Book review – How to Write Good (Spoiler Free)

“I’ve always set my expectations low and then been pleasantly surprised when a video did well. I’ve found that this is the best way to avoid being disappointed: Lowball yourself in life, and you’ll be fine.”
― Ryan HigaHow to Write Good

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  • Title: How to Write Good
  • Author: Ryan Higa
  • Genre: Non-fiction
  • Pages: 224
  • Publication date: May 30th, 2017
  • Publisher: Little Brown Books

Ryan Higa, who I have watched on YouTube for years, wrote a book with all the other ten or so Youtubers who wrote a book at the same time. (It’s like they planned it.) But Ryan brought a new, interesting perspective that I had never thought about before: mixing comic strips with written chapters.

Each chapter had the same format. They began with a small section about how to write a non-fiction story. If you are interested in writing non-fiction, I suggest looking it over. He gives good pointers in each chapter. The next part in the chapter goes over his actual story about how he became the famous YouTuber we all know and love. After that, comic strips give the story some humor. These comic strips show conversations about where his story should go between him and his ghost writer.

The comic strips and writing tips worked and didn’t. I felt like I was pulled in and out of the story three times each chapter. I liked what each section brought and their purpose, but most of the transitions didn’t feel smooth. I was pushed into three different stories: Ryan’s teaching class, Ryan’s past, and Ryan trying to write a book. It was as if the book was three narratives squished into one. I will admit that I saw how they connected. Each of them had a purpose of telling what Ryan was doing, but I didn’t want to be told what was happening. I wanted to be shown.

Perhaps it’s the English major in me who’s already taken a non-fiction class, but I didn’t like Ryan’s teaching section at the beginning of each chapter. Perhaps they’d be more informative for writers who are just starting out, but it was all obvious writing tips. For example, one of them spoke about introducing the main character by “showing” who the main character is. But, after writing for so long, I’ve known this for years. Those tips also gave too much foreshadowing into each chapter too. Like, with the chapter I mentioned above, I realized the whole chapter is there just to expand Ryan’s character. I felt as if he was telling what the chapter will be about before showing it to me. I think the book would’ve worked better, for me at least, without those informative sections.

Besides those two things, the book is good. The creativeness of all his jokes and the comic strips were interesting and entertaining. Even if those comic strips did jar me, I was still looking forward to them each time. Ryan’s story of not fitting in with some bullies is something I could connect to well. There’s also hidden jokes throughout that are well done. One of those is by the numbers at the top of the pages. (Which, by the way Ryan, I noticed those in an instant and kept reading them to the end.) I do recommend this book. It has a good pace and is quick read with only 208 pages.

 

Score: 8.5/10

Average rating on Goodreads: 4.37/5

Get the book here!

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