REVIEW: Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith

26 September 2013

Publisher: Particular Books
Published: August 7th 2012
Pages: 224
Book: For Review*
Format: Paperback, Finished Copy
Genre: Non-Fiction, Art, Humor, Crafts, Journal, Self-Help
For anyone who's ever wished to, but had trouble starting, keeping, or finishing a journal or sketchbook comes Wreck This Journal, an illustrated book that features a subversive collection of prompts, asking readers to muster up their best mistake- and mess-making abilities to fill the pages of the book (and destroy them). Acclaimed illustrator Keri Smith encourages journalers to engage in "destructive" acts-poking holes through pages, adding photos and defacing them, painting with coffee, and more-in order to experience the true creative process. Readers discover a new way of art and journal making-and new ways to escape the fear of the blank page and fully engage in the creative process. -from Goodreads
Having loved The Pocket Scavenger I was extremely excited when i had the chance to review Keri Smith's first book ever, having heard amazing things about it, and i am so glad i snapped up the offer. This book was amazing. Being an extreme perfectionist I found it quite hard to ''wreck'' as much as some other people so in the ended i opted for the 'wreck nicely' approach.
The subtitle of the book is: 'To create is to destroy' and the aim is pretty simple. All you have to do is fill in the pages of the book, following the prompts, and by the end of it, you should hopefully be more free-minded when it comes to art, able to think outside of the box and not be such a perfectionist. As my art teacher says, 'happy accidents' sometimes make the picture 100 times better than if you were to try and make everything ''perfect'' with nothing out of place.
"WARNING: During the process of this book you will get dirty. You may find yourself covered in paint, or any other number of foreign substances. You will get wet. You may be asked to do things you question. You may grieve for the perfect state that you found the book in. You may begin to see creative destruction everywhere. You may begin to live more recklessly."
Having already used one of Keri Smith's books i was pretty sure that she was joking here, but i didn't know to what extreme i'd be asked to wreck this book! Prompts like, 'take this in the shower with you', 'crack the spine' and 'hang this page outside and let people do what they want to it' made me cringe, which is why i haven't done them yet!
The instructions are simple:
1. Carry this with you wherever you go.
2. Follow the instructions on every page.
3. Order is not important.
4. Instructions are open to interpretation.
5. Experiment. (Work against your better judgment.)
One slight problem i had with the book was how thin the pages were. Considering the amount of things you are asked to splatter this book with (food, tea, paint) you'd think the pages would be durable but i found that even the slightest of thinks imprinted on the back of the page too, i was surprised to find. Maybe because the aim is to 'wreck', so you have to take everything in your stride, but for me, the 'nice wrecker' i found it painful to see my art work ruined by ink soaking through the page onto it.
Another slight issue some people may have with the book is, if you don't have much patience, this may not be the book for you. I know people who have finished the entire book but it took them around 4 years. So for people who like to see results quickly *cough* me *cough* , they may it hard to motivate themselves to try and complete this if they know it is going to take too long.
Overall however, I found Wreck This Journal to be a perfect pastime to unleash my inner 'recklessness' (to a point!) and had fun wrecking the pages of this book. It would the ideal gift for artistic minded people, or not, for that matter, as what i love about this book is that there is no right or wrong, you are free to interpret the prompts however you want. Neat, messy, colorful, dark, you can 'wreck' however you want!
*Thank you to Spinebreakers for sending me this book free in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I bought two copies of these a while back, one for me and one for me sister, and we had so much fun with them! You definitely do have to embrace the spirit of destructiveness though, and I'm not sure if its the thing for perfectionists and the more inhibited, but I really enjoyed doing all the different things. Fab review!

  2. Eeeeee, I need is books so much! Looks like such a creative book and I know I'd have great fun with it. Great review! :)

  3. This looks awesome! I saw it in Waterstone's and was tempted, but I don't think I could do it... I just wouldn't be able to bring myself to it! The thin pages sound like a bit of a downfall, though. Great review :)

    Charli x

    1. Aaaah you should have got it! Yeah they were. :( Thank you.

  4. I love the cover!! It looks absolutely awesome :) I need it now! I really glad you liked it. Perfect review, as always Hawwa!
    Erika x
    P.S I just created a beauty, fashion, general blog, Here's the link by the way:

  5. I. Need. This. Book.

    I really enjoyed Pocket Scavenger, but this one seems more my thing – more messy! :) Thanks for the review Hawwa, I'll definitely be checking this one out... ;D

    Great review!

    1. Get. It. Then.

      Yeah i preferred this one much more, haha are you the messy type? ;P

      Thank you. :)

  6. Well, you certainly can't borrow this book from the library! (*Librarian: What have you done?! Me: But the book told me to!*) Definitely gonna get it!
    Anisa :D

  7. I've seen this around for a while, it looks really fun! But I'd probably be like you and wreck carefully!

  8. I actually have this weird thing against Wreck This Journals because there was a massive craze at my school last year and I refused to buy them.
    I don't think I could wreck it though which is another reason for not buying one. I like to READ books and to destroy something for that amount of money seems a bit stupid to me.

    RANT OVER. Haha! Sorry, Hawwa!

  9. This looks so fun! I love the idea of it and i'd imagine the fun you'd get up to. I desperately need one of these.

  10. I've not looked at mine in a while *gulps*... I'm sort-of an UBER perfectionist so the book, at the same time as being fun, was TORTURE! And I'm not the most patient when it comes to completing things like this. HECK, I've never written more than 10 pages in a diary! :O

    Great review!

    1. *narrows eyes* SO AM I..although admittedly i've only done 3 pages so far..o.O

  11. I would completely RUIN a book like this! I've seen beautiful, artistic photos of the 'wreck' people create in these, but mine would be different... I would probably accidentally drop it down the loo or splatter cake mixture over it, or something. And it wouldn't look artistic at all! I'm like you, I would want results quickly. 4 years?!?! How do people have such patience :O

    1. Hahah i hope to see pictures when you do get one then! Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Oh my goodness! Sound crazy!!