Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Review: All I Know Now - Carrie Hope Fletcher

By the time I finished my English Literature degree, I had countless lists of books I wanted to read for fun. Out of choice. Without anyone telling me to.

I would have liked to add to that ‘without having to analyse every tiny detail’, but unfortunately that’s an approach so deeply engrained in me, that it’s impossible to read  any other way!

Nevertheless, I knew I wanted to start off with something a little lighter than the Victorian poetry with which I’d finished off my degree. I wanted to read something positive, something chatty, and something written within the last decade at least. So I decided on Carrie Hope Fletcher’s non-fiction book, All I Know Now.

I had been watching Carrie Hope Fletcher’s videos for a while, and was continually impressed by the way that she could create such engaging content even from just chatting to the camera with a cup of tea in hand. My biggest hope with the book was that it would carry the same enthusiasm and compassion as her videos.

The book, as I understand it, was brought to life to be a continuation of her blog of the same name, on which she often posts advice both on her own accord and in response to the thousands of questions she gets asked by fans and viewers. Beyond this, I didn’t know much about the book before reading, besides the tagline: Wonderings and reflections on growing up gracefully.

All I Know Now is split into different chapters, or ‘Acts’ as they are labelled in the book, complete with an ‘Overture’ introduction and ‘Finale’ to finish off. Chapters cover topics from making friends and dealing with heartbreak to tips on how to not be an idiot on the internet. This topic-based chapters approach generally works well, and allows Fletcher to intersperse her advice with stories from her own growing up. I did find that the progression from chapter to chapter didn’t always seem entirely logical though; she would often mention something and then explain that she would be delving into that issue later on in another chapter. As a result of this the book sometimes felt a little repetitive and cyclical, rather than having clear and outlined progression.

One thing I had anticipated about All I Know Now was that it would be directed at a younger, and most likely school-age audience. Whilst it never feels like Fletcher is specifically addressing this age group in her videos, it is evident that the majority of people who post questions on her blog are of the younger generations. Although much of Fletcher’s advice could apply to anyone, nearly all of the anecdotes that came alongside were from her school days. Not that there’s anything wrong with this – but I wish I could have read this book while I was still at school!

What I loved most about All I Know Now was how Carrie Hope Fletcher’s voice and personality bursts out of the pages; you can imagine her saying every word of every line, and if you know her voice well enough she might as well be personally narrating the book to you. Who needs audio books? (Having said that, I believe you can get All I Know Now in audiobook format!).

Carrie Hope Fletcher is in the midst of writing a fictional book, called On the Other Side, which is to be published next July. I’m really looking forward to reading it; it’ll be interesting to how her fictional writing style compares…

Do you watch Carrie Hope Fletcher’s videos? Have you read All I Know Now? What did you think?

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