Monday 29 June 2015

All I Know Now - Wonderings And Reflections On Growing Up Gracefully - Book Review


Written by Carrie Hope Fletcher

Growing up, she was the youngest sibling of two. But today Carrie Hope Fletcher is a virtual big sister to thousands of young girls across the world.

A stage star – currently she is an acclaimed Eponine in London’s Les Miserables – Fletcher is also a hugely successful YouTube vlogger, with a wildly loyal fanbase. On top of this she is a songwriter, illustrator and now, a published author. 

Bursting with creativity and a genuine desire to pass on some invaluable advice to younger people facing the same issues growing up (be it dealing with school, chasing success or feeling comfortable in their own skin), she has put together an incredibly useful book. It feels slightly ironic that, for someone who has built a large part of her career online – where every question can be answered by Google – that she has felt the need to create a book. But it proves absolutely the right thing to have done, for Fletcher applies a ‘big sisterly’ filter to the information that teenagers and young people are bombarded with, all day, every day.

The book is structured, cleverly, in the form of a stage show. The contents page is renamed ‘Programme’ and the chapters ‘Acts.’ She flies through a whole range of topics – friendships, love, the internet and more – drawing advice from her own experiences. 

What is interesting is that, in the beginning, the book is quite strongly geared towards teenagers, reflecting upon experiences drawn from the school environment. However, as the book progresses, its appeal broadens to older people with Fletcher fiercely advocating a principle of "following your dreams". She attributes her own incredible success to the fact that she has always had a goal in mind and has put in the work to reach it. Her advice in this area could apply to anyone, regardless of their age.    

All I Know Now is also, in parts, a study of social anthropology, exploring how humans operate. Fletcher recognises that whilst we are all incredibly complex characters, we each crave friendships, security and love – and she supplies tips that are both witty and useful for how best to navigate the various relationships we all have. 

Fletcher's enthusiasm and passion for life is contagious. The words spill out of her, alternating between very short thoughts and longer streams of consciousness. You can tell that she truly wants her fans and readers of the book to take on board what she is sharing. 

Above all, Fletcher comes across as an incredibly lovely and sweet girl, who wears her heart on her sleeve and who wants to share what she has learned about life. And, particularly in a world where honesty is to be applauded, Carrie Hope Fletcher deserves a standing ovation.

Reviewed by Bhakti Gajjar

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