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Review of 'Stuff That Sucks' by Ben Sedley

If you’re a fully functioning adult who wants a little help dealing with life, I’m not sure that this book will help. However, if you’re a teenager and need a little simple self-help, this little book might just do the trick.

‘Stuff that Sucks’ is a short and graphic-intense publication and definitely isn’t of a type I’d usually purchase. I do read self-help books, but when I do, I’m generally looking for a HUGE amount of text, and virtually no dead space or images. Detailed day-to-day guidance is the key – preferably encompassing exercises of tasks to accomplish, and advice the reader can’t find anywhere else.

This little book (with title headings such as ‘Stuff that Makes the Stuff that Sucks Suck More’ and ‘Stuff that is Just Stuff’) does not even slightly fit this particular set of requirements.

However, this may be because the author is writing for another market – hinted at by his phrase ‘every day I talk to teenagers about the pain in their lives’. Also indicative of the younger intended market are the short words, short sentences and short paragraphs, but it seems especially clear in the titles and images. For example, an image of a brain says things reminiscent of many teens – ‘I didn’t ask to be born’ etc.

With all this in mind, it’s odd that there’s nothing on the cover that confirms this as a book for youths. And, apart from the final chapter which mentions talking to teachers, parents and other adults etc, there are few cues inside the pages either.

Basically, I don’t think it is a great book, but it has been made worse by its bad marketing, being neither targeted directly at teens, nor appropriate for adults either.

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