Review: How to be a Grown Up

I should start this review with a disclaimer: I am NOT the target demographic for this book. I’m way too old. However, I’m (just) young enough to remember the heady terrifying years of my twenties and now that’s thankfully all behind me, I can sit back and read this with an air of relaxation.

How to be a Grown Up is a positive manual for twenty-somethings navigating their way in the world. While it’s easy for the rest of us to mutter and talk about how there are worse things going on in the world these days, take a moment to think back and remember how important your problems seemed when you were 24. You’re finding your feet in an uncertain world and, let’s face it, the current crop of young people face a precarious situation in employment and housing. So a handbook on how to deal with relationships, parents, jobs, friends and so on would be pretty useful. I think I’d have benefited from this.

Daisy Buchanan is Grazia’s agony aunt, as well as having all kinds of experience writing for magazines and her writing style reads straight off their glossy pages. This makes it readable, funny and relatable. She’s written a friendly this-is-how-i-ballsed-this-up-learn-from-me kind of book, with the help of a few experts thrown in. Let’s face it, we all like those kind of stories don’t we? So reading this is like chatting with a friend you’ve not seen for a while and really gossiping and delving deep into each other’s mistakes.

Chapters include:

  • Confidence
  • Work
  • Loving your body
  • Sex
  • Clothes
  • Parents
  • Money
  • How to deal with mistakes, mental health issues and being sad

There are more. In between some of these are ‘A Few Words about…’ which contain advice on panic attacks, masturbation and, I found most importantly, how to wash your hair. This one is great advice which I have immediately started doing and am thrilled by the results. *tosses hair back in dramatic fashion*

Perhaps there is little that’s new here from what we have been reading in advice columns for years, but the tone is friendlier than many books often are. Buchanan is frank about mental health problems and body confidence issues, both of which seem to be mostly ignored in so many publications. Her advice is simple – learn to love yourself and the rest will follow. Easy to say. But the tone makes you believe you can do it. Even the subtitle of the book is encouraging ‘You’re Doing Fine and Let Me Tell You Why’ is basically – you’re not alone, we’ve all been there and know the way out attitude.

The light tone masks some of the serious subjects, and there’s a couple of things missing that perhaps she could cover in a future volume. (I know I’d have found something about recognising emotional abuse helpful when I was in my twenties.) But this is nit picking and on the whole, I thought this was a useful addition to the canon of advice lit out there. Buy it for the twenty-somethings or nearly twenty-somethings you know.

How to Be a Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan is published on 6 April 2017 by Headline Books. Thanks to Headline (and Georgina Moore) for the review copy.

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