Reviewing Youtuber books: Emma Blackery ‘Feel Good 101’

For those of you who don’t know already, I’m still what I would describe as fairly new to Youtube. I remember my sisters when they were younger (and still today to a certain extent) enthusing over their favourite Youtubers, and they even went to Summer in the City (while my mum and I strolled around London doing touristy things). But, I just never really got into the Youtube phenomenon in the same way they did. I only went to Youtube to listen to music and watch music videos- I also had seen the occasional viral video from there (but still far less than anyone else). A year or so ago however I decided to actually start to check out some more channels, as Youtube was now everywhere. To be honest, I’m not really sure who I first subscribed to but I think one of the first Youtubers I watched was grav3yardgirl through a recommendation from a friend, along with Zoella (if you’re British you just cannot not watch Zoella or escape her- don’t worry Zoella lovers I’m not slating her).

It did not take long before I became completely obsessed. As not only is there some amazing content out there but Youtubers and the way fans interact with them is something I also find fascinating from an academic perspective. We also live in a place now where people’s careers can be Youtube, and consequently recently there has been more and more controversy about sponsorship, affiliate codes and how much Youtubers earn. At the same time revenue from videos has decreased, and videos are becoming monetised less and less (and disturbingly a lot of videos with LGBTQ+ also became restricted). It’s not surprising then that a lot of youtubers have also brought out their own collaborations or products not only as a source of extra revenue, but because it’s something their passionate about and because their supporters want it.

When brands saw these ranges go well, suddenly they were everywhere. But with popularity becomes controversy. Zoella’s debut novel may have been the bestsellingย debutย novel ever, but it has been accused of affecting literacy levels, and more famously there was a massive controversy about the book being ghost written. Emma Blackery then in reaction to the outpour of Youtuber books initially hated the idea. However, with time she changed her mind, and felt that if those books made people happy, how could she get angry about that?

For those of you who don’t know Emma Blackery is a Youtuber and musician, who rose to fame initially for a series on her Youtube channel when she read out pieces from 50 shades of grey and critiqued the novel. Although, those videos eventually got taken down due to copyright claims; Blackery continued to make comedy videos and again went viral with her video ‘My Thoughts on Google +’. Recently, she released this book I’m about to talk about, and the artwork for her EP Magnetised was featured on Apple’s Keynote for the iPhone 8 and X.

However, let’s get onto the book. From the get go it’s obvious this book’s target audience is teenagers, which since that is generally considered to be the largest viewership group for Youtubers that’s hardly a shock. Plus, I picked it up in the teenage fiction section in Waterstones so if that doesn’t clue you in I don’t know what will.

Emma Blackery

Therefore, if you’re in your early twenties some of the advice and stories in this book, although they may help you reflect; are going to come a bit late for you. ‘The Brain Stuff’ section however is relevant whatever your age. We all need reminding sometimes to take better care of ourselves and look after our mental health- this book then is something that can be there when you’re feeling down and need that motivational reminder (without feeling like you’re being lectured to).

Also, for fans of Blackery there is no denying she wrote this book. It sounds and feels like she talks, which you’ll know if you’ve ever seen any of her videos. I can already predict how the audio book will sound in my head just from reading it. Prose wise this is not supposed to be something that is hard to follow, so it isn’t, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The section ‘Sex Talk’ is another highlight, especially for teenagers considering how sexuality and consent (at least when I had sex education) were not talked about properly in schools. I also like the way in which she talked about being able to categorise her feelings with the label ‘squish’ ย (a crush but without sexual desire) helped. I know a lot of people argue now that sexuality labels have ‘gone too far’ and are ‘redundant’, but when you live in a society that is so quick to categorise and define you, not having that definition available for you, for many people makes them think there is something wrong with them. Yes, in an ideal world it wouldn’t matter, and it’s nice that you don’t see gender (I’m going to be honest I think there are very few people who think this way just because the effect from society is so strong), but does that mean you should slate on something that helps other people? No, surprisingly, it doesn’t.

I also appreciated how Blackery made sure not to leave anyone out from the sexuality spectrum, including those who are assexual. While there was no talk about questioning your gender (from what I can remember, apologises if there is); Blackery cannot be expected to talk about everything (though I will admit maybe she should have explicitly stated this). She made it clear she was just talking about her experiences, and what she knew (that’s why in the back of the book there is helplines for people more specialised in that subject area).

