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Book Review 

By Sheri Boggs

One of the great things about getting older is that sooner or later it becomes less about how you look than what you can do. Sure, it might be nice to have red highlights, a flat stomach or a great pair of shoes. But what are the attributes we really come to appreciate? That's right. The ability to uncork a bottle of champagne without putting out anyone's eye, a working knowledge of where the "red one" and the "black one" go when you're jumping a car battery and an innate capacity for keeping green, pot-bound things alive.

30 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do Before Turning 30 describes itself as "Competence. Now in convenient book format." Author Siobhan Adcock understands that although most of us can handle the big stuff -- buying a house, starting a business, embarking on marriage -- this book covers all those little things you take for granted until you're in a position where you wish you'd learned how to, a) dance a "slow dance," b) start a successful campfire or c) perform the Heimlich maneuver.

The "30 things" of the title are well-chosen. Some are basic (for instance, holding a baby, wrapping a present and sewing a button). Others, like "hold your liquor" and "help someone out of a car," are surprisingly insightful.

While the information supplied here is both flawless and meticulously detailed, the real reason to buy this book is for Adcock's witty, engaging commentary.

"Don't put plants next to anything you yourself wouldn't like sitting next to for any lengthy amount of time: a heating vent, an air conditioner, a cold window pane, a draft, a radiator, a litter box, a two-year-old..." she writes. Other entries have such an air of "I have so been there," experience, they're worth reading for the commiseration element alone. "At a service station or garage, lug nuts get taken off and put back on with hydraulic tools. All you've got is a funny looking wrench," she notes in the "how to change a flat tire" chapter. "Cars are whizzing by you, possibly honking, possibly with angrily waved fists coming out the windows. Changing a flat tire rules!"

And what if you don't have time to read the book but you want to see how you rate on your basic skills? All 30 things are conveniently listed right on the back.

Publication date: 08/07/03

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