Amanda McHugh ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Executive Publisher
Following the new trend of YouTubers writing books, Dan Howell and Phil Lester, or more commonly known as danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil, came out with their first book, The Amazing Book is Not on Fire on October 8, 2015. Many YouTubers are known for just their name, but Dan and Phil have been branded together, with almost thirteen million subscribers combined over their five channels, with millions of views on each channel. While keeping up their YouTube channels, the two also run a radio show on BBC Radio 1 every first Monday of the month, creating an online shop called Dan and Phil Shop, as well as launching their combined gaming channel in 2014, DanandPhilGAMES, and going on a UK book tour following the release of their book.
The full color book is filled with stories, tidbits, and notes from the YouTuber’s lives they have yet to share with the Internet. While some YouTubers wrote novels, Dan and Phil’s original book is a mix of stories and photos. Featuring chapters include the time Dan and Phil met One Direction, excerpts from Phil’s teenage diary, “Reasons Why Dan’s a Fail (so far),” fan fiction they wrote about themselves, and what truly happened in Las Vegas on Dan’s twenty-first birthday. Reading through, the reader can feel Dan’s awkwardness jump off the pages, while Phil’s quirkiness and innocence are strung through his pages. The chapters tend to go back and forth between Dan and Phil (when the chapter isn’t combined between them) giving a good representation of both YouTubers. The book also features photos from their closets, their apartment, and collages of things they both love, like anime and video games. It’s odd to see how much of their personal lives they share in their book, though it does create a more personal experience for the reader.
With two narrators and authors, Dan and Phil structure the book as almost conversation-like. Going back and forth, the readers can read the conversations Dan and Phil have as they narrate their chapters. This style is effective to include both Dan and Phil’s voices throughout the novel. Especially since this is the first YouTube book with two authors, both voices are distinct, and hold true to their YouTube personalities. It reads almost as if Dan and Phil were sitting in their apartment talking, and someone just wrote down their conversation. Some of the featured chapters are more humorous, like Dan’s chapters about Becky and Jessica, two made-up characters he uses in his videos for comedic purposes, and Phil’s chapters with his chat logs from his childhood. The two also share the stories of why they became YouTubers, what it’s like being a YouTuber, and how they set up their videos before filming. Reading their backstory gives even more insight to how hard both of them worked to achieve what they’ve created today.
To aid the book, Dan and Phil also released an audiobook so all their fans can enjoy the book equally. The audiobook contains over three hours of Dan and Phil banter, plus an hour of behind-the-scenes commentary. This includes how they created the chapters of the book, why they included certain parts over others, and full descriptions of the photo pages. Using high technology, wearing headphones gives the reader an all-around experience that makes it sound like Dan and Phil are on either side of your head reading the book and talking to you. For big Dan and Phil fans, sensory overload should be cautioned here!
Dan and Phil are two of the most accomplished YouTubers, continuing to inspire fans daily with their humor, bright personalities, and matching hair styles. While most of their content is intended for entertainment, they do touch on more serious topics, such as fighting cyberbullying with their campaign “Nicernet” with BBC Radio, and Dan’s series discussing how to overcome an existential crisis using his life as an example. With the success of their book and UK book tour, whispers of Dan and Phil touring America or the world are in the air. For now though, making a cup of tea and relaxing with either YouTube or their book, fans have plenty of danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil to enjoy.