'How To Be A Grown Up' Book Review: Thank god it's not just me
Let’s get this out of the way, Daisy Buchanan’s ‘How To Be A Grown Up’ isn’t‘War And Peace’. This is a book that can be read in a weekend, but it is also a book that, if you are anything like me, you will underline passages of and write ‘remember!’ beside. It’s an easy read that you want to send a copy of to your best friend, and your sister, and your mum. It’s a book that ultimately, makes you feel a lot less alone, and a lot less like a failure in this confusing fast-paced world.
Divided in to chapters such as ‘How to be confident’, ‘How to have sex’ and ‘How to manage money’, Buchanan’s first book is a humble and practical guide, full of hints and tips from her, and her friends, on how to get on in the world of ‘grown ups’. This part memoir, part self-help guide for ‘adulting’ as a millennial, leaves me feeling ‘Thank god it’s not just me’.
I have just turned 30 and much like Buchanan I thought that by this grand old age ‘success and happiness were supposed to float towards me like a drink on an inflatable coaster in the Club Tropicana video’. Instead, like many of my female peers, I feel tired and battle-scarred and terrified of what I have learned along the way. The prospect of pain and a difficult life seem far more real now than they ever did in my naïve and optimistic twenties. No one ever tells you that you will never really feel like a grown up, in fact the older you get the less you seem to know, but Buchanan has written a book that might make the whole experience a little easier.
Buchanan guides us through her twenties, where we hear honest stories about binary banking boyfriends, miserable jobs in PR and discovering the joys of masturbation. She writes openly and with heart about her struggles with an eating disorder, a sexual assault, panic attacks, self-confidence and how to properly wash her hair; and as she learns, so do we. No topic is too big or too small as feminism, the patriarchy, and how to get dressed in the morning are all broached with humour and a remarkable insight into the female mind.
This is not a twee self-help guide for the over-sensitive snowflake generation. Instead Buchanan is unapologetic, honest and occasionally outrageous in her advice on how to deal with it all. It’s refreshing to hear that sometimes just existing in the world is a challenge; trying to keep more than E100 in our bank accounts at the end of the month, while remembering to change our bed-sheets before they start to smell and trying to not eat crisps every day on the way home from work. You are not alone, as Buchanan writes ‘You are not a goon among great minds. Every single one of us is a goon- hoping and praying that we don’t get found out. And as you get older, you start to believe that just being is enough and you don’t have to wait for your perfect life to start’.
The forthright storytelling and relatable advice, combined with smatterings of nostalgic references that any child of the eighties will relate to (hello Sugababes concerts, Sun In accidents and Ariel hair aspirations) leaves you, when you put down this book, with a feeling of, ‘Do you know what, it’s all going to be all right’.