Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Art of Being a Brilliant Teenager by Andy Cope

I came across a recommendation for this book on Mumsnet, when I was looking for ideas for what to buy A for her birthday.  I feel a little alarmed and unbelieving that my gorgeous little lovely baby girl is going to be thirteen on Friday.  How this can possibly be, when I was eighteen myself a mere couple of years ago, I do not know, but, according to calendars, clocks and The Internet, it is thirteen years since 2004, so thirteen she must be.

We have bought an overpriced pink polaroid camera, and one of her uncles has bought a matching case and accessories which were deemed utterly essential by A (mainly glitter and stickers from what I can see, but I guess if there's one time in your life that glitter is essential, it is when you're a teen. I find glitter sits in the "laughter lines" these days. This uncle still retains the coolness of a much younger man in A's eyes, because he is, as yet, unencumbered by children, and he lives in a trendy part of London and takes her to restaurants where you have to queue to book in, and the pizza is the size of an actual table. (Why, yes I am jealous of my own children, who have a trio of extremely awesome uncles, and no, I am not proud of it).

Anyway, obviously I need to buy some books to go with it, so I decided that, since this was recommended, and has ALL THE STARS on Amazon, that I would just buy it. 

It came.  I started to read it, mainly because it's a new book just out the packet, and that stuff is like a drug to me, but also because I thought I should take at least a cursory interest in its appropriateness. Oh my Lord, it irritated me.  The introduction basically went along the lines of "Oh my God I bet your mum and teachers are SO boring.  I bet they tell you what to do and all of that, and it really brings you down.  You know they mean well, but...  But hey!  Listen to me!  I'm not like them!  I mean, obviously I'm a grown up, but I'm a REALLY COOL one.

I stopped reading. Went back to the reviews. Apparently there IS stuff of merit in here, but I shall not be reading it.  I will let A read it, although she has a tendency to judge quickly too, so we'll see how she likes his tone. It reminded me of the 22 year old teacher you get in Sixth Form who isn't quite sure if they really want to be a teacher but they DEFINITELY want ALL the kids to like them ALL THE TIME, so instead of actually teaching you the things you need to learn about your A-Level, tell you about their really cool snowboarding trip.  Possibly about three kids think they are cool.  The rest of the class is thinking "omg why did you go on a snowboarding trip, you're too OLD, you SAD OLD LOSER".

According to Amazon, it's about making the most of your own unique personal gifts and strengths.  Which I'm sure is a thing to be celebrated.  But I can't help but thinking I've bought my precious daughter an assembly in book form.  Sorry A.  I honestly wasn't trying to be cool.  I gave that up a VERY long time ago, and I'll leave that to your uncles.

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