on March 4, 2016 :
The reader is never far from the authors thoughts, judging by the continual references to dear reader, gentle reader, my literary companion, and so forth. This is a conversation then or chit-chat, tho formally organised into chapters about the social round.
Hence, the style is suitably simple. There are no literary allusions to authorities. The only authority is the authors personal experience. This is all well and good, because that is what we crave. Tho a fellow countrymen to the author, I still could be taken aback by the odd example of reckless crookedness, exposed by these confidences.
Never mind, her observations rang true enough. This country seems to have thrown out the baby of good manners with the bath-water of etiquet.
On occasion, such as the folly of co-renting, her distaste for her companion amounted to pure passion. Not of the sort I would recommend, despite an acute sympathy for her predicament.
At this point, I was tempted to make a literary allusion to my favorite author, but, following Hartleys good example, I desist.
Instead, I offer my most useful critical comment on this title. It is actually not about friends at all. It is much about the death, to esteem for ones companions, by a thousand cuts of more or less inconsiderate behaviour or slovenly disrespect, as well as confidence trickery and predatory scheming.
Those companions, however, are not so much bad friends, as merely bad companions. The abject failures, in shared pleasure-seeking, dubious or down-right repulsive, which the book is largely about, is not friendship. The author seems to have no idea of friendship, as a sharing of interests, as is held by an author, more authoritative than we are.
I would say the main interest, of the authors researches, are in finding what bores are everyone she has met. But she should know that is the whole point of friendship, in finding just those people, who share our interests and enliven our lives.
And this reviewer speaks as an unexampled expert on isolation. I have been much helped by the cultural desert of so-called society, of which this book is perhaps an unintended satire. Its author may be not so much a hermit, as an all too typical sample of insular British sub-urban middle class aloofness, in their little boxes, as Madam de Stael wrote, long before Pete Seeger sang it of America.
(review of free book)