Select one of the keywords
Swell: A Girl's Guide to the Good Life    by Cynthia Rowley & Ilene Rosenzweig order for
by Cynthia Rowley
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 1999 (1999)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Written with verve and vivacity, Swell is a 'style compass for the girl on the go' that gives practical advice on how to live dashingly, while going with the flow and not sweating the small stuff. Its two authors are a fashion designer and a style editor. More importantly, they are good friends and sound like individuals that it would be great fun to know. This is not a manual for the perfectionist, prone to agonize over every last detail of a dinner party, but rather tips for those willing to apply fuzzy logic and out of the box thinking to problem solving.

Its nine chapters advise on how to live the good life with 'spirit and style'. The authors tell us that 'Perfection is overrated' and laud the imperfect hostess who applies her ingenuity when time and resources are scarce. I learned the difference between tipping and duking in the section on how to handle gratuities and was inspired by 'saving spins' on 'Kooky Kollectibles'. Great subtitles like 'The morning after: Scram or scrambled eggs?' amused me while reading about gambling in love, and I appreciated the encouragement to wallow in misery in style and in bubbly!

Practical advice includes a detailed explanation of how to whistle for a taxi, golf vocabulary, how to hook a worm (not like a kebab) and why it's wise to rehearse spontaneity. Style coaching explains how to 'look lawless not clueless' and to apply 'polish, posture and personality'. But my favorite chapter was the final one, entitled 'Indulge' which covers the spectrum from champagne, caviar and cigars to dinner drinks and diamonds, not forgetting chocolate bonbons of course, with the suggestion to 'act out those latent Willy Wonka fantasies'.

So indulge yourself and your friends in this entertaining, cheering book. Witty, wise and off the wall, it tells you how to seize the moment, to be gallant and dashing, and apply 'pathological optimism', in living a swell life.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews