Review: The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne

The Manifesto on How to be Interesting Holly Bourne

My Mum got me this book for Valentine’s Day (if she didn’t get me a Valentine’s Day present then who would) and I’ve been reading a couple of chapters a day since then. Most of the chapters are only a few pages long so they’re quick to get through – something I really appreciate. The story is told in third-person and follows the life of Bree who is a wannabe author with a growing pile of rejection letters from publishers. When she asks her teacher for advice on how to be a good writer, he essentially tells her that she needs to become more interesting. So Bree begins writing a blog called ‘the Manifesto on How to be Interesting’ where she writes about how she joins the popular crowd and gets a life that’s worth writing about.

Dean Awesome gif

Okay, I haven’t described it that well. I thought it was better than it sounded. I’ll start with the characters first though. Bree’s okay. She’s a good character – one minute I love her, the next minute I want to slap her round the face. I don’t agree with every decision she makes which is the way it’s supposed to be. She can also be so pretentious that it’s difficult to read about and sometimes just plain irritating. But she’s also honest and interesting (ha) to read about. Then there’s Holdo, Bree’s best friend who doesn’t actually play that much of a part in the story. Which is just as well because I couldn’t stand him. He was so annoying and had an ‘I’m-better-than-everyone-else’ attitude which unfortunately is given to most ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ characters now and I’m sick of reading it. I’m very glad he wasn’t the main character. I can’t stand most of the male characters actually including Hugo, the popular guy and Bree’s teacher Logan.

Okay, so I’m gonna reveal a little spoiler here so just skip this paragraph if you’re interested. I’m not a fan of the student-teacher relationship between Bree and Logan. And yeah, I mean student-teacher ‘relationship’. It got to a point in the book where it was all that Bree was thinking about it and it was starting to annoy me. By the end of the book it’s less irritating though and I have a lot of respect for Bree. That’s all I’ll say.

Every scene where Bree wasn’t going on about him though was brilliant, especially the time she spends with the popular crowd. They always kept my interest. I really loved Jassmine, the ‘queen’ of the popular girls – she was funny and childish. I love the scene between Bree and Jassmine when they’re getting ready for Hugo’s party and we start to see more of who Jassmine really is. Honestly, any scene with the popular girls are the most interesting bits of the book.

I really liked this book actually. It was a bit unrealistic and over-exaggerated but I actually got through the book relatively quickly for my standards. However, there were some bits that were brutally realistic, like Hugo’s party and the ‘potatoes’ bit. Overall, I really loved this book and I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who likes high school stories instead of something supernatural. If you hate romance, this might also be an okay book for you as well, regardless of the comment I made early…

It Follows: Review by Holly Bareham

It Follows poster

So, my expectations were high for this film. The trailer looked okay and I thought ‘well I like horror films so I’ll go see it’ but I didn’t really think about it too much. Then my film studies teacher showed me a review on BBC Three (Film 2015 I think the programme was called) and they talked about how it was extremely clever and the best horror film, and probably their favourite film of the year. My teacher saw it the night before me and told me she was relatively disappointed but I still held my expectations quite high from the review on the programme.

I really liked the idea itself. Nineteen year old Jay has sex with a guy she’s been dating for a little while, Hugh, and soon finds herself stalked by an entity that can take the form of any person it wants to. ‘It’ will continue to follow her until she passes it on, as Hugh did to her. If it catches her, it will kill her.

My favourite thing about this film is probably the music. It just seemed really strange and it struck me as interesting. However, the fact that the music is my favourite thing about the film probably shows what I thought about the movie.

Dean Chewing gif

It’s not that it was bad! It kept my interest, there were a few jump scares that made me pee myself and then laugh and I thought the way ‘it’ just walked everywhere was pretty creepy. But I have so many questions. I don’t necessarily need the film wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end with every question answered but jeez Louise, I feel like I know hardly anything about ‘it’ or what it’s trying to do or pretty much anything. In a way, I kind of feel like I could’ve just watched the trailer and had the same amount of information that I did after watching the actual film.

Also, I really can’t get over the ending. Obviously I’m not going to give any spoilers but I was waiting for a scene to play after the final scene and received nothing. It was left open and I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t have a million and one questions. Overall I think it just pissed me off more than anything. I feel like if they’d just answered at least one of the many questions I have I’d be a bit happier but they didn’t. They just left me feeling confused and annoyed.

I will say that I thought the acting was good, especially from Maika Monroe who played Jay. I mean, it wasn’t Oscar-worthy but I read a comment somewhere saying that the acting was awful and I have to completely disagree. I’ve seen much worse acting (The Hole comes to mind…).

I’d say, if you want to see a mildly scary horror film then you should totally watch this. If you are someone who watches films and wants every single question answered with no loose strings then don’t watch this film, it’s definitely not for you. If you have a more open approach to film and you want to get into a lengthy discussion with someone then yep, go ahead!