It was cold out, but there was lots of warmth at The Book Lounge as guests piled into the iconic bookstore for the launch of Welcome to the Real World – A Young Person’s Guide to Figuring It All Out by Alex Ferguson-Ferguson and Lisa Kretschmer last week.
In many ways, this was a family reunion of sorts, as generations of Fergusons and Kretschmers seemed to be dotted around the bookstore, wishing the young women well. After the plentiful food and wine, everyone made their way upstairs to hear Cato Bekker ask Ferguson and Kretschmer, graduates of Vega, about the inspirations and processes that went into the book. Ferguson-Williams is a natural storyteller and had the audience breaking out in peals of laughter.
The authors explained that the book is a basic how-to of life’s inevitability, the sort of book you wish you’d had when you were younger (if you’re past the college age). Alex Ferguson-Williams talked about her experiences working abroad, having a stoner housemate and a few other wobbly situations which young people are most likely going to experience. They would be empowered to deal with these circumstances if they had the right information.
Bekker asked if they had to do any “research” for the section on drugs, to which the audience tittered, and Ferguson-Williams said, “Actually it was my mum who did the most research on that chapter.” As the audience laughed again she quickly explained, “No, not like that, she actually went and looked at records and books and it was actually intense, because at one point we even had a tiff about it. We needed to know about a drug being an upper, a downer, or all-arounder, whether it was a stimulant or a depressant, and it was a big fight.”
Her mum piped up – “But I was right!”
“Yes, you were right, mum,” Ferguson-Williams admitted. This exchange solidified what they had been saying all along, that the book was heavily influenced by exchanges with their parents. For Ferguson-Williams it was the good advice from her mother that formed the basis of most of what she wanted to convey in the book.
The book is lighthearted, but does contain vital information about things like sexual health, living on a budget, and invaluable travel safety tips. Lisa Kretschmer is the illustrator, while Alex Ferguson-Williams is the writer of the no-nonsense but youthful guide. Best of all it contains web links, quotes from the greats and relevant location and contact information.
More than one grandmother vowed to get it for her 14 year old granddaughter or 18 year old grandson. The books were indeed flying off the shelves and the authors had a nice long line waiting for their signatures.
The two authors are young, charming and ambitious, and already have one of their life goals in the bag: a book which has the endorsement of both Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and 5fm DJ Gareth Cliff. There is also talk of bringing the book to the attention of Education Department to include it in the Life Orientation and Skills curriculum. As Lisa Kretschmer said, “My parents always made me feel like I could do anything, which is a great gift.”
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Luso Mnthali (@lkmnthali) tweeted from the launch using #livebooks:
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