Tuesday, March 25, 2014

G298 My boyfriend barfed in my handbag...and other things you can't ask Martha

Title of the book: My Boyfriend Barfed in my handbag...and other things you can't ask Martha

Author: Jolie Kerr

Publisher: Plume

Publishing Date: 2014

ISBN: 978-0-14-219693-9


The author of the hit column "Ask a Clean Person” offers a hilarious and practical guide to cleaning up life’s little emergencies

Life is filled with spills, odors, and those oh-so embarrassing stains you just can’t tell your parents about. And let’s be honest: no one is going to ask Martha Stewart what to do when your boyfriend barfs in your handbag.

Thankfully, Jolie Kerr has both staggering cleaning knowledge and a sense of humor. With signature sass and straight talk, Jolie takes on questions ranging from the basic—how do I use a mop? —to the esoteric—what should I do when bottles of homebrewed ginger beer explode in my kitchen? My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag proves that even the most nightmarish cleaning conundrums can be solved with a smile, the right supplies, and a little music.

Other Works:

Although this is her first novel, she has written for other magazines, it looks like, as well as being a columnist for "Ask a Clean Person"

Background of author:
(From TLC)

Jolie Kerr is the author of the popular column “Ask a Clean Person,” which is featured weekly on Deadspin and Jezebel. Her work has also appeared in Fortune, BlackBook, the Urban Outfitters blog, Gothamist, The Hairpin, and The Awl. She has been featured as a cleaning expert in the New York Observer, O Magazine, InStyle, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, Health Magazine, and Parents Magazine. Jolie is a Boston native and graduate of Barnard College, now residing in a teeny, tiny, spotless apartment in New York City.


Cleaning (anything) doesn't have to be a chore or something where one pulls their hair out. Try to have fun.

Problems addressed:

Basically, she goes through the basics, gives a whole lot of information about how to clean different surfaces, floors, as well as what beauty things to use to remove stains, or gunk and so forth. (Don't worry, there are charts and instructions in the book.)

Summary of Content:

Not sure how to get bloodstains out or how to clean a floor or ceiling or even a car? Not even sure how to do laundry the right way or how to clean bathroom? Look no further but get this book which gives simple solutions to a lot of conundrums that people have. I do admit that its best read as a reference book or in a relaxing manner without a deadline glaring over one's shoulder.


"In this book we'll cover some basics and some not-so-basics. Both of which will be fun, I promise! The basics will be fun because once we're done here, you'll never again have to sit despondently looking at your only good pan that you've ruined ("ruined"-you didn't ruin it! You just don't yet know how to save it. But stick with me, kid, I've got you covered on that.) or a mop that you don't know how to use (actually? Don't bother learning. Mops are nasty and we'll get into why and what alternatives are.) And, while it may not sound so fun now, it will be AWESOME the first time you have a disaster and realize that, "wait a minute! I KNOW WHAT TO DO HERE! Oh my God, how did this happen?? THIS IS SO GREAT!" (Page xii)

Main points:
*The Kitchen: Clean it, or just set it on fire and be done?
*Cleaning floors, ceilings, walls, and other immovable things
*Le Pissoir (because these things sound fancier in French)
*Get rid of your ladies, seriously, they are revolting
*Here comes the bride, all dressed in...Oh dear, what's that on the bride's dress?
*Laundry. Just...So much laundry, you guys
*Pimp your ride
*The things you really can't ask Martha (or mom, for that matter!)

(It does come with the index by the way!)

Why Its interesting and informative:

I don't know much about house cleaning or laundry or anything else, thus I have to admit that this book is seriously a life saver for me! It also helps that the information is written down and I can go back over it if necessary. I do admit that a lot of it does tend to be overwhelming for me, but I was assured that the more I practice, the less overwhelming it becomes.

Supports thesis:

I don't know if its fun or not, but still, the sense of humor really caught me off-guard because I kept giving the author odd mental looks for being excited about something so...tedious. She does go into a great amount of detail about everything, from littlest to biggest, (literally) and whenever possible, she also makes charts which are helpful when trying to keep in mind what to use or not to use on a floor or counter top and so forth.

Addressing Issues:

I have to admit that old fashioned tips and ways of cleaning are dying out, and I doubt that many are familiar or even care much for cleaning. The book comes as a welcome because it doesn't require one to spend hundreds of dollars on different products and instead it offers simple solutions in one package. The book itself is also short.

Ideas in book vs larger ideas:

The cleaning process itself doesn't have to be done for hundreds of dollars, but instead less than that and many tips and advice in the book is interesting and will not require a huge amount of chemicals too, which is an encouraging fact because how many like being around chemicals?


Many of the things I've read in the book, I've asked my mom about them, which caused us to launch into an interesting discussion of the things she knows and doesn't know when it comes to the author's advice. I also imagine that many sections I'll find helpful as I journey through life.


While she does mention using some sources, she rarely credits the information with resources, although she did credit someone she knew when it came to cleaning the car, or a tip on how to remove lipstick from collar and so forth.


While not a breathtaking read that five star fiction is, it is very helpful and worthwhile to buy and keep and refer to it many times when one is faced with a cleaning problem. I also will mention that the book is best read slowly because I can promise that if you read it too fast, then you'll be overwhelmed by how much information she mentions.

Quick Notes: This is for TLC book tours 

Jolie Kerr’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, March 17th:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Tuesday, March 18th:  My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews
Thursday, March 20th:  Literate Housewife
Monday, March 24th:  Daily Mayo
Tuesday, March 25th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, March 27th:  Bookchickdi
Monday, March 31st:  2 Kids and Tired
Monday, March 31st: 5 Minutes for Mom
Wednesday, April 2nd:  A Novel Idea
Monday, April 7th:  A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, April 8th:  Bibliophilia, Please
Monday, April 14th:  Cici’s Theories
Wednesday, April 16th:  The Book Wheel
Thursday, April 17th:  Books a la Mode
Monday, April 21st:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

1 comment:

  1. I KNOW I would find lots of these tips useful! This book is definitely on my to-buy list.

    Thanks for being on the tour.


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