Reviews

It’s Never Too Late by Dallas Clayton

I wanted to hate Dallas Clayton’s new children’s book for adults. I really did. His success (almost) smacks of elitism because yes, this is the same Dallas Clayton that dated Shannyn Sossamon. And yes, he’s been touted by everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Justin Timberlake to Joaquin Phoenix* for his self-published debut An Awesome Book!. It’s even on the top of the list of best books for children on GP’s infinitely mock-worthy, yet strangely fascinating  GOOP website.**

But I don’t.

Never too late

Instead, I found It’s Never Too Late to be a sweet, charming reminder to appreciate every single day. The book begins by asking “What if today was your last day?”. What would you do? What would you have learned? How would you feel? What would you care about? In order to avoid getting overly sentimental and saccharine – because the book did remind me of the very true saying that the days are long, but the years are short – I thought I would share a few of the useful life lessons I’ve picked up along the way.

  • I’m still not sure at what point in life you’ll start feeling like an adult, but my best guess is sometime after 30. I imagine it’s about the same time you start feeling comfortable with yourself. (Please tell me this happens at some point.)
  • The only time a flight delay isn’t annoying is when you’re running late.
  • Conversely: The only time a flight is delayed is when you’re on time.
  • Never sleep with your roommate. Just don’t do it.
  • If possible, when painting a room, try to pick the right paint color the first time.
  • It’s gratifying to be perversely straightforward. But remember to be nice too.
  • Boasting that you never boast…is inherently boastful.
  • Never take anything I say too seriously.
  • And finally, things will always go wrong. Sometimes everything goes wrong at once. Or at least it seems like it. Sometimes your car’s headlight will burn out, your washer will break, your boiler will go out, your dishwasher will catch on fire, and you’ll develop bronchitis – all within a three week span right before Christmas. You’ll be (rightfully?) depressed, but take heart; at least you’re not dead.

    (Things sometimes go right, too.)

So as you can see, I’ve become infinitely wise in the twenty some odd years I’ve been a functioning human. While I do actively try to appreciate the little things, Dallas Clayton’s new book is a simple reminder to do so – because the world could end today, tomorrow, or fifty years from now. Regardless, make decisions that make you happy. That’s what matters; though don’t forget to pay your bills and to be kind. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed It’s Never Too Late***, 3/5. If  you see it around, take five minutes to flip through it. You won’t be sorry.

What I really want to know is what you’ve learned as an adult? Any life lessons that you care to share? Are you good at slowing down and appreciating the little things? I’d like to think I am, but there’s always room for improvement.

Mac and Cheese

A kids book for adults calls for an adult version of kids food – Martha Stewart’s Mac & Cheese. I had a severe milk allergy as a child, my early years were devoid of all things dairy. I’ve made up for this sad fact as an adult.

*To clarify, I don’t know if would actually be considered praise, but Joaquin Phoenix did read aloud from it in the rather eccentric I’m Still Here.
**I don’t know whether to love or hate GOOP. On one hand, it peddles the sort of rampant materialism that irritates me (why yes, you do need a $250 personalized pillow case and hey, if you buy six, the price goes down to $225 each – bargain). On the other, she included the fabulous The Art of Fielding on her gift guide for men. I believe I lean more towards the latter because on said gift guide for men, GP also recommends letting the men in your life know they are special by buying them a cannabis candle (no worries, it’s legal).
***I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    Confession, I’ve never read GOOP….but now I’m curious (because of The Art of Fielding) so I’ll have a look. BUT I have read Dallas Clayton’s books and I think they are really, truly brilliant, if only for their simplicity and interesting little drawings. Do they appeal to the Pollyanna in me? Perhaps, but they also fit with my philosophy of being thankful for ALL THE THINGS (particularly pertinent right now as my nephew faces Christmas in hospital…).

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      GOOP irritates me. She tries to project an image that she’s just an average person, but on her budget gift list he has $50 cashmere socks.

      I’m glad to hear most/all of Dallas Clayton’s books are good. There is something that rubs me the wrong way about famous (or friends of famous) people getting popular just for who they know (hello Madonna).

      I like the idea behind his books though, for children and adults. I hope you nephew quickly recovers (if that’s a possibility).

  • http://twitter.com/_Ciska_ Ciska (@_Ciska_)

    Points for picking up a book by an author you want to dislike so much! It does sound like a fun read. I am always surprised when people discover their lives get better when they do things they like.
    In my early 30ies I still do not want to call myself an adult but due to my health I have learned my life gets so much better if I do or get to do things I like. My partner on the other hand (being almost 40) still has a hard time setting boundaries and getting dragged into situations that upset him. Maybe I should give him this book for Christmas :)
    Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Thanks. It quick and sweet. It can read in five minutes, so I think it’s very much worth the time.

      I still don’t feel like an adult. I’m not sure I ever will. Ever time something adult-ish happens to me (buying a house, getting a promotion), I’m still shocked.

