Femme bookend: I See Rude People

Amy Alkon (McGraw Hill) €16.05

Lucille Redmond

Don't we all?

Yes, but Amy Alkon, 'Advice Goddess' of Good Morning America, The Today Show, MTV, etc, sees them like the kid in The Sixth Sense says: "I see dead people".

They haunt her?

Seemingly. One story is about her battle with Bank of America after a toothless fat African-American claimed to be skinny redhead Amy. Seven withdrawals later -- one in Texas (Amy's in California) -- she was down $12,000.

Now that's rude.

The bank failed to help her find the fraudsters, she writes, then the letters from credit card companies thanking her for her 'application' started. A privacy researcher told her she could be legally responsible for crimes committed using her faked ID.

Madness! What did she do?

She got her boyfriend Gregg -- researcher for detective novelist Elmore Leonard -- on the job. He and others easily withdrew money using inadequate ID and blurry signatures.

Couldn't happen here, right?

Amy also rails against people who share their lives in mobile phone calls on buses and in cafes and shops. "Just because you have a self doesn't mean you have to express it," she tells them.

And online boors?

Amy describes step-by-step how she tracked down people using their work computers to abuse her online, and rang them at work.


Amy actually succeeded in getting money out of them -- she put herself on the 'Do not call' register, and when telemarketers called her, she traced them, and charged them for her time.

My hero.

She's a decent skin -- she saw a citizen bargaining street artist Gary Musselman down to a tenner and blogged about it, illustrating the story with his work. A day later he had sold $1,500 worth of art, had a free legal service and his own blog.

Worth a buy?

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll grind your teeth with rage. Very worth it.