie Vaz has the key to your escape. The Escape Manual for Introverts guides readers through different scenarios with themed chapters ("Friends," "Relatives," "Strangers," etc.). Each chapter covers a range of situations, from an invitation to karaoke night to group lunchtime. And she offers a number of escapes for each scenario: bringing odoriferous foods to lunch for a while, having a pet (real or imagined) that "requires" frequent check-ins, and even investing in a jet pack. This book features Vaz's full-page illustrated spreads, hand-lettering, and spot illustrations. From the silly to the sincere, Vaz's clever, hilarious escape plans and bizarre excuses speak to the introvert in all of us.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book should've been right up my alley. I'm an introvert. It can take me days to "recover" from a big social event. I need my alone time, and my peace and quiet. Unfortunately, The Escape Manual for Introverts doesn't seem to be talking about introverts at all, but rather people with antisocial personality disorder. Perhaps a more appropriate title would be The Guide to Lying for Misanthropes.

Yes, I understand that some of these suggestions are tongue-in-cheek and not to be taken seriously. But those aren't the ones I have a problem with. It's not cool to divulge spoilers around the water cooler just because you don't feel like talking to people. It's not cool to bring a stinky lunch to work or eat masses of garlic before a plane ride because you want to be left alone. It's not cool to turn on noisy power equipment just because you can't handle a five-second conversation with your next-door neighbour. The lack of concern for others displayed in this book smacks of some sort of personality disorder, and it really gave me the willies.

The rest of the suggestions are repetitive and/or unnecessary. Don't feel like talking to a proprietor at a craft fair? The book's solution: Buy something cheap so you can make a quick escape. (The common-sense solution: Don't go to craft fairs!) Don't want to talk with the Jehovah's Witness on your doorstep on Saturday morning? The book's solution: Grab your jacket, make up an excuse, and run. (The common-sense solution: Don't open the door.) The book makes everything seem way harder than it needs to be. News flash: It's not that hard. The elaborate "escape" suggestions are rather ridiculous, and the book gives the overall impression that introverts are rude loners who don't like anyone. In fact, as I finished this book, I wondered why such a thing would even be necessary; someone as rude, disrespectful, antisocial, and deceitful (because, let's face it, this is a book all about how to lie) as The Escape Manual for Introverts describes wouldn't have to worry about invitations at all. Who'd want to hang around with someone who's apparently constantly trying to figure out how to manipulate the situation for their own comfort at the expense of others'?

I'm not a fan of the illustration style here, either, so the pictures can't redeem the book for me. I'm afraid this just isn't my thing. I may be an introvert, but I like to think I'm more considerate of others than this book paints us as being.

Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing a digital ARC.

Writing & Editing: 2/5
Illustration: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall Rating: 1.2 out of 5 ladybugs

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