  • http://cheapthrillsbookblog.wordpress.com Charleen

    I’ve pretty much gotten as far as, “I can eat ice cream for breakfast.” (The second part of that lesson – “But I probably still shouldn’t” – is one of those things I know intellectually but have problems putting into practice.)

    I love the commercial from several years back about the guy who’s recently become a dad, and he’s like, “Now I’m the guy who has to say, “Don’t eat that cookie on the floor!” when I’m really thinking, “Five second rule, that cookie’s still good!” I don’t have kids yet, but I imagine when I do I’ll feel sort of like that.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Well, if there’s a perk of being an adult. It’s food choices. I have never voluntarily, as an adult, eaten a Brussels sprout or corned beef and hash. I never plan to. And I put nutella on my toast as breakfast sometimes if I’m feeling like a rebel.

      I don’t know if I’ll ever give up the five second rule. My floors are pretty clean. And a little bacteria can be good for you. Justification, obviously.

  • http://fromisi.wordpress.com/ Isi

    The point about things going wrong is sooooo true.
    I’m in my thirties and I’m still not sure about myself… So I suppose I don’t see myself as an adult and well, that’s disturbing if you think about it 😉
    I think I need this book!

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      It’s funny, I don’t think of myself as an adult, but I don’t think of myself as a teenager. I really don’t know where I fit and I’m certainly not wholly comfortable with myself yet.

      That particularly list of things that went wrong was the first three weeks of December for me. I’m hoping that’s it, I don’t think I can handle anything else breaking.

  • http://wordsforworms.com Words for Worms

    My favorite life lesson I stole from Helen Fielding’s lesser known work, Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination. “Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems.” It tends to calm my panic when everything seems awful, and serves to remind me that being a bit of a skeptic isn’t a bad thing.(And as someone who’s been thirty nearly a year, I’m pretty sure that whole “feeling like a productive adult” thing is a myth.)

  • http://sarahsaysread.com Sarah Says Read

    I might flip through this at the bookstore, but more importantly – OMG THAT MAC AND CHEESE LOOKS AMAZING. Why do you doooo this to me Rory? Now I’m gonna have to go binge on some delicious mac and cheese.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Because food is one of the things that makes life worth living, I have to share the cheesy goodness. I don’t know that I’d buy the book either, but it is definitely worth a skim. I enjoyed it for what it is.

  • http://gilmoreguidetobooks.com Catherine

    I know this was about a book but I saw the photo of the mac and cheese and my mind went blank. Wait, what was I saying? Looks amazing. OK, the book sounds fun as well!

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      I just need someone to come and make it for me and my year will be complete.

  • http://www.rivercityreading.com Shannon @ River City Reading

    Something tells me I would have a soft spot for this book – I’m kind of digging life lessons a bit right now (is this a quarter-ish life crisis)? Oh well, just give me the mac and cheese.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      I really think I had a quarter life crisis (to give it a trendy name). Really though, I did an in=depth evaluation of what I want and how I want to live. Sadly, I didn’t come to any definitive conclusions. The mac and cheese helped with this sad fact.

  • http://anotherbookblog.com Rick @ AnotherBookBlog.com

    One of my favorite lines from the movie Liberal Arts (great movie, watch it) is “Nobody feels like an adult. It’s the world’s dirty secret.”

    Now that I’m about to hit thirty, with a good career, about to get married, then have kids … I realize that I still feel like I’m 20. There’s just bigger stuff going on. I don’t know if people ever feel like they’re got it figured out (unless they’re mind-bogglingly rich and have no responsibilities).

    Great post.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Thanks!

      I liked Liberal Arts. I watched it during a Netflix streak of Elizabeth Olsen movies (because I think she is awesome) – between Martha Marcy May Marlene and Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding. Liberal Arts was my favorite, I loved their argument over Twilight. My favorite independent romantic comedy I saw during that time was Your Sister’s Sister, I’d highly recommend it. It has nothing to do with anything else I just said, I just really love that movie.

      Assuming you’re not just figuratively speaking and really are about to get married – congratulations! I’ve accepted that I’ll always feel like an awkward 20 year, whether I’m married, answer to mom, or have a truly impressive bank balance. Someday, maybe I’ll have it all figured out, right? (Don’t answer that.)

      • http://anotherbookblog.com Rick @ AnotherBookBlog.com

        Your Sister’s Sister. Got it.

        I’m not engaged yet, but it’s coming very soon :)

        • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

          Well you would know… 😉

  • http://picturemereading.wordpress.com picturemereading

    Lol I keep waiting for that feeling being assured myself! Great review!

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Me too. I’m think it will either never happen or it will happen when I am too old to appreciate it.

  • http://booksspeakvolumes.com Leah

    Hmm, sounds like an interesting little book!

    I’ve been wondering when I’ll start feeling like a grown-up, too. I thought this would happen when I got a job and an apartment, but nope! I still feel like a little kid among other “adults,” like I don’t really know how to be a person yet.

    One of my big life lessons was learning not to trust the directions my GPS gives me. It once took me onto a dirt mountain road in California, where my car broke down, leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere for three days while I waited for a replacement part to come in. It could totally have been avoided if I had just looked at a map!

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