The Stranger’s Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos

How to be a Person

Do you like beer? How about tacos? Living the college lifestyle? If so, then How to be a Person: The Stranger’s Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos and Life Itself might just be the right kind of book for you.


How to be a Person is a comedic self-help guide written by Dan Savage, Lindy West, and the staff of The Stranger—an alternative weekly newspaper published in Seattle, USA. It claims to hold all the essential information on university/college life that nobody else is willing to tell you. This includes (but is not limited to) which subjects to avoid studying, how to protect yourself against STDs, everything there is to know about philosophy, what your music says about you, and … well, you get the general idea.

As a current university student I found this book quite amusing. It broaches many subjects that I’ve overheard other students discussing on campus, and that I’ve talked about amongst my own friends. However, these topics are presented in a quirky, humorous fashion, and the overall result is much more eloquent than a bunch of university kids blabbering nonsense over drinks at the bar.

In spite of its light-hearted witticisms, How to be a Person is surprisingly honest and practical in its approach, offering a great deal of helpful information that I wish I’d been aware of in my first year of tertiary study. The transition from our teenage years into adulthood is a difficult path, and the popular detour through university doesn’t make it any easier. As students we live in a state of limbo that suggests a certain degree of maturity, and yet we are still inclined to behave like free-spirited teens.

How to be a Person is an invaluable student resource on studying, ideology, relationships and entertainment which, moreover, does not feel like a chore to read. It is a fantastic guide for teens and undergraduate students, preparing them for what is ahead whilst offering them a few good laughs along the way. Not a fan of non-fiction books? Well, give How to be a Person a shot anyway—you might just be surprised.

By Mieka Black

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