If anyone knows her way around a party, its Pippa Middleton and she’s published a book about it. “Celebrate: A Year of Festivities for Families and Friends”
The ravishing little sister of Kate, the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge, has literally wined and dined with the royals. Not to mention the Middleton family business. Parents Carole and Michael are the founders of Party Pieces, a wildly successful British mail-order company. Party Pieces sells all manner of celebratory products, including stocking stuffers and birthday party supplies, and has netted the family a fortune. Middleton, 29, even works for an event-planning firm in London.
So, with all that she knows and all that shes seen in her fairly short lifetime, some have found it surprising that Middletons new party-planning book isnt exactly jam-packed with insightful tips and clever new angles on entertaining. Prettily photographed and probably something the Anglophile on your holiday gift list would like, “Celebrate” has nevertheless been taken to task for its content. The Telegraph, a popular London newspaper, notes that while the volume has been selling briskly in upscale London neighborhoods, it also has been criticized by customers for its simple approach, with Christmas tips including words of wisdom such as: Turkeys are perfect for feeding larger gatherings. A sampling of Middletons other tips, the website notes, include, For [childrens] parties, wrap a small gift. Sit everyone in a circle and ask them to pass the parcel and, on the topic of organization, Store cupboards, drawers or boxes should be packed full of useful odds and ends. Indeed, The Telegraph says British readers have called the book uninspiring, rubbish and insulting.
Then theres the fact that “Celebrate” is written for a British audience, and a specific one at that. Many of the highlighted holidays like Boxing Day and Guy Fawkes Day aren’t celebrated widely, or at all, in the United States. The fare including haggis, that Scottish dish featuring the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep or lamb may be, in the words of USA Today’s Maria Puente, either unfamiliar or off-putting to many Yanks.
“Celebrate” has inspired some backlash. A parody Twitter account (@pippatips) poking fun at Middletons party tips has already popped up. “The Irish Sun,” a daily tabloid and offshoot of “The Sun,” wrote, it is clear that by writing the book Pippa set out to prove that there is far more to her than her pert bottom.” Referring to Pippa’s clingy bridesmaid gown at the royal wedding, which caused a media sensation over her figure, they concluded, “the fact is, there isnt.
To be fair, Middleton has her defenders. The Telegraph, for example, points out that the book has received a warmer welcome across the pond in America and that a reviewer on the U.S. Amazon website called the book absolutely charming and delightful and followed that with, Thank you Pippa for this elegant and casual guide.
Though she’s done very little publicity for the book, to answer her critics, Middleton ran a first-person essay in The Telegraph. By penning “Celebrate” for which she received about $600,000, the website notes Middleton wrote, Celebrate, my book on entertaining, has been a labour of love. I have put my heart and soul into it, obsessing over every detail. Her goal, she says, was to create “something that people would have on their shelves for years; something that was not too fussy.”
Most could probably agree she has done just that.
Written by Marianne Posner