Are you a part of the 20-Something Club like I am? A high school senior who are looking forward to college? Or do you simply crave a nostalgic trip to that fast life in your 20’s? Then What I Wish I Had Known is the one non-fiction book you should pick up by debut author Marcella Purnama, who happens to be a friend of mine and fellow writer.
With a raw, simplistic style of writing that’s easily digestible like delicious croissants in the morning, Marcella offers a glimpse into her life as a University of Melbourne student, a writing intern and later a working professional before returning to Australia to pursue a Masters in writing and editing. All the chapters presented in the book highlight the major experiences in her academic adventures and career, from her first day of classes and exploration of a new city all the way to her blogging life (what a superstar!) and the offer she got to publish this gem of a novel. Slices of her relationship with her family and friends are also included with her dad providing most of the encouragement – and her mom being patient and hopeful despite all her doubts – as she set out on her own path towards her dream career that’s pretty much the opposite of her older sisters’ choices.
You can definitely get a sense of Marcella’s passion and natural talent for writing. She is blessed with a gift of storytelling and weaves her writing in a way that captivates the readers, inviting them to her wonderful world and sharing with them aspects of her life as a 20-something career woman. With the inclusion of quotes and references to pop culture like her association with Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games (how she wants to always be herself despite all the successes that will follow), the chapters hold a massive amount of intrigue. One of my favorite parts revolved around her presentation on how customers would flock towards online stores that sell the cheapest books, but a fellow student in that lecture room who worked at an independent bookstore got very vocal about people still wanting to grab the priciest copies if excellent service is offered. That was both entertaining and informative (personally, I’d still go with the cheapest price available).
As a Communication major, I find What I Wish I Had Known super relatable, even though my experiences in Melbourne have been different with an easier immersion into the local scene. However, you don’t need to be in Communication to be able to enjoy it. If you’re in senior high, then this book can serve as a window to your future, filled with insights that can help you plan ahead so you can make the most of your college and internship experiences. But if you’re no longer in your 20’s, there’s still something nostalgic out of it that makes you want to reminisce the good times. The truth is it’s always positive to approach life with a 20-something mind, as we don’t stop learning even if we’ve reached adulthood.
Signed, sealed, delivered! My personalized copy of What I Wish I Had Known from Marcella herself.