Title: All I Know Now
Author: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Genre: Memoir/self help
Date completed: January 12th 2016
Goodreads rating: 4 stars
We all know that growing up is hard to do, and sometimes the only thing that makes it better are the reassuring words of someone who has walked that bumpy road just a few steps ahead of you and somehow ended up as a fully-functioning adult. Carrie Hope Fletcher is that person.* Thanks to her phenomenally popular YouTube videos, Carrie has become an ‘honorary big sister’ to hundreds of thousands of young people who turn to her for advice, friendship and, most of all, the knowledge that things will get better.
Carrie has created a safe and positive space for young people to connect and share their hopes and concerns online, and now she will share her most personal thoughts and experiences in her first book, ALL I KNOW NOW. Part memoir, part advice guide, it will include Carrie’s thoughts on some of the topics she’s asked about most regularly: bullying, body image, relationships and perhaps the scariest question of all: what does the future hold for me? With warmth, wit and a sprinkling of hard-won wisdom, Carrie will provide the essential tools for growing up gracefully . . . most of the time.
*Although she did recently post a video about how to pee in a onesie. So the definition of ‘adult’ is a bit flexible here . . .
I stumbled across Carrie’s YouTube channel last week, and kind of became addicted. I’d heard her mentioned before, but I’m not really that into people who post covers on YouTube so I had sort of ignored her up until now. Big mistake. For those who don’t know, Carrie is a twenty-something year old Londoner who makes YouTube videos and has been playing Eponine in the West End production of Les Mis since 2013 (amongst other amazing things).
All I Know Now is Carrie’s first book (her second, a novel, is due to be released this year). It came into the world at a time when most ‘big’ YouTubers were releasing books of some sort, mostly autobiographies/memoirs, but also a few novels and graphic novels and the like. The ‘YouTuber author’ market is a hard one – people not as acquainted with the YouTube world tend not to take these books seriously, there are rumours of ghost writing and dishonesty abound, and a lot of people saying that YouTubers “don’t deserve to be writing books because they’re not as serious about writing as me” (I might touch on this another day). All I Know Now and Carrie herself, in my humble opinion, should be rapidly removed from this ‘YouTuber authors’ category, and plonked smack bang into the middle of the ‘real authors’ category. Whilst a book written for teenagers about how to be a teenager might sound a bit irrelevant to someone who is no longer a teenager, I honestly feel as though I’m a better person after listening to All I Know Now (I prefer to listen to autobiographies when they’re read by the author, it’s much more personal).
One of my favourite parts of the book was the way Carrie constantly reminded the reader that she wasn’t a professional, and that there were resources at the back of the book if they felt as though they needed someone to talk to. It was refreshing to have someone talk honestly about sex, drugs, drinking, smoking, bullying, body image and darker topics such as eating disorders, mental illness, and suicide. I think a lot of the time adults can forget that although teenagers aren’t yet adults, they can handle more than people think, particularly when the topics are things they have to deal with in one way or another every day.
Carrie rarely came off as ‘preachy’, instead providing suggestions of how teenagers (or people in general) could live a life that they were satisfied with, rather than what society/family/friends/school dictates.
Overall I really enjoyed All I Know Now, and would definitely recommend it to those of you who feel like you might be able to learn something from a bit of big sisterly advice.