If I were to write my own auto-biography cum advice book, it would end up fairly similar to All I Know Now. Of course some names would change, as would some situations, but the basic essence of the book would be the same.
In All I Know Now Carrie Hope Fletcher, self-pronounced Honorary Big Sister to thousands of teens across the globe, writes about her experience of going from teenager to adult. Now, I say self-pronounced as Carrie, realising that her YouTube and Tumblr were gaining a lot of popularity, decided that rather than be a role model, she wanted to be more pro-active in helping all those looking for guidance in their own lives, hence the Big Sister title. She performs this role admirably and the book is crammed full on advice on how to be a teenager/decent human being.
Although I am not within the age demographic for this book, I wanted to read it as I very much enjoy Carrie’s vlogs. She is witty, widsomful and just a bit wonderful. I first discovered her videos when I had the flu over Christmas. It is no secret that I love McFly, and Carrie is Tom’s younger sister. Having watched all the videos on his channel, I thought I would peruse Carrie’s, as she featured occasionally in Tom’s vlogs. Previously, I had avoided the social media accounts belonging to the friends and families of the band because I didn’t want to be one of those fans. However, as I lay there in bed, in pain and miserable, I found that Carrie was making me smile through her videos. She quickly stopped being Tom’s Sister and became Carrie Hope Fletcher; talented and successful in her own right.
As for the book itself, though it is aimed at those currently going through “the Teen Age”, as Carrie puts it, it is a worthwhile read for anyone. After I put the book down (having read it non-stop all day) I felt really positive. The book has everything from kisses and compliments to complaints and careers. And while many of us folk in our 20s might already be past the first kiss advice stage, we can certainly benefit from other advice Carrie gives out. Things such as how to handle yourself on your first day at a new job and learning to admit our mistakes are appropriate for everyone.
I really only have two, very small critiques. First, the sentences were quite long. Having watched Carrie’s vlogs, I know that this is her conversational style, and it works for the book. However at first it was a little jarring before I settled into the rhythm of the narrative. If someone has a short attention span (like me) you may forget the start of the sentence before you get to the end. And yes, I realise that this is a fairly petty criticism.
The second critique is much closer to my heart, and it pains me something awful to know that there is still such a stigma attached to this issue. Slytherins. I myself am a proud Slytherin. I have also been told many times how nice I am. In the chapter where Carrie talks about people being good and bad, she says this:
“But a mistake is defined as an act of judgement that we later realise was wrong and if it takes one mistake to render us an entirely bad person, one mistake to make us switch houses and become a Slytherin gone rogue then every person on this planet would be not just a Slytherin but a Death Eater.” (p186)
Now, Carrie has a chapter on stereotypes, and advises people not to be judgmental. Yet, I do think that with comments such as the one above she may want to follow her own advice. I know it is an analogy, but we Slytherins aren’t bad people. Death Eaters, yes, Slytherins, no.
I hope that people realise that this is tongue-in-cheek.*
In regards to my favourite thing about this book, well it is hard to pick just one. At first I thought that it was the feel of it- I don’t know why but it is such a wonderful weight in the hand. It is so balanced and the pages are so soft. You will have to pick up a copy to know what I mean. Or it could be how colourful it is; the cover under the dust jacket is covered in yellow and purple stars and hearts and the pages are scattered with illustrations done by Carrie herself. But I think, overall, my favourite thing is just how real it is. At no point do you feel like Carrie is exaggerating or embellishing her stories, and it feels wonderful to go on this journey with her. It’s just like having a new best friend, or rather a new Big (or little in my case) Sister.
*It would be nice if people stopped being looked down on for being sorted into a fictional (albeit wonderful) group. Particularly as we just want to enjoy the fandom as much as anyone else, and for some being sorted was literally the first time we felt at home! I could discuss this for ages, maybe another time! =D