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Monday, December 27, 2010

Kirkus Discoveries Reviews Young Adult How-To

Title: Useful Information for Everyday Living

Subtitle: Everything I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger
ISBN: 978-1-4520-7380-4 (hc)
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Author: Michele Sfakianos, RN, BSN
Author’s website: http://www.michelesfakianos.com/,
Genre: Young Adult Non-fiction; Self-help

Reviewed by Kirkus Discoveries
Editor Review (reviewed on November 18, 2010)



Simple, straightforward wisdom for everyday living geared toward young adults.
Sfakianos decries today's lack of basic education in helping young adults navigate and manage aspects of day-to-day life. As children grow, observing their parents performing daily chores—things such as how to do laundry, how to sew on a button and simple rules of etiquette—are usually parceled out and taught as the occasion or need arises. But this book, though certainly not comprehensive, as the author admits, goes beyond basic instruction, informing the reader on subjects such as how to rent an apartment, how to manage finances, the basics of buying a car, even tips on how to nurture a healthy relationship. The organization is simple and the writing is concise; each chapter covers a separate topic and most of the information is given in direct, unembellished, bullet points. Sfakianos shares short, personal stories that give the book a light, relatable touch. A sprinkling of humor adds much and leaves the reader wanting more; when it comes to gifts, "duct tape is not considered wrapping paper," and for closet organization, "Keep floors free of clutter. Stack items on shelves carefully...Make sure you can close the door!" Sfakianos is smart to note that her book is not intended to substitute for professional counsel and warns that some of the information may not be up-to-date. Though most of the advice is practical and doable, the reader might balk at the extensive cleaning suggestions that include "dust wall coverings every two weeks" and "wash curtains (if machine washable) once a month." Though the advice is almost always clear, there is one notable exception in a discussion involving food preparation; a chart listing safe temperature ranges for specific food items does not explain that these temperatures are not cooking temperatures, but are internal temperatures measured by using a meat thermometer.
A helpful, well-written resource and a great gift for those who have just flown the coop.
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