Book Review: 488 Rules for Life, by Kitty Flanagan

488 Rules for Life is comedian Kitty Flanagan’s way of making the world a more pleasant place to live, providing the antidote to lots of annoying things.

By
A friendly and funny reminder about how we should behave.
Overall
4.5

Kitty Flanagan is a well-known Australian comedian, writer and actor. As well as travelling Australia and the world doing stand-up, she has been seen on television on shows such as Utopia, The Project and from 2015-2018, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering.

It was while she was doing The Weekly that Flanagan was inspired by a bestselling book titled 12 Rules for Living. She took issue with the fact that someone could narrow down all the rules of life to just twelve. She began to come up with additional rules and eventually, after being asked by people where they could buy the book, came up with the 488 rules we can now read.

Flanagan admits that we may not agree with all the rules, but we should find some that will resonate and we can ignore the rest. However, I was genuinely surprised to find that there are very few that I actually don’t agree with. Most are common sense things that we have all probably at some time in our lives taken issue with and mentioned, or maybe even ranted about to our friends in conversation. Flanagan has managed to put them all together into one book.

Some of the rules are thought provoking and some just plain silly. There are rules like: The sink is not a dishwasher, No phone calls in the toilet, Sunglasses are for outside and It’s a phone, not a walkie talkie. Each one is expanded using plenty of Flanagan’s trademark dry wit.

In 488 Rules for Life there are also valid and timely comments on the society in which we live. Things that are presently at the forefront of our consciousness that we as a society really need to take on board, for example: No Booing: Save your booing for the baddy that’s behind you in a pantomime. But don’t boo elite sports people for doing their job well. Ring any bells?

Divided into sections, with headings such as Language, Food, Relationships and Parenting (even though she freely admits that she probably has no idea what she is talking about as she has never had a child), this book is easy to read and very funny. There are also special “sealed” sections which Flanagan says may only be relevant to certain people. All very funny. There is also a very helpful diagram on how to cut oranges for your child’s netball team.

488 Rules for Life can be read from front to back, or you could just browse those sections most relevant to you. There are laugh out loud moments and rules which make you stop and think. But seriously, even though rule number one is, If you don’t agree with a rule, forget about it, move on to the next one,” I guarantee you won’t skip many as they are all worth reading.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: October 2019
RRP: $29.99

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