Book review: How to be a perfect stranger: the essential religious etiquette handbook

    Now in its 5th edition, How to be a perfect stranger is a unique and essential resource for the cross-cultural guest. Voted Best Reference of the Year, I highly recommend checking out this book at need. Anyone who is invited to a wedding or other service of a religion other than their own will be completely assured of their dress and behavior after consulting this terrific introductory resource.  Each chapter answers the questions in the essential checklist: How should I be dressed? What will happen during the service? What will happen after the service? Should I bring a gift? Will I be expected to participate in any way? In addition, there is a very brief history with a few main beliefs, a short description of a basic service, a section on holy days and festivals, then a section covering life events including marriages and funerals and specifying when and what gifts are appropriate. A final section on home events is included, although it doesn't apply in many instances. Certain sections vary in length due to the intricacy of a service or rite.
    Many different Christian groups are covered in the book, including African-American Methodist, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Seventh-Day Adventist, Baptist, Pentecostal, and more than a dozen others. In addition, other religions included are Native American, Baha'i, Buddhist,Hindu, Islam, Jehovah Witnesses, Jewish, Sikh, and Unitarian Universalist. One humorous note--every group was asked if people could or would contribute, and almost all said, while not necessary, a contribution of $1-$10 was appropriate.  The Baha'i, Christian Science, Islam,and Native American groups were among the exceptions--Baha'i do not permit non-Baha'i to contribute.  The others don't take up contributions.
    Two great features of the book are the contact information for a main organization and several resources to which one can go for more information. In addition, useful vocabulary and phrases are given along with descriptions of appropriate greetings in different circumstances. ~ Tessa Eger   5 out of 5 stars