I have always as well felt like honest experiences help more than well meant, but often misleading advice. Although, in one way I wish I could have read this in my teenage years; there was some chapters such as ‘Sex Talk’ that would not have applied, as Emma’s problems came from problems with crushes, and that would have involved me actually becoming involved in that area of my life.

The ‘Education (and making the most of it)’ section of the book is going to be painful for anyone who has gone to university. I don’t mean this as a disservice to Blackery, I mean it in the sense that the job market nowadays is hard (see my post Post University Panic for more) though I do think some of Emma’s CV tips are well worth taking a look at.

Overall, the book is half memoir, half advice. A quick guide to help you along in your teenage years by someone who can actually remember them. Not to say that’s its not still useful if you’re past twenty. The mental health section is definitely a must read (and as I mentioned there are also helplines at the back of the book to help with a variety of different issues). The book shows that Emma cares about her fans, and wanted to write something they could appreciate but would also hopefully be useful for them. That is something I can definitely respect.

So will I be reading sections of this again? Definitely. Do I regret buying this Youtuber’s book? No. And I think if you take anything from this review those two statements are definitely a good start.

The book is available to purchase from Waterstones, and Amazon (and I’m sure a variety of other places but those two are my favourite book buying sites). You can also get a audiobook of the novel from Audible.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and my future reading plans at the moment include ‘Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons’ by the Youtube sensation Dodie Clarkย (due out the 2nd November) and ‘The Rosewood Chronicles: Undercover Princess’ by Connie Glynn aka Youtuber, and cosplayer, Noodlerella (also out the 2nd November).

Let me know if there are any other Youtuber books (or products!) that you’d like me to review. I’d love to also do a Youtuber music series to accompany this as well, so drop me a line if that’s something you’d find interesting.

๐Ÿ‚April๐Ÿ‚

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May for me has been the month of heat. I am pale, freckly and by all rights should have been naturally a ginger so heat does not sit well with me. However, despite having to invest in a fan because my flat has absolutely no air circulation; May has seen a whole lot of new favourites be added to my list of things I love. Hence, why I thought I would join the monthly favourites train!

So without further ado here are my favourites for this month…

Sailor Moon Crystalย 

I’m incredibly late to the party with Sailor Moon but then again I’m kind of just incredibly late to the party with anime in general. However, I’m not going to lie I’ve always been a fan of the Sailor Moon aesthetic and I’ve watched what I would class as a few similar type shows such as W.I.T.C.H and Mew Mew Power.

I opted for Crystal because I knew it was a later incarnation of Sailor Moon, and I tried watching the original and found some of the commentary just that little bit dated. Also, from the few episodes I watched of the original Sailor Moon in comparison with what I’ve watched of Sailor Moon Crystal so far; Crystal is a lot more focused on the romance between Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask (which, I’m so going to force my boyfriend to cosplay as with me for October MCM). Though I may just have not got enough episodes into the original anime so someone please correct me if I’m wrong!

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 21.21.04Image: Sailor Moon Crystal/ Toei Animationย 

I can definitely see a bit of Buffy in Sailor Moon. Not only because she’s blond and has a brooding, dark haired handsome hero destined to be with her but because both Buffy and Sailor Moon are what society would deem as unlikely heroes. Though Buffy does kick a lot more butt (and generally has way better fight scenes). But like Buffy, Sailor Moon is the leader when she needs to be, and is not afraid to be the hero and be conventionally feminine at the same time.

I also like the way in which Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask look after each other, and save each other at various points (though Sailor Moon does fall off buildings and faint a lot). But yes, there are a few creepy romance moments รก la Twilight.

With my criticisms taken into account however I still enjoy Sailor Moon, and I’m the kind of person that actually enjoys the criticisms as the academic side of me then has something to talk and write about.

In regards to my other criticism I will briefly mention them here. One such criticism that I have is that it is concerning when you think of the actualย age of the characters compared to the age I argue they are depicted (though this is generally true of anime in general). Overall though the message of the show is quite mixed, and for beginners I think youย need to go in taking the positives (women saving the day) and negatives of the show (lack of people of colour, confusing messages about girl power).

I’ve seen people describe Sailor Moon as being a force of positivity and empowerment for them so I think everyone needs to remember that side of the show (after all, Tuxedo Mask doesn’t have powers; he usually sits back as the Sailor Scouts save the day) when criticising some of the other aspects of the show.

