This is my first non-fiction book, so I’m a little unsure of how to review it! It’s Carrie’s life after all! But, I did have a few thoughts while reading the book, so while this might not be the most conventional review, I thought, seeing as a lot of people will probably get this book, that it might be nice to hear some opinions from a slightly critical fan.
1. Carrie’s book is divided into sections, called ‘Acts’, part of the extended theatre metaphor. If you’re looking for advice on friendships, she’s got it. If you’re looking for advice on anything from romance to online safety, it’s pretty much covered in ‘All I Know Now’. I loved the range of topics and the different layouts within the book of numbered lists of tips, mixed with anecdote story-telling.
2. Carrie makes multiple references to how she isn’t in any professional position to be giving advice. I think this was a very important point for her to make, and the ‘Props’ section at the back of the book, with a bunch of helpline numbers is bound to help someone! However, this non-professional stand point meant that a lot of the advice given about friendships and bullies and such was quite generic. She was trying to cater for a large audience, so couldn’t get too specific, but a lot of what she was saying (take the chapter titled ‘Onions’) was all the type of stuff I’d heard before. It’s great that people are probably more likely to listen to general life advice if it comes from Carrie, the ‘honorary big sister’, but I’ve heard a lot of it from my real life sister too, before I read Carrie’s book.
3. I definitely think ‘All I Know Now’ is targeted to a younger audience, just because Carrie spends a lot of the book, giving advice about her teenage years. As a girl who’s nearly 18, I was still able to get something out of it, especially in the body image/self-esteem part, but nearly, I’d say the advice was for fourteen year olds, on the majority. This is facilitated by the fact Carrie’s anecdotes usually take place when she was eleven to fourteen.
4. Being that this book is marketed to Carrie’s ‘Hopefuls’, I was surprised at how repetitive the content was with her videos! All the same stories were written about, like the inflatable penis prank, and the running from a bear. Surely, the ‘Hopefuls’ would be acquainted with these stories already? In that case, I’d recommend this book more to those who aren’t familiar with Carrie’s videos, as they’re likely to get more out of the experience. Although, on the jacket sleeve, it does say that ‘All I Know Now’ is a culmination of videos and blog posts that already existed, I was expecting the repetition to that extent.
Overall, ‘All I Know Now’ was an interesting read. Carrie was very successful in creating a relationship with the reader and her colloquial style of writing was enjoyable. I think the recipe for Carrie’s advice was to give a piece, then qualify it with the two different sides of the argument, so not to cause controversy. Sometimes this neutral way of giving advice would detract from its value. My favourite part was probably Act Three and Act Seven! I give ‘All I Know Now’ three stars, because I think it would have been better if I wasn’t already familiar with the content: the advice and the anecdotes!