Never Push When it Says Pull

7th October 2005 at 01:00
Never Push When it Says Pull By Guy Browning Guardian Books pound;9.99

Ever wanted advice on how to say goodbye, read books and have a bath? Neither have I, and that's the basic charm of this pointless book. Guy Browning offers unnecessary advice on subjects as diverse as using a lift ("Many lifts work on the pressure you exert on the call button, so hitting it a hundred times will make it arrive a lot faster") to oral hygiene ("In order to floss efficiently you need to be able to fit both hands completely inside your mouth").

Unpicking the everyday, Browning manages to find absurdity in all his subjects. The book contains just over 100 short chapters, but each vignette manages to squeeze some fresh weirdness out if its subject. Homework is explained as one of the main reasons children are not available to spend quality time with their parents; the beach is a detention centre for holidaymakers. I tried to guess what twist might be coming but failed every time. Like good stand-up, the book is an exercise in snappy language, not one word wasted, and genuinely funny.

Huw Thomas is headteacher of St John's CE primary school, Sheffield

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