The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight

Review by Kylie Thompson

Rating: 5 stars
Genre: self-help

There are far too many utterly earnest self-help offerings out there, rich with the kind of heart-warming jargon that can feel like it’s giving you cavities rather than meaningful advice. Far too often, you come away from a reading session feeling as though you’ve read a lot of words, beautiful words, but you’ve got no idea what they mean or what you’re meant to do with them. Pretty, certainly. Practical? Not so much.

Sometimes, though, there are self-help books that leave the BS at the door, and tell you how to climb your way out of the steaming crap-pile you’ve somehow fallen into. They’re usually not as pretty (mostly because they’re honest about the fact that climbing out of the crap-pile still leaves you in dire need of a shower and a change of clothes), but what they lack in flowery prose, they more than make up for in terms of usefulness.

But let’s be honest: it’s hard to find good self-help advice when you came into the world with a more sarcastic soul. That sweetness and light style of advice tends to end in eye strain from all the rolling they’ve done. So when you can find a book that does away with the sweetness and light and replaces it with f-bombs, you know you’re onto a winner. Enter, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k’, the sort of straight-shooting, cuss filled wonder-guide we never knew we needed.

This isn’t about making your underwear feel appreciated, or leaving sparkly soul-bits wherever you wander. The tagline says it all: “How to stop spending time you don’t have doing things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like”. Be honest now, that sounds exciting, right? The idea is simple: there are a lot of things in life we care about, and just as many things we really, really don’t. But those things we don’t like tend to be the ones we prioritise. We go to the tedious events, or play nicely with the people who deserve far less civility, even when it means driving ourselves crazy with the strain. So what if we… you know, stopped doing that?

‘Not Giving a F**k’ isn’t a book about embracing nihilism, or running away to join the circus, or any of those wonderful escapist ideas that show up when you’re crying in the shower or mainlining chocolate to keep yourself from screaming. Instead, it’s a book about letting go of the people-pleasing mentality that tends to rob us of our hours.

A lot of self-help books fall down at the scope of the problem- we can, for the most part, safely navigate dealing with idiots when we’re not emotionally invested in their lives, but how do you deal with the obligatory family drama? ‘Not Giving a F**k’ has an entire section dedicated to those DNA sharers we love, and are driven nuts by. With the enforced family time of Christmas hurtling towards us far too fast, ideas about surviving the silly season’s emotional warzones seems like a really good idea.

The level of snark and pop culture references here is epic, and it’s worth a read just for the chance to watch Knight gleefully fill each page with profanity and wisdom. If you like your life-advice served with a heaping side of humour, warmth, and snark, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k’ might just be the sanity saver you’re looking for.

‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k’ is published through Quercus/ Hachette, and is available through the publisher’s websites, and through leading retailers both online and off.

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