Etiquette for the End of the World by Jeanne Martinet

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.

Tess Eliot has just been fired from her job writing a newspaper column and is down on her luck.  The only job she can find is working for a fringe Doomsday “cult” that wants her to write a book about how transition to a world where it’s important to learn how to navigate without our modern day amenities and think more about personal survival and where our next meal is coming from.  Desperate, she takes the job even though she thinks the group is made up of harmless nutjobs.  She even starts to see the handsome fundraiser for the group, despite her intuition that something about him is off, including his request that she help him with his fundraising efforts by researching possible end of days causes and overinflating their significance and probability.  While doing so, she stumbles upon someone with information about a manmade disaster that could really happen if it were to fall into the wrong hands.

This book was kind of slow to start, it took me several days to commit to reading, but once I got into it, it really flowed and I didn’t want to put it down to go to bed.  I think my main issue was with the cynicism of Tess.  I mean, sure, the End of Days Mayan prophesy is a bit farfetched, but her attitude kind of irritated me.  When she started to write the book, she became more open minded.  Not that I think it’s a possability, but her initial meeting with the group, she went in thinking “these people are completely delusional” and I wish she would have had a different mindset. 

There were several side plots of the book that really fleshed out the story.  I don’t know why, but whenever a book is less than 300 pages, I expect it to be pretty straightforward without many ancillary stories, but the other plots really explained a lot about Tess and made her more real.  I particularly liked Harriet, Tess’s mentor and former boss.  She was a riot. 

In the end, it was funny, especially Tess’s advise in her book.  There were a lot of unbelievable parts, like the plot she stumbles upon, but I was willing to overlook that, especially considering how it all played out in the end. 

Pecans: 3.5/5


One thought on “Etiquette for the End of the World by Jeanne Martinet

  1. Candice October 18, 2012 at 10:28 am Reply

    Sounds like a cute one! I love the cover too. 🙂

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