Monday, 8 August 2016

The Fangirl Life: A Guide to all the Feels and Learning How to Deal byKathleen Smith - Book Review

You'd probably know a "fangirl" when you see one, but the majority stay relatively closeted due to the stigma of being obsessed with fictional characters. However, these obsessions are sometimes the fangirl's solutions to managing stress, anxiety, and even low self-esteem. Fangirling is often branded as behaviour young women should outgrow and replace with more adult concerns. Written by a proud fangirl, The Fangirl Life is a witty testament to the belief that honouring your imagination can be congruous with good mental health, and it's a guide to teach fangirls how to put their passion to use in their own lives. The Fangirl Life encourages you to use an obsession not as a distraction from the anxieties of life, but rather as a test lab for your own story: How can a character girl crush be useful instead of a waste of time? How can writing fan fiction be a launching point for great endeavours? How do you avoid the myths that fictional romance perpetuates? By showing you how to translate obsession into personal accomplishment while affirming the quirky, endearing qualities of your fangirl nature, The Fangirl Life will help you become your own ultimate fangirl. 

*Throughout this post, I will share a few sentences in the book that made me giggle due to how much I can relate!*

This book is THE perfect book for me due to my previous years of hardcore fangirling over my favourite singers or actor and I am now on a mission to make all of you fangirls out there worship this book as much as I do!

"You're not the girl who turns into a howler monkey when an actor favourites a tweet or the woman who gets arrested at cons for attacking her favourite Marvel superhero."

If you're expecting light-hearted content throughout the entirety of the book, you're wrong! Kathleen is a therapist which means she gets honest and tells us fangirls exactly how it is. If you're completely lost in the fangirling world and can't face the reality of the world, then be prepared for Kathleen's word to hit you right in the face! Throughout this book, you learn how to balance getting excited over certain topics on the internet and focusing on the real world of having a job, relationships. friendships, family time, etc. Me personally, during high school I was the type of fangirl who completely lived in my own fantasy world and never ever focused on the real world, that caused me to have like zero plans for what I was going to do after high school had finished so as the years have gone by, the fangirling has definitely calmed down. I've become more sociable with my family and my friends instead of just focusing on my internet friends and I am due to start my job as a private child minder, August 22nd. While living in a fantasy world is fun, reality will soon catch up to you.

"Perhaps you've called in to work sick after a series finale, knowing that the world is not prepared for the emotional crisis your feels hath unleashed."

As it explains at the very top of this post, a lot of guys and girls turn to fangirling/fanboying to distract themselves from stress and anxiety. People in the outside world don't understand and realise how passionate fangirls/boys can truly become. They don't realise how a certain singer, boyband, book, movie, TV show can really make an impact positively on somebody's life. To someone out in the world who thinks fangirls are just young girls who need to grow up and have a dose of reality, that's not it at all. These young girls or even women who get excited over certain things you can't seem to fathom, it's because that singer, or that actor, or that book or that fictional character is keeping them sane. Those certain things that fangirls get excited about could be a reason why they're anxiety isn't as high or they aren't feeling as depressed anymore, you don't know what these people go through. Maybe they're family aren't approachable enough to talk too, maybe they don't have a strong friendship with anybody in the real world to talk about it with, the online world sometimes can be the one and only thing someone out there has to keep them feeling happy. For example, when I was in high school, I was bullied for 2 years and do you know who helped me? Cher Lloyd. Everytime I had a rough day, I would come home and watch her music videos, interviews, live performances or just listen to her album repeatedly. She made my school days bearable and I'll always be grateful to her for that even if she never knows it. Katherine talks about ways fangirls can change their habits to be more healthier and to acknowledge the real world more often. I'm not saying everything that Katherine says in the book is going to motivate you straight away and neither does Katherine, she knows drawing yourself away from something you've been so attached too isn't going to happen over night but she gives out some great tips on the little things you can do throughout the day to distract yourself from the online world which I think will be incredibly useful. 
"If you aren't bold enough to define yourself to others, the world will smack a label on you faster than Ryan Murphy can ruin your life with a television show." 
Katherine uses her therapy techniques in the book in order for fangirls to look at situations from a different point of view. Katherine gives out a few fangirling situations and ends them with questions for us readers to answer, such as how to find ways in which fangirls can use these situations to help their own goals in life. She lastly asks the readers to think of advice that they would most likely share with these fangirls and maybe it could lead to some readers following their own advice!
"What is about the Internet that makes people think all of our fangirl friends are serial killers or proselytizing lesbians preying on straight girls? All of a sudden we're all Orange Is The New Black characters." 
We all have one or more strong female characters that we look up too, which is great! But how can we use these strong female characters to improve our own lives? Me personally, I try to bring a little of Blair Waldorf's personality in to my own life... Whenever I'm in a sticky situation or I feel like I'm in a rut, I ask myself "What would Blair Waldorf do?" and I use her empowerment to motivate my own life. Instead of just loving these female characters, we should join them in girl power and make a difference in our own lives, just as they would. 
"Maybe you're hiding your little head in your sweatshirt because your ship is about to bang," 
Another thing when it comes to female characters, girls spend too much time worrying about not looking like their idols, than loving themselves. We are all unique and beautiful in our own ways. We also have to remember that our idols have flaws and they have bad days just like us. The next time you ever want to use the word 'perfect', remember that nobody is ever truly perfect, nor ever will be so love yourself, love your life, love your family and friends, because that is what you're stuck with, appreciate it instead of doubting it. 
"So when someone dies on American Horror Story, instead of thinking, 'I am Ryan Murphy trash'," 
Katherine even suggested ways in which fangirls could add their fangirling skills to their CV's. I thought this was such a clever idea as I have seen many girls be sarcastic about that on Twitter saying, "Can I put fangirling as a skill on my CV?" and to know that there actually is a way that can useful for job searching is great! Fangirls are way too underestimated! 
"When you watch ten Channing Tatum movies in a row, you are not being kind to yourself."
 Overall, this book is so perfect for me and I loved every word of it! Katherine really opened my mind in ways I can use my fangirling side to better my life, my health and myself in general. It's so incredibly clever and will have you giggling over how relatable everything in the book is. There are some quotes floating about in the book from fangirls aswell which is a great idea! I hope every fangirl finds this book in their lifetime because there is no book better than this one! Enjoy! 
 "Fangirls can participate in a lot of self-deprecating humour about being single forever with their cats (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) or forever being in a relationship with a fictional character."

About the Author

Kathleen Smith is a licensed therapist and a licensed fangirl. She is author of the book The Fangirl Life: A Guide to all the Feels and Learning How to Deal, which will be published by Tarcher Perigee in 2016. Kathleen also runs the popular blog Fangirl Therapy, where she writes about the psychology of fangirling and television and helps fangirls solve their problems. 

Purchase the book on Amazon UK/US here:

Check out her Fangirl Therapy blog here:

Follow all her social media accounts here:

- Shelby xxx


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