In Feel Good 101, Emma Blackery – YouTube’s Most Outspoken Star- is finally putting pen to paper to (over) share all her hard-earned life lessons. From standing up to bullies and bad bosses to embracing body confidence and making peace with her brain, Emma speaks with her trademark honesty and humor about the issues she’s faced. Here are stories that Emma has never told before, revealing both her darkest moments and most personal confessions. And here is a powerful message of hope for anyone who feels anxious, alone or at odd with the world: you can change the path you’re on. You can stand up for yourself, your rights, your passions and beliefs. You are important. This is the book Emma wishes she had growing up…and she’s written it for you.
Preface: Dead Trees
Ten Rules for a Happier Life
Chasing Your Dreams (and not running out of breath)
The Brain Stuff
Life is Unfair (and so are people)
Falling in Love (and falling back out)
Sex (or lack thereof)
Education (and making the most of it)
You Better Werk It
A Life Worth Living
The Tough Son of a Gun
Epilogue: Your Eighty Years
To The Ones I Love
(if you don’t want to read what I thought of each chapter topic then you can just skip to the end where I’ll give a general overview about what I thought of the book or skip to a chapter that you’re interested in)
I’ve been anticipating this book ever since it was first announced as Emma Blackery as been my favourite YouTuber for quite a while. My attraction to her channel and “channel personality” has largely been because of our similarities and her videos have provided me with great support in the time I’ve ‘known’ her. I had to have this book, of course! I wasn’t expecting to get this book for a while, but my lovely friend bought it for me and I’m still really happy that they did. I absolutely loved it – although it’s not free from being problematic.
Chasing Your Dreams:
Here, Emma talks about how she made her dreams come true and how she didn’t come from a money-filled family. She speaks about how it wasn’t luck, how a lot of it was her hard work (which I agree with, but a lot of people put hard work into what they do and don’t get much out of it, so I do think luck played a part at least a little here). It was actually a really inspirational read as a lot of it I could either compare to my current situation or previous situations that I’ve been in. I’ve been wanting to write a book (on autism) for a while and I keep throwing it aside thinking it’s not good enough but Emma speaks about how trying and failing is better than not trying at all. I don’t know about you, but this was really inspirational to me.
The Brain Stuff:
This was probably my favourite chapter, as mental health is something I currently and always have struggled with the most so seeing someone I look up to talk so openly about their anxiety and depression made me see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel somewhere and it’s not just a dark road from here on out. It was honest, it was all true, and to see such a ‘big personality’ address these things was really wonderful I think. Emma also included a trigger warning at the start of this chapter, and four single pages in total at the back of helplines for teenagers and young people which is obviously fantastic and something I wish more people would do when they talk about really heavy things.
Life is Unfair (and so are people):
This chapter talks a lot about bullying, both in school and in the workplace, which I think is obviously something I identified a lot with. She also spoke a lot about Mean Girls and goodness do I love that movie. She spoke about how unpopular she was and how uncool, the type of people who were mean to her and how this continued even outside of school. Most importantly, she talks about how to deal with this and this is something I wish I had read when I was in school because I believe it to be honestly helpful.
This was a chapter that I didn’t…completely agree with. I still live with my mother, and I’m twenty-one but a young twenty-one. Maybe that’s why I had problems with this, but Emma talks about how she thinks if you live under someone else’s roof and they look after you, pay your bills and feed you then they get to control certain aspects of your life (they wouldn’t let Emma have a piecing and I think it’s her body, and her parents never had any right to tell her what to do with it). I am…not okay with that, really, although you’re fine to think that’s okay. You do you, we all have different opinions. I’m all on board with the rest of this chapter, though, which talks about giving your (non-abusive, Emma does say this doesn’t apply to children being abused) parents respect.
Falling in Love (and falling out of it):
This was another chapter that I really loved, although I would have liked it if it touched more on why you shouldn’t change yourself for another person and relationships that aren’t m/f but Emma has never been in a relationship with someone other than a cis male, so I understand why she didn’t. It was interesting just knowing what her previous relationships were like, and how she handled them. Some were abusive/controlling, others were something many have desired. It was quite a sad chapter, and brought back some unfortunate memories, but super informative and I know many teenagers will benefit from this. She talks a lot about knowing the signs of an abusive relationship and what your rights are, too, which is so helpful and important and another thing people are reluctant to talk about.
