Review: Etiquette for the End of the World by Jeanne Martinet

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Title: Etiquette for the End of the World
Author: Jeanne Martinet
Genre: general fiction, chick lit
Series: N/A
Pages: 272 (ARC edition)
Published: July 2012
Source: publishes via NetGalley
Rating: 2/5

A romantic comedy of post-millennial manners, apocalyptic career moves, and a woman's last chance to get life right...


It's not the end of the world. That's what 39-year-old Tess Eliot has to remind herself after losing her newspaper column ("Tess Knows Best") and being dumped by her boyfriend for a younger woman (a feng shui expert? Really?) Then Tess is hired to write an etiquette guide preparing readers for the Ancient Mayan doomsday of December 21, 2012, and she has to ask herself: Could the world really be coming to an end? At first, Tess fakes her way through chapters like "Boundaries in the Bunker" and "Cannibalism: Yes or No?" But after uncovering a secret plot for world destruction, she is forced to embark on a life-changing odyssey of her own—involving all-too-close encounters with touchy-feely survivalists, conspiracy theorists and one handsome guy who seems way too perfect.

Reviewed by Danielle.  

** spoiler alert ** Original Review: What the fuck did I just read?

After a couple of days:

Dear Tess Knows Best Eliot,

I’m going through a really difficult time right now. I have to write a review of Etiquette for the End of the World, but even though it was really boring, offensive, and schizophrenic, I can’t come up with anything to say! How do you even start reviewing a book that calls itself a romantic comedy, but is more All About Steve than Annie Hall? The romantic “twist” is so badly telegraphed it hardly counts, and is offensive as hell to boot! Plus, halfway through, the author completely forgot she was writing a romantic comedy and turned it into a conspiracy thriller/supernatural/travel fiction! No, I don’t know how it’s all supposed to work, either. As a famous columnist, and one time chapter header writer on an etiquette guide, can you get me out of this?

Bored of Everlasting Stupid Tropes, Reading Even Very Irritatingly Exasperating Works for Enthusiastic Review, Even Veritably Enraging Romances


When my boyfriend Matt dumped me for my feng-shui expert neighbor, I didn’t sit at home and moan. I went to the bar and ordered laundry-themed drinks from my hot, gay BFF. And when I lost my job writing this column, (sorry this won’t get published in some big-shot NYC newspaper, by the way,) I didn’t wallow in self pity. I went to the bar and ordered laundry-themed drinks from my hot, gay BFF! BEST REVIEWER EVER, what I’m saying is you need to get out of your slump. Fly to Mexico or London or the beach, even if you’re flat broke like yours truly. The change of scenery, and all the gin, will do you good.

If that still doesn’t help BEST REVIEWER EVER, we’re going to have to get drastic. First, steal mail from your 84 year old ex-boss. Then go visit some end of the world loonies and take a massively profitable writing job, even if it will embroil you in an international cult trying to bring about the apocalypse. There, BEST REVIEWER EVER, you’ll meet a smoking hot, mysterious Hollywood exec. who will sweep you off your feet in a whirlwind romance unlike any you have ever know. It’s only a shame he’s also a pathological liar who will tell you his ex-girlfriend stabbed all of his suits, when it was really the cult members, keeping you from getting out while you still can. When he stands you up on New Years, causing you to panic and reveal the detective work you’ve been doing on the side to one of the sketchiest cult members of all, don’t drown your sorrows at the bar…oh no wait, yes do that.

BEST REVIEWER EVER, now’s the part where it gets really tricky. Remember that detective work I mentioned? Well you are going to research a new idea for the end of the world. It will lead you to a librarian who will tell you she found secret plans for a nanobot that could bring down all technology as we know it. Being afraid of these plans falling into wrong hands, she won’t destroy them. She will hide them in an obscure book about beetles. The psycho you’re working for will be obsessed with beetles. His lackey, the one cutting up suits and the one you’re going to have to reveal all these plans to, will steal the book for his boss, inadvertently stealing the apocalypse plans too. I know this is a lot to take in, so pause for a stiff drink.

You may need to take time out for a side plot about your brother stealing your inheritance, I know mine did. This will probably result in baby rabies and a psychic salad-dressing obsessed aunt. You will also start having prophetic dreams about Mexico and earthquakes, just like one of the nutters at the cult. This is totally normal and not mass hysteria, but a tiny bit of the supernatural. Just to spice life up.

Anyway BEST REVIEWER EVER, don’t bother going to the police, because they think you’re nuts. Gather up Gay BFF and fly to London to meet with the cult leader in person. He’ll turn out to be even more mad scientist-y than feared, but you’ll be able to talk your way out of him killing you. You may even get gifts! Make sure to steal a vial of his nanobot solution, because you’re going to need that to prove you haven’t had too many Spin Cycles. On the way home, you’ll meet that same librarian, who’s now a stewardess, and she’ll be able to smuggle the vial through customs for you. This will leave you free to confess to Gay BFF that you’re in love with him. He’ll confess that he’s not really gay; his “boyfriend” is actually his son! (This is a very advanced maneuver, BEST REVIEWER EVER, don’t try this unless you’re sure you’re in a terrible book.) You may now advance to your HEA.

In the end, the Hollywood Exec. will show back up for you to realize he was just a rebound. The government will totally let you go incite hysteria while they quietly deal with the wacko cult leader, whose serum didn’t even work anyway. You’ll settle down to being the stepmother of not-Gay BFF’s kid, while you both make hilarious gay jokes about how could you ever think he was a queen, giiiiirlfriend? And then you’ll get a book deal out of the whole thing! If that’s not enough to break through writer’s block, BEST REVIEWER EVER, I don’t know what is. Maybe you’ll have to write a parody of something.

Now dear, I’m off to Mexico to play poker with some colorful stereotypes. There’s nothing like spending those book advances on expensive, spur-of-the-moment plane tickets!


Tess "Etiquette for the End of the World" Eliot
Totally Awesome Relatable Character.
Super Not Racist/Homophobic. Pinkie Swear.


  1. I laughed so hard reading this post. Best negative review ever. Pinkie swear :)

    1. It is quite wonderful - though I can't take credit for it. My coblogger Danielle is the brilliant mind behind this one :D

  2. WOW -- what a review!!! I have this in my queue but clearly, I need to pass -- although I'm tempted to check out the hot mess myself!

    1. I think this may be the best review I've read in ages. I laughed so much when Danielle first sent it to me :D


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