Tuesday, 4 April 2017

How To Be a Grown Up

review by Maryom

For any of you (and, yes, maybe that includes me too) who've ever wondered what the secret is to being an adult, here is Grazia "Agony Aunt" Daisy Buchanan to help. Daisy has made her share of mistakes, with jobs, love, sex, health, and, the biggest, most secret one of them all, money, and now she's drawing on those experiences to offer advice on the minefield that is 'adulting'.

Now a book offering advice on, well, anything, can easily be dry and lecturing in tone, but How To Be A Grown Up is far from that. Daisy offers her advice with a large dollop of humour, and isn't afraid to laugh at herself and her past mistakes, making for a fun, enjoyable read even if you feel you don't need her help. Sometimes her life reads like that of a rom com heroine - messing up at work, being unable to remember the 'night before' or falling for the wrong man, time and again - but along the way Daisy has come up with a plan for surviving adulthood.

 Although aimed primarily at 20-somethings, fresh out of university, and experiencing the world truly on their own for the first time, suddenly without the emotional or financial support of family or long-term friends, it's a book in which lots of us, of any age, could find useful advice. My route to adulthood was very different to Daisy's - I was married with a mortgage at 19, and my first child was born when I was 21 - so I never had wild careful years in my twenties. Even so Daisy's advice would have been helpful - particularly on learning to relax, take time out for oneself, and not dressing to impress or how you feel you 'should' dress, but aiming for something which expresses your individual style.

Obviously there's no simple answer to the problems we encounter in life, but merely knowing that we're not alone, that others go through the same things, suffer the same embarrassments, fears and doubts, can help in itself - it's believing that our problems are unique that often makes them crippling. I'm definitely not the target demographic, but I loved this book, above all because it's fun. Not all the advice will suit everyone (spending anything more than 5 minutes quickly washing my hair in the shower would seem like a chore to me, not a pleasure) but it will start you thinking about how you might take steps to improve your life.

There's only one snag - I think my teen may have been hoping that it would teach me how to be more dignified and less foolish, but actually it's reinforced my tendency to embrace my awkward, inappropriate side, and just be myself.

Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Headline
Genre - self-help, non-fiction

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