Humor and wisdom on the upbringing of today's young--in Miss Manners' own tart, serenely assured manner. ""New social forms require new rules of etiquette, and the current rage for divorce as a source of human drama has inspired Miss Manners to set laws for the exchanging of children. . . . Her position is that anyone who is mature enough to get divorced ought to be able to behave; and that anyone regularly possessed by uncontrollable feelings ought not to have the custody of small children."" Is it proper to pick godparents (in lieu of grandparents) as prospective guardians? How can a slightly disabled child explain her inability to shake hands? What about the ""empty nest""--as a repository for childhood possessions? as an open-door refuge? Miss Manners answers more traditional questions too--often complicated, however, by age-and-value conflicts. A bride-to-be is plagued by her mother-in-law's insistence that it's her duty, ""period,"" to thank people for wedding gifts. Noting that ""both ladies and gentlemen"" once devoted themselves to social duties, Miss Manners writes: ""Here is a brilliant suggestion. You write to his family's friends, and have him write to yours."" From page to page, chapter to chapter, advice runs the gamut from common behavioral problems (""the ludicrous question of the length of her fingernails"") and real emotional issues (counsel to a nine-year-old, excluded from an eleven-year-old's birthday party) to responses in cockeyed situations. Children can read it, in place of today's clamorous, droopy juvenile fiction. Parents can read and heed it, without breaking faith with the child psychologists. Anyone can read it with amusement, recognition, and more twinges of feeling than Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.