In this book is a world. A world created by two awkward guys who share their lives on the internet!
We are Dan and Phil and we invite you on a journey inside our minds! From the stories of our actual births, to exploring Phil’s teenage diary and all the reasons why Dan’s a fail.
Learn how to draw the perfect cat whiskers, get advice on what to do in an awkward situation and discover which of our dining chairs represents you emotionally. With everything from what we text each other, to the time we met One Direction and what really happened in Vegas…
I remember exactly how I discovered Dan and Phil. It was a day like any other on YouTube, and I was watching one of Hank Green’s Sims videos. A lot of people in the comments mentioned these Dan and Phil guys and their owl slide. I had absolutely no clue what they were talking about, but for some reason
I was probably procrastinating, I decided to check it out. Fast forward to 5 a.m. and I had watched the entirety of Sims 4 with Dan and Phil. There were about 12 episodes at the time. Despite my lurking on Hank’s gaming channel, I don’t usually watch gaming videos, but these were hilarious. I found out Dan and Phil have YouTube channels other than their gaming account, so I took a look at those as well, but it was more of a cursory glance, and videos like the photo booth challenge don’t really make me stick around.
A couple of months later, I randomly took another look
okay fine, I was probably procrastinating again, and that was that. I watched videos like Existential Crisis, I Talk to Myself, Fandoms, and I Mumble, and had one of those OH MY GOD FINALLY SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS ME I’M NOT THE ONLY PERSON WHO DOES THIS moments. I know, I know, you’re never the only person who does this, but sometimes you need some equally weird person on the internet to remind you of that. Dan was that person, which is my excuse for spending an entire day doing nothing but watching his videos.
If you’ve read this far, you might be asking yourself okay, Vlora, but why the eff did you write all of this without even having gotten to the review part of this post yet? and you’d have a good point. I realize not everyone is as obsessed with YouTube as I am, leave alone these two tight trouser aficionados in particular, but I need you to understand something: I really wanted this book to be good. I feel fairly neutral about all the YouTube book deals, and the only book by a YouTuber (apart from John Green) I’ve read was Connor Franta’s, which I didn’t particularly like. I read Dan and Phil’s book the day it came out.
First, it should be noted that The Amazing Book Is Not On Fire isn’t a novel, or even a memoir or any sort of literary form that is a continuous text
isn’t my literature knowledge impressive? see, this is where my studies have paid off. It contains a lot of pictures, pages that are designed like a scrapbook, and random quotes. Where there is writing, it is usually in the form of a conversation between Dan and Phil. It felt a little bit like a reverse tumblr tag, where they create the stuff that we look at. It’s Dan and Phil’s (YouTube) life in written form with some extras. That’s neither good nor bad, but it’s good to know what to expect in this case.
There wasn’t a lot of new information, and at first I felt mediocre about the book. I like the design, but there wasn’t that much actual content, and I was wishing for more. Their “conversations” are entertaining, but I wanted to get more insights and background information. Sure, it’s nice to see awkward childhood pictures, but there’s a reason I avoid looking at other people’s childhood memories – it’s the same as dreams: it’s boring as hell if it’s not your own. However, as the book progressed, my opinion improved.
Let me give you a list of my highlights:
- fanfiction: I was disproportionately happy when I saw this. Dan and Phil both wrote a fanfic about themselves, and it’s glorious. I feel like they are both trolling and appreciating their fandom, which is a always a good combo in my book. To be honest, I was fairly impressed. The fanfic isn’t good per se (though I guess you could make an argument for Dan’s; Phil’s is just utter crack), but it is a really good imitation of common fanfic styles and tropes. I’m going to assume that was on purpose and not just accidentally, so props to them.
- manga: there’s a short manga with cute artwork by someone I don’t know and a story by Dan and Phil. It was a really nice treat, and I especially appreciated the last panel.
- screenshots: there’s a page with screenshots of texts Dan and Phil sent each other, and it was really entertaining
- Going Deep with Dan and Phil: basically just for the title, but also singularity, robots and other fun and non-threatening stuff
- roommate assessment forms: because I’m a creepy stalker
- video trivia: it was interesting to hear about things you don’t see in the videos
I think what we can conclude from this is a) I’m a creep and b) the best parts of the book for me were their conversations and when they got creative themselves. I am also 48% convinced at least one of them has a secret fanfic account.
So, was my money worth it? I’d say yes. It’s a hardcover edition, and you could argue that it’s a lot of money for not that much content, but simply in terms of quality of material and taking into account that it’s in color with a lot of photos, it’s actually a fair price. As long as you know what you’re getting into and don’t expect something else, I can recommend it in good conscience. It might not be very interesting to someone who doesn’t know Dan and Phil, but for someone who enjoys watching their videos, it’s definitely entertaining and fun.