Terry's Reviews > Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour

Watching the English by Kate Fox
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Jul 14, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: currently-reading

I'm struggling to finish this book. It could be a brilliant book but it is just simply boring. The book methodically attempts to analyse the character of the English and observe rules of social interaction etc. It is profoundly middle-class London-centric, unnecessarily wordy, attempting to be partly research and partly humourous. It's all been done before. It misses out great swathes of the population who don't talk about the weather or say "pleased to meet you", namely most people under 40. The authors view seems very much of a 1950's Britain! No mention of the 30% of the English who have a distinctly working class notion of interaction, who don't get offended at being asked their name and who say what they think and feel without too much reserve. This book is just annoying and appears as if written by someone who's never really interacted with the less privileged and more worldly English. This is an image of an England, I only remember from TV sitcoms in 1970's. Not relevent anymore in modern Britain.
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Reading Progress

02/28/2014 page 101
23.0% "I gave it up. The humour wasn't funny enough. The insights had all been done before. I took it on holiday but never finished it. Didn't hold my interest."
03/25/2016 marked as: currently-reading

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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~☆~Autumn♥♥☽ I am so glad you write this as when I lived in England I never found the things she writes about to be the case.


Stuart I'm strugglng too for same reason


~☆~Autumn♥♥☽ Stuart wrote: "I'm strugglng too for same reason"

Thanks for letting me know.


Elinor Hurst Interesting. I live in Australia but thought her observations seemed to accord with my exposure to English people here and my time in England ( admittedly several decades ago). I found people there to be unfriendly by Aussie standards, and I wish the book had been around back then to prepare me. (Though I did find the Cockneys to be very endearing and more Australian-like.) Do you think the English are becoming less class conscious as well?


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