Monday, 4 May 2015

All I Know Now - Carrie Hope Fletcher

This is the second book by a YouTuber that I have bought but it will be the first that I have ever reviewed! (The other book being Hannah Hart's cookbook cos I kind of love her and couldn't not get it). I've watched Carrie's videos for a good few years now and she just seems generally pretty lovely. I know you can never really know a YouTuber cos they show you an edited version of themself yadda yadda yadda, but what can I say, she seems like a nice person! I decided to preorder her book because I was interested to see what her writing would be like and to read the pearls of wisdom she had to offer. And I now have lots of thoughts on it to share with you guys.

First off, can we just take a moment to admire how intensely pretty this book is.  If you don't know what it looks like go have a google and ooh and aah over how very aesthetically pleasing it is. The yellow/purple colour scheme is gorgeous (I do love me some contrasting colours), when you remove the sleeve there is a cute design on the hardback itself, there are lots of cute little illustrations and the book is structured like a theatre programme. It is just an extremely enjoyable experience to read this book, regardless of the actual content. 

Secondly, I do have to acknowledge something about the book. I am not the intended audience of this. A lot of the book is focused on Carrie's life at school, from around age 11-14ish, and that is the age group I would say the book is targeted at. That's not to say I didn't enjoy reading this. It was entertaining and enjoyable and I had Carrie's voice in my head narrating it the whole time. It just wasn't very relevant to me. I'm pretty sure that Carrie's birthday is in the same academic year as mine, but regardless, we are a very similar age. As a result, the advice given in the book wasn't really applicable to me. Bullies and arguing with parents, and first relationships and all that jazz aren't things that I have to deal with any more. I can totally see how people in their first few years of high school will connect to and treasure this book. Twelve year old Sophie probably would have done! But twenty one year old Sophie ended up skim reading quite a bit towards the end because it just wasn't relevant to me. Again, that is not to say that the advice she is giving is not good. It is. It just didn't grip me to read it because it's all stuff I've kind of figured out for myself by now.

That's not to say I did not enjoy reading the book! There were a number of sections in particular that I really enjoyed. For example, I was particularly pleased to read the Birds and the Bees chapter and to see the way that she explicitly addresses the subject of sexual abuse. There has been a lot come to light recently about sexual abuse in the YouTube community and whilst that is awful and terrible, it has been good to see YouTubers acknowledge this and have the conversations that mean we can work towards making sure this doesn't happen again. Whether she feels qualified or not, Carrie is someone who a lot of younger teenagers look up to, so it is fantastic to see her use her influence to cover some of these topics that we do need to talk about more. Four for you Carrie, you go Carrie!

I hope this review doesn't sound too damning, because it's really not supposed to be! This was an enjoyable read! Carrie's prose style is engaging and characterful and, should she write any fiction books in the future I would definitely be interested in giving them a read. Whilst I didn't find the content super engaging throughout, there were some really great moments that I liked a lot. One of these being the idea of soul shrapnel, oh my gosh she has put into words something that I have definitely felt but never named before. It was a perfectly enjoyable read, and if you are a young teenager I would definitely recommend you give it a read!

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