From the publisher:

This book is about how to finally give up on feeling bad about yourself and discover the best person you can be.

An interactive experience, How to Be You invites you to make the book your own through activities such as coloring in charts, answering questions about how you do the things you do, and discovering patterns in your lives that may be holding you back. Through Jeffrey’s own story of “growing up fabulous in a small farming town”–along with the stories of hero/ines who have transcended the stereotypes of race, age, and gender–you will discover that you are not alone, can deepen your relationship with yourself, and find the courage to take a leap that will change your life.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

First things first: How to Be You is definitely not right up my usual alley. It’s not fiction (it’s a self-help exploit with an edifying dash of autobiography), and it’s not YA (well, maybe it is a little, but it’s a middle grade venture at soul). With my two cut-and-dried literature cornerstones notably absent, the amount of bookish enjoyment anyone is guaranteed to get out of this volume is questionable right off the bat. That being said, Jeffrey Marsh does eventually prove to redeem himself. He pulls through with the help of some hilarious one-liners, spontaneous artwork, and legions of drama.

A lovely innovative concept from which many self-helps could likely benefit, the interactive piece is well done and probably the best part of the book. As a former earnest advocate of personality quizzes and crayons, I self-professedly enjoyed the colouring and fill-in-the-blanks.

Furthermore, Marsh’s personal anecdotes were unbelievably trying; my kudos go to him for enduring them and walking away all the stronger. If nothing else, they will remind you that if he could withstand his own demons,  you can doubtlessly survive whatever trials you’re currently facing.

It’s obvious that this book is intended for a younger audience. It reads easily and repetitively; Marsh reiterates each and every one of his messages over and over again, as if his use of different wording would obliterate the previous occasions from your memory. Fortunately, although occasionally vexatious beyond belief, this signifies that there is effectively no way one could escape How to Be You without some level of understanding.

It’s not perfect– there is such a thing as too much Wonder Woman to achieve any semblance of perfection– but I’m sure it’s all aces in its own niche. Whether or not that particular niche is for you is up in the air. Recommended to desolate youths seeking inspiration and all those wholly fed up with Chicken Soup for the Soul.


I’ll keep you posted,

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