The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting by Holly Bourne 

 December 13, 2022

By  BookishBearx

I read another book, big surprise! So if you read last Friday’s post, you will know I have recently done a big ebook haul. You will also know I bulk bought a hell of a lot of Holly Bourne books out of curiosity after reading just one book previously. So, I thought it’d be nice to share with you my thoughts as I read another one of her books! This one is The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting. Not to be confused with a self-help book.

The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting, despite having a very long name, is a young adult contemporary fiction novel. It touches upon mental health, romance and numerous coming of age themes. It was published in August 2014 by Usborne Publishing!  I will leave an overview of the synopsis, taken from Goodreads below:

Apparently I’m boring. A nobody.
But that’s all about to change.
Because I am starting a project.
Here. Now. For myself.
And if you want to come along for the ride then you’re very welcome.

Bree is by no means popular. Most of the time, she hates her life, her school, her never-there-parents. So she writes.

But when Bree is told she needs to stop shutting the world out and start living a life worth writing about, The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting is born. A manifesto that will change everything…

…but the question is, at what cost?

This book follows the story of Bree, a young 17 year old girl, who isn’t particularly popular. She has this big dream of wanting to be a published author. Upon receiving multiple rejection letters from many publishers for both her novels, she turns to her English teacher for advice. He gives Bree the idea, inadvertently to start the Manifesto by telling her to make her life more interesting and go out and live. And so it begins. Bree sets out on a mission to become popular and find out what really makes a person interesting. As she goes on this journey, she documents her findings and experience on an anonymous blog. But we see what happens when you change almost every aspect of yourself for the sake of society. What changes for Bree is she changes her hair, her style and her personality to fit in. What is she willing to lose?

The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting, is a beautiful book. It holds a very potent message that I think many young girls need to hear. When I was reading this book, I saw a lot of similarities between Bree and myself when I was a teenager. I was never particularly popular and often felt lonely and I too, struggled with my mental health in a school that wasn’t always kind to me. I think it is a situation that a lot of kids struggle with, it’s hard to be yourself and love yourself in a setting where that doesn’t always feel like enough.

I loved the direction that Bourne took Bree in, how she did bad things and had bad things done to her but she didn’t sulk and hide as a victim when things didn’t go her way. She had her march back in to face the troubles head on and you really saw Bree learn about being a better person, learn how to love herself and be herself. It also made you look at the bullies and the cool popular kids in a different way. How in a lot of schools these kids a placed on a pedestal, as if celebrities, this book reminds you that these people are human too. There is a section in the book where the queen bee, Jass is in bits, crying on the floor because of what Bree did and she has this epiphany. This girl is human too, she is vulnerable and insecure like me, she hurts like me. She’s a person. I think that is such an important aspect to have in this book. To remind people that even those that are seemingly nasty, often have a reason why they feel like they must act like that, that they have insecurities in them too. Just like you, just like me, but they may just hide them differently e.g. by being nasty, or dressing and being a certain way.

I think this is a book that I think every young teenage girl would benefit from reading. To remind them and to help teach them, that you don’t have to change who you are to be interesting and to be someone special. You just have to be, to want to live, to participate in life but as you. I wish I had this book when I was in school. It may be triggering for people who self-harm as there are scenes in the book where this is brought up but it isn’t massively graphic. But if you can prepare yourself for that, and get past it… Read this book, I feel like I benefited as a 23 year old woman. I probably would have benefited even more as say a 14 year old girl. A very important piece of literature, that was a pleasure to read.

Star Rating /5


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