Disclaimer: Firstly, I’d like to highlight that I didn’t know that these guys exist at all before I picked up the book and I only started watching their Youtube videos AFTER I finished the whole book. Hence, my review is on the merit of the standalone book by itself, not as a fan of these two guys. Seriously.
Why I Picked it Up. When you found a book cover featuring only 2 awkward-looking guys with an even more awkwardly sounding title, “The Amazing Book is Not On Fire” in the recommended section of a bookstore, you are bound to be at least curious on what this book is about. I sampled a few pages and immediately decided that I want to spend more time with this fun book.
Why It’s A Gem
- IMMENSELY FUN TO READ. If your 2 loving, hilarious best friends ever decided to make a scrapbook about their life, this is exactly what it would feel like. They made it funny, random and filled with a plethora of colourful graphics and visuals to make your reading experience vibrant. You’ll always be happy reading the book as it is packed with humour (especially self-depreciating ones as they acknowledge how awkward and epic failures they can be) and always have a positive tone.
- AN ENERGETIC PIECE OF LITERATURE. I kid you not, it’s like the energy from these 2 characters just fly out from the pages. I think both of their distinct, vibrant colours and personalities just make this book comes alive as I read the book in the tone that I imagine them to be (because I don’t even know them at all).There were even several times when I just wanted a light read from being tired at work, and I only opened the book for 3 seconds before immediately closing it back, whimpering, “Too much energy from Dan & Phil. My being is too tired to handle this much stimulation right now.” Yes, that was how much energy vibes I can feel from reading this book.
- READ IT FOR THE 2 COLOURFUL CHARACTERS. Seriously, the strongest thing holding this book together in my opinion are the solid characters of these 2 authors- Dan Howell and Phil Lester. Had these 2 guys not have strong characters individually and together, this book would have been a bore. It was also a pleasant experience to compare how unexpectedly different they can be throughout the book. Minor spoilers for example: one of them was a dropout, while the other completed his masters studies. One was messy, and the other one was unexpectedly the neat freak. One loves to dress in all types of colours, while the other stood by with his aesthetic of emo black clothes, all the while insisting that this does not make him an emo.
- STRONG CHEMISTRY BETWEEN THE 2 FRIENDS. Since they are narrating the book together, it is the interactions between the two that made it the most fun. Personally, what got me to immediately buy this book is because it is rich with amusing banters from the two guys. Let me preview you an excerpt from their acknowledgement page:
Phil: I dedicate this book to *insert his family members’ names* and thank you to anyone who has ever enjoyed one of my videos! This is for all of you!
Dan: I dedicate this book to myself because I wrote it.
Phil: Dan, you can’t dedicate your book to yourself.
Dan: Why not? I don’t want this to be like a boring awards show speech where I just thank people that already know how I feel about them and leave, that’d be pointless.
Phil: It’s just a thing that you do!
Dan: Well maybe I don’t want to do the thing, maybe I’ll create my own new, better thing.
Phil: We’re already arguing and the book hasn’t even started yet… Just dedicate it to something and we can get on with the book.
See what I mean? This was only the acknowledgement page, I hadn’t even reach the actual content of the book and I already fell in love with their chemistry!
Why It Can Be A Rock
- SOME PARTS CAN BE TOO RANDOM. Now this is the double-edged sword. The randomness of this book is what makes it so fun. But it’s also a matter of subjective taste, where you will get several pages that made you wonder, “Are they trying too hard or are they really this lame?” or, “Where on earth did THAT came from? Why would they publish this in a book?!” And that’s fine. One thing to remember is that the main reason they made this book is for their fans. Hence, there will be plenty of fanservice and tributes that might be a hit-or-miss with you. Out of the hundreds of pages, I only skipped 6 pages because I wasn’t interested, and found another different 6 pages mildly disturbing. But the rest of the book got me so engaged that I still believe spending money on this book was very worth it!
As A Reading Panda, I’d Give It :
(10 out of my 10 bamboos)
That’s right. I gave it full marks because I enjoyed the book a lot. And remember, I don’t even know these guys in the first place! Hence, even if you are not fans of these two Youtubers, consider picking it up as a fun read. I can guarantee you that there is no other book quite like it and you’ll never get the same reading experience anywhere else.
And if you want to listen to it instead, then pick up the audiobook. You’ll get an immersive reading experience by actually listening to these two guys talking to each other like their normal conversations, instead of narrating a book normally. Here’s a preview link of the audiobook:
And if you need further persuasion, I would recommend to watch the below video of Dan recently summarizing his 2015 year through the hilarious memes that internet netizens made of him, rather than a sentimental 2015 recap that others would normally do. It’s really entertaining.