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.”

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

Ryan Higa wrote a book with all the other ten Youtubers who wrote a book at the same time. (It’s like they planned it.) But Ryan brought a new perspective: mixing comic strips with written chapters.

Each chapter had the same format. It began with a small section about how to write a non-fiction story. If you are interested in writing non-fiction, look it over. He gave good pointers in each chapter. The next part went over his actual story about how he became the famous YouTuber we all know and love. After that, comic strips gave the story some humor. These comic strips showed conversations between him and his ghost writer.

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

Maybe it’s the English major in me, but I didn’t like Ryan’s teaching section. They’d be more informative for writers who were just starting out, but it was all obvious writing tips. For example, one mentioned introducing characters by “showing” who the main character was. But, after writing for so long, I had known this for years. Those tips also foreshadowed each chapter too much. For example, with the chapter I mentioned above, I realized the whole chapter was there to expand on Ryan’s character. I felt as if he was telling what the chapter would be about before showing it to me. The book would’ve worked better, for me at least, without those informative sections.

Besides those two things, the book was good. The creativeness of 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 well with some bullies was something I could connect to well. I would recommend this book. It had a good pace and was a quick read with only 208 pages.

Score: 7/10
Average rating on Goodreads: 4.37/5

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