Sunday, July 6, 2014

My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag...and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha

Book 37 of my 2014 Reading Challenge

My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag...and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha 
by Jolie Kerr

Summary (via the book jacket)
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 estoric (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.

My Opinion
I'm not familiar with Kerr's column but the catchy title and bright orange cover drew me in when browsing the 'New Books' section of the library.  Nice job marketing team! 

*insert joke about judging a book by its cover here*

The content of the book surprised me as well.  Again, since I'm not familiar with her column, I was expecting gross stories with a cleaning tip or two thrown in but actually, the book is 90% cleaning tips, 10% gross stories (statistics guesstimated by me; I didn't really calculate the tip/story ratio).

*insert joke about judging a book by its cover here*

So now that we've established that I had no idea what I was going to read before I read it, we can move on to the actual review.

It was very informative and Jolie has a great writing style that presents the information in an entertaining way that's not overwhelming.  She's also realistic, including how often things technically should be cleaned but also how often you should actually aim for.  I would definitely recommend this book to a beginning cleaner but be forewarned, there are definitely adult themes (cleaning "sexual stains" off your sheets, properly cleaning sex toys, wine mishaps, etc.).  

I'm not a beginning cleaner but I made notes of a few things as well, mostly time and/or labor saving tricks.  For example, include a pillowcase in your cleaning rags and when it's time to clean the ceiling fan spray the inside of the case with the product of your choice, wrap the blade in the case and then slide it off; all the dust will be caught in the pillowcase instead of flying everywhere.  Also, when treating a stain on a vertical surface (such as the shower), spray your cleaning product on and cover it with Saran Wrap, making a pocket that keeps the product on the stain and not running down the wall; I expect this to save me elbow grease when scrubbing the gunk that collects around our shower faucet and handles since it can now be 'pretreated' before I tackle it.  Maybe these tips were already well-known but I hadn't heard of them and found them, along with a few others, very helpful.

Who knew reading a book of cleaning tips could be so much fun?!?!

Quote from the Book
This isn't the sort of book that a quote can be pulled from, so I will say that I had no idea white vinegar had so many different cleaning uses, and I'm very thankful I didn't need the answer to the question someone had about cleaning her husband's frequent skid marks off their white sheets.

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