Hannah was one of the first people I started watching on YouTube so I was really excited when I heard she was writing a book all about sex and relationships. Straight away, I was struck by how different ‘Doing It’ was to anything I’ve read before, both in subject matter and format. It was factual and informative but sprinkled with personal anecdotes. I’ve been making an effort to read more non-fiction books this year and after reading ‘Doing It’, I’m excited to delve further into the genre.
I was hoping to buy a physical copy of the book but, unfortunately, I was ill on the day it came out. Instead, I downloaded the audiobook and spent the following days listening to Hannah read her book to me (and feeling a little sorry for myself too). Usually, when I’m unwell I turn to fiction books or films as they let me forget about being ill for a little while. I don’t know if listening to ‘Doing It’ as an audiobook as there were several diagrams, but it sure was good fun listening to Hannah trying to describe all of them!
At school, I had very minimal sex education. The very small amount of sex ed I received was completely scientific, focused on reproduction rather than the emotion. There was no mention of abuse, consent or LGBTQ+ sex. As ‘Doing It’ is aimed at people aged fourteen upwards, I wasn’t sure how beneficial I would find this book to be. I was surprised by how much I learnt and shocked by how many misconceptions I still had. There was a real sense, throughout the book, that Hannah was aware of the possibility that many people reading may be learning about certain subjects, for example, contraception and STIs. At no point did Hannah’s words seem patronising or judgmental, I could tell she was genuinely interested in helping people learn about things that often aren’t discussed at all.
Throughout the book, Hannah covers topics which are considered taboo such as LGBTQ+ issues, abuse and consent, relationships and mental health. She has also included guest pieces written by her friends who’s experiences are different to her own, adding depth and variety to the book. I particularly liked Holly Bourne’s piece about rom coms normalising signs of abusive behaviour. These guest pieces are also an excellent example of how to be a good ally to others. I would have liked if there was more about disability, there is a small piece about sex and deafness but it would have been nice to hear about people who use a wheelchair, for example. Since I wrote that, Hannah has also said she’d like to include more on disability if she wrote a second book. Every topic was handled with respect. Hannah was open and honest about her experiences and remained aware of her privilege throughout, when writing about a topic she had less knowledge of, Hannah gave a chance for her friends and guest writers to share their experiences. This was particularly refreshing as too often, people privilege talk over minority groups.
If you enjoy Hannah’s YouTube videos, you’ll love this book. Her personality shines through and it really feels like an extra long version of one of her videos. If you don’t watch Hannah’s YouTube videos, I thoroughly recommend you have a look at them!
Hannah said she hopes one day her book will be used as a resource in sex education lessons and I know so many people would find this book extremely helpful. I was expecting to end this review with a line like “Doing It is the book I needed when I was at school” but it turns out, Doing It is the book I need now.