However, I have not mentioned the main criticism I have about the series (that actually I find useful to compare to Buffy), as I will discuss that in a separate blog post, as I want to avoid spoilers as much as possible for anyone who has not seen the series yet.

I also love the fashion of Sailor Moon, and am considering starting a fashion series talking about the shows I love that I think have some great fashion moments. Maybe starting with Sailor Moon Crystal, and then moving onto to Buffy (which I will do season by season).

This idea was also partly inspired by an article on Buzzfeedย about the fashion of Sailor Moon. As well as the amazing Twitter account Bad Buffy Outfits, which highlights some of the occasionally cringe-worthy 90s- early 00’s fashion on the show (not going to lie though I still love like 90% of it).

Also, before I finish talking about Sailor Moon I just wanted to mention that the images were sourced from this website, which someone took a lot of care and attention in getting the screenshots for, so be sure to check it out!

Dear White Peopleย 

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show. I haven’t finished it yet because my boyfriend has been *forcing* me to watch Parks and Recreation; but from what I have seen so far it’s ย brilliant. The massive irony being of course that all those people complaining about the title are completely wrong (which, we knew anyway) as the strength of the show is that is shows the viewpoints and perspectives of everyone within the debate.

For those interested you can check out the show on Netflix.

Dear White PeopleImage: Logan Browning as Samantha White on Netflix’s Dear White Peopleย 

Emma Blackeryย 

I know for most people Emma Blackery is a proper old school Youtuber but I’ve only just properly got into Youtube (I’m sorry please don’t kill me). I’ve been enjoying her videos because she’s just relatable and honest in a way I wish I could be. I know that she does care but she does such a great job of pushing past that and giving her opinion while also reflecting on her self. She has definitely got me into vlogs, something I hope to eventually do with this blog!

Also, in regards to her music, ‘Don’t Come Home‘ (from what I can gather I should point out that I am talking about the latest version) is definitely my favourite single from her.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 15.55.34Image: Emma Blackery in her ‘Don’t Come Home‘ videoย 

Paramore- After Laughterย 

First of all, for those who are old school Paramore fans like me, don’t getย me wrong I miss the more rock elements of Paramore but I don’t hate the new songs and their aesthetic. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to listening to the new album pretty consistently since it was released. The stand out tracks on the album for me are ‘Pool’ and ‘Rose Colored Boy’.

Paramore Told You SoImage: Paramore, ‘Told You So’ video (Hayley’s makeup and overall look is goals)ย 

Pop Figuresย 

So I finally bought my first ever POP figures at MCM London Comic Con!!!

Sailor MoonImage: April Wilson

Since Sailor Moon has become my new obsession I got a Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask POP! figure because I’ve always liked the idea of having the POP figures for the characters I have cosplayed or plan to cosplay.

However, I’m starting to feel a deep infinity to Sailor Venus/ Sailor Mercury so am considering changing cosplay plans but it’d be easier to source a Tuxedo Mask costume.

Nooderella

I’ve been a fan of the Youtuber Noodlerellaย for a while now but I’m mentioning her on my May favourites list because I had the opportunity to meet her at MCM London Comic Con where she signed one of her prints for me! I should have got a photograph but I was a bit too shy but if she is at comic con in October I am determined to get over my shyness and ask her.

I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the sweatshirt she is wearing in the print I bought and managed to find what I think is the same version (though it is a design I have found in different colours on a few websites so I’m not sure if the version I found is the original). I’d love to buy it but since it’s so hot at the moment I am struggling to justify it!

Image: @noodlerella/ Twitterย (the print I got is the second picture)

 

Geeky Cleanย 

I became aware of this company from seeing their stand at MCM London Comic Con. Basically, they sell geeky themed bath stuff and candles. And everything is vegan! I can tell you from first hand experience that their Butterbeer (which, is out of stock, and I am incredibly devastated) and Unicorn Breakfast candle smell divine.

They also offer monthly subscription boxes and this month’s box is Game of Thrones themed to celebrate the new season that is coming out in July. I’m planning to subscribe and do a review here so watch this space!

Image: @geekyclean/Instagramย 

So here’s my monthly favourites for May! Let me know if anyone is a fan of anything I’ve mentioned or has any recommendations of things they’d like me try and review for June. I’m already planning to finally invest in some Tsum Tsums because I’m obsessed with them!