My So-called Life: Take a leaf out of my self-help book

Click to follow
The Independent Online

According to Amazon, the online retailer, sales of self-help books have risen by 40 per cent in the past year, which is not only astonishing, but also shows just how prepared people are to help themselves, even at the risk of being caught and asked to turn out their pockets.

According to Amazon, the online retailer, sales of self-help books have risen by 40 per cent in the past year, which is not only astonishing, but also shows just how prepared people are to help themselves, even at the risk of being caught and asked to turn out their pockets. There are currently six self-help books in Amazon's list of top 20 bestsellers and here's an appraisal of some of them:

I Can Make You Thin (Paul McKenna)

I am all for someone making me thin - yes, siree - so I waited in most of last Thursday for Mr McKenna to visit and do just that. Did he turn up? Did he, hell. I was most annoyed, as you are when you wait in all day but are stood up. It has often happened to me with BT or British Gas but I thought Mr McKenna was better than that. And I quite wanted him to put up a couple of shelves, too, while he was about it.

However, I then realised that I was meant to think myself thin. Aha. So I thought myself thin all of Friday, as well as most of Saturday. In fact, I thought myself so thin I could not understand why, come Saturday evening, my partner and son said that my arse seemed as big as ever. What? But I've been thinking myself thin - extremely thin - for two days now. Are you saying it hasn't worked? "Sorry, fat arse," they said. I then stopped thinking myself thin and had a little cry along with a good many Jaffa Cakes. I did not feel empowered. I felt fat and crap. This book is rubbish. I cannot recommend it.

The Mind Gym: Wake Your Mind Up (Mind Gym)

My body once joined a rather expensive gym and what a waste of money that was. It never showed up, the lazy old sack of lard. Actually, that is not quite true. Every now and then it was mildly keen but, on these rare occasions, my mind would not comply. "Oh, who can be arsed?" my mind would say. "Better to stay in, smoke more and brood unforgivingly about the shelves that Paul McKenna could have fixed if only he'd bothered to turn up." Alternatively, my mind would show some enthusiasm but my body would not. "I am just so tired," my body would groan pathetically, "and, first thing this morning at about 11, I did open one eye and then the other, which must count as some kind of exercise, surely." I could never get mind and body to agree, and it ended with them squabbling like murder.

In fact, they squabbled so much, particularly in the back of the car, that once I had to pull in to the side of the road and say: "I can't stand it anymore. Out. Out, the both of you. You can both bloody walk home." So do I dare face a gym again? One that will change my "mental habits"? I asked my mind. "Piss off," said my mind. "I'm going ice-dancing this afternoon. And then out for a drink with Babs." This book is rubbish. I cannot recommend it.

You Are What You Eat (Gillian McKeith)

I can see that we are what we eat. For example, if you were to eat a radiator, say, I'm guessing there is every chance you might become part of a central heating system, whereas if you eat a live mouse it possibly proves, once and for all, that you are a loser and a loon. Or so you would think. But all this book really says is good foods are good for you, while bad foods are bad for you which, I agree, I couldn't have worked out for myself but, still, I'd like to have found "mouse" in the index. This book is rubbish. I cannot recommend it.

He's Not That Into You if He's Sleeping With Someone Else (D Ross Publications)

This empowering book of genuine empowerment includes the seven most highly effective signs which indicate he is sleeping with someone else. He may, for example, move his stuff out while saying: "I've just discovered the best sex ever and it isn't with you. It's over. I hate you. You make me sick. You smell funny." This is a sign which, without this helpful book of the self-help variety, you would almost certainly overlook.

Aside from this, the book teaches you that who you are today is who you will always be, and so get a grip and just muddle along like everyone else, for heaven's sake. This is hard to accept but the author "heard it from the mountain" while exiting the car park at Ikea, so it must be true. This book is terrific. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Tuning into the chatter box

A conversation between a Year 8 boy, returning home from school, and his mother:

Mother: "Good day?"

Boy: "S'alright."

Mother: "Any gossip?"

Boy: "Nah."

Mother: "Learn anything interesting?"

Boy: "Nah."

Mother: "Do you want some toast or something?"

Boy: "Nah."

Mother: "Germaine Greer walked out the house today."

Boy: "What? Really? The femininist (sic)? Jesus. Did she say why? Did she escape or did Big Brother let her go? How will it affect the nominations? I'm definitely watching tonight, mum. No way am I going to bed without seeing it... oh, please, please. School was fine and I had a jacket potato for lunch and I've got a letter for you that I haven't lost. I'll do all my homework and practise the musical instrument I hate..."

My point here is that television has not only done much to rekindle the art of conversation, but helps children with their musical and educational endeavours.

d.ross@independent.co.uk

Comments