Sex (or lack thereof):
I just want to take a moment to thank Emma here, who mentioned asexual people and as an asexual myself we are often not considered throughout sexual education and this wasn’t something that was a pleasant surprise and was really awesome to see. So, thank you Emma for including us. Emma talks a lot here again about abuse, how to not be taken advantage of, when to know you’re ready and contraceptive methods (although only really talks about condoms and not the other things that are available for free in this country, such as the Nexplanon implant). Emma talks about what to do when you’re in a dangerous situation and how to avoid this, which is again incredibly important.
There’s also a chapter here (that really should have belonged in the relationships section, but she does talk about sexual attraction) about coming out and Emma’s crushes on women, and about finding out how she was bi-romantic. As a queer person myself, this was obviously something that made my heart beam and if you’re going to read this book for anything, read it for this!
Emma doesn’t just talk about having bad friends here, but also how to recognize when you are a bad friend. Far too often, people always cast others as the “bad guys” without understanding their own personal flaws and this was a nice addition. It’s also awesome to hear someone talk about bad friends. As a youngster, I went through quite a few toxic friends before finding someone who was a great one and this encouraged me to talk about this in future because it needs to be talked about – even though friendship break-ups hurt as hell. Of course, peer pressure comes up here!
Education (and making the most of it):
This is a chapter focusing on how education is important but getting the best grades isn’t, as long as you try your best. I wish I had read this during school, because I failed a lot of my GCSE exams due to just not caring, depression and thinking I wasn’t going to get anywhere anyway so what was the point in trying. I am now in college (re-sitting my GCSE maths exam). So, she was right, it wasn’t the end of the world but if I tried harder I wouldn’t have to re-sit this!
You Better Werk It:
Here, Emma talks about the opportunities that have come her way and how she has grabbed every one of them which gave her a ladder up to the top. This made me think about how little opportunities I grab. Of course, I jumped right at the chance of joining college but so far my work experience hasn’t been anywhere special. I haven’t tried pushing any boundaries, and I’ve just done it at my Animal Unit in college. I’ve passed up many online writing opportunities as well due to thinking I’m not good enough or there wouldn’t be any point. There’s bundles that I’ve just let pass, without trying and failing. Regret is not a fun emotion!
This is basically a chapter talking about how to not let people treat you like dirt, especially letting yourself get treated by dirt by yourself. This is a topic I am very insecure about due to the insecurity I feel in myself, but I think overall it had some very great points to expand on and to learn how to think better about yourself.
I had a problem with this chapter, too, because it had some fatmisia/fatphobia in here. It was talking about how weight was not a big deal and being healthy and active was more important (which is problematic in itself, but that’s something I don’t have the brains to expand on – there are a lot of disabled/poor people who do not have the means to be active and healthy eating, and I wouldn’t have had so much of a problem with it had this have been addressed but it wasn’t). That part wasn’t so much of an issue as it was where Emma seemed to hint that being unhealthy in diet would make you fat and oh goodness me you wouldn’t want that! Although I did think that part about hydration is extra extra important! Yes, preach hydration to the rooftops.
A Life Worth Living:
This talks about living for the now and how making small goals are just as important as bigger life goals. This is actually inspiring me to buy a little cute book with all my goals in it (maybe small daily goals to help with my depression/anxiety, and bigger life goals listed at the back). It was a very short chapter, so not much to say!
The Tough Son of a Gun:
This talks about how we are all worth it, and how we should toughen ourselves up and how we should present and face ourselves to the world. Also, a short but great chapter which overviews everything about life goals and chasing your dreams!
So…there you have it! A summary of each chapter. I should have done this while I was reading the book but I didn’t think how I was going to review this until I had finished the book. Oops.
A summary: I think this book is extremely helpful to my life, and I think this will help change a lot of young lives for the better. It reveals a lot about Emma, and this is something I especially enjoyed. She’s one of my favourites and I adore her and everything she puts out into the world, even if some of it is a big problematic. I really do wish I had this book when I was younger, and a lot of what happened in here is something I wish my younger self was told. A lot of the things in here are also what I would tell others going through something Emma and I went through. I encourage you to buy this book! A four out of five
Until next time,