My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As Joss Whedon so rightly said, “High school is, among other things, … always, always about power.” (From here.)
And as ABBA said: “The Winner takes it all.”
Two drastically different authorial voices but both, I think, bearing relevance to any discussion of Holly Bourne’s searing set in school drama ‘The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting’. And oh, how I devoured this vicious, witty, bitchy, heartbreaking book. I always know it’s a good sign when I want to cancel everything I’m doing to to read something and that’s exactly what happened with this.
The Manifesto… is the story of Bree. Bree is a writer, writing moody and painful stories which are being steadily rejected by publishers. When she’s told that she needs to start living her life, she decides to do exactly that. She changes herself and documents every step of the journey on her blog: The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting. She’s going to become interesting. Whatever the cost
I loved this and I think one of the key reasons why I loved it (apart from Bourne’s lovely style – though I’d like it if it was pared back at points) is that Bourne takes it all so seriously. She treats this drama with the respect it deserves. School can be so horrible (so horrible) at times and it’s hard to understand that when you’re not in it. When you’re living your life your way and not living it the way that you think everyone else wants you to live it. See that last sentence? That’s school right there; complicated, contradictory and bloody hard work. Bourne gets that. She gets that so well and I’m this far from singing my praise for this book from the hills.
A couple of last things to note: the design of this is gorgeous and the book itself does deal with some themes which may prove difficult for some, so as ever if you’re intending to have this in a library context, I’d recommend a read and a familiarisation of yourself with the text. What is also worth noting is that Bourne deals with these themes with a poignant, sympathetic and supportive grace. It is not a book which leaves you alone in the shadows.