Review: ‘Fully Functioning Human (Almost)’ by Melanie Murphy

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In her first book, Irish YouTuber Melanie Murphy shares a series of experiences from the struggle that is growing up in the digital age: cyberbullying, dumping by text, gaining (and then losing) too much weight, having acne in a world of Instagram filters, and, most of all, finding the strength to tackle poor mental health. From self-image struggles to important life lessons about family, friendship, love and mindset, Fully Functioning Human (Almost) is a warm, illuminating memoir full of wit and wisdom that doubles up as a life guide for millennials.

Rating: 2/5

(This is Part One of my YouTuber Book Series, wherein I read and review books written by YouTubers I follow.)

Melanie Murphy is an Irish YouTuber who posts videos on make-up, relationships, sexuality and self-care. This book is about her own struggles with life issues and the lessons learned from these experiences.

Rating it 2 out of 5 doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book – I did. It’s a simple, quick read, like you’re having a down-to-earth chat with a friend. The main problem is that the book doesn’t offer anything new, and the author’s “I’m your gabby best girlfriend” shtick is annoying after a while.

Fans will like reading about the bits of her life she hasn’t shared in her videos (yet). The parts of the book that touch on issues like depression and anxiety, and eating disorders will be useful for people going through the same issues; she offers helpful insight into how she overcomes these problems.

But … there isn’t really anything new in the book. I’m not diminishing her struggles in any way. It’s shitty that she has to go through such horrible experiences. But because the book is written such a subjective way, and she doesn’t refer to external sources to validate her tips and advice, it’s hard to have much substantial takeaway.

Take for example, the section on ‘Beauty and Confidence’:

Be smarter than the masses, gang. Accept that everyone perceives beauty in different ways and just because Jimmy over there doesn’t find you beautiful doesn’t mean that Joe around the corner won’t you so astonishing that he won’t be able to keep his shit together and might even jizz in his pants just a tiny bit.

pg 157

Let go of the concept of perfection and #goals. You define what is perfect to you. We all desire different qualities and characteristics and we all like different things, so we shouldn’t feel like just because somebody else thinks something is #goals that we need to conform.

pg 182

Meh. This is the kind of generic advice that everybody receives that don’t really tell us how to get there. Sure, self-confidence is a very personal journey – if you don’t want to be confident, there’s no way anyone else can make it happen for you. Perhaps it is useful for people to hear such things again and again, just to remind them that it could happen if they tried.

If it’s basic self-care tips that you need, this is the book for you. I’m lucky enough that I’m at a stage in my life where self-confidence or mental health don’t really impede me from living my life. But if you want to be better, if you want to be happier, this book could be useful.

I can see how with better editing and sharper focus, the book could be better. Would I read another non-fiction book on her life? Nah. But I would check out her fiction work, if she ever writes that YA fantasy novel she talked about in a recent video. Her writing is solid.

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