Book Review: How to Write Good by Ryan Higa

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Title: How to Write Good
Author: Ryan Higa
Publication Date: May 30th 2017

Synopsis: "I know you're used to seeing me on the Internet, but here I am, coming at you in book form. You might be asking yourself, A book? You? Why?
Great question! Why did I write a book?

Listen, I'm as surprised about it as you are.

But I have a story to tell that I believe will help inspire people who are going through tough times. And I couldn't be the only YouTuber without a book, could I?
So, welcome to Ryan Higa's How to Write Good, by me, Ryan Higa.

This is the story of how I went from being a relatively happy kid to being depressed and angry and filled with dark thoughts. This is also the story of how I found my way back to a happier life.

But wait, there's more! You're not only getting my story - you'll also learn how to write good well, from a college dropout who struggled in basic-level English classes and still became a legit, published Best Sailing Author. (That isn't a typo. I plan to buy a boat one day ...but probably not anytime soon. This book might not cell good.)"

My thoughts: This book is quite short, about 200 pages, and also has quite a few comic-style sections, so you can quite easily get through it in one or two sittings, if you'd like. It tells the story of Ryan Higa's middle school years, and how he dealt with bullying and what sounds a lot like depression (though I wouldn't recommend making diagnoses from a book). The tone is relatively light given the dark matter, as Higa comes across as someone who prefers to use humour as a way to cope with hard times, and also as a way to dispel tension.

The comics work really well in this, and you can definitely hear Higa's voice coming through. I have watched his YouTube channel for quite a few years now, and you can definitely hear him telling you these things whilst reading. However, I'm not sure I really understand the format they used here - learning how to write well whilst hearing his particular story. It just doesn't seem to combine very well, and I found certain parts just kept jarring me out of the story. 

Also, I feel like Higa's story - whilst one that I was definitely interested in and deserves to be told - wasn't really explored as much as it could have been. At the end of the book I was left a little confused, wondering about some things he had mentioned but never fully explored, and feeling a little like the first half of the book was almost like 'filler', before he actually got down to the crux of the story. I want to know about this story, but it was told in a way that felt a little choppy and not that descriptive.

I liked the humour, and chuckled a little during reading, and the artwork in this is fantastic. Higa's personality shines through well, despite the choppiness of the plot, and I had a fairly nice time with this, all things considered. I think read it if you are a Higa fan.

{I received a review copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!!}

Rating: 6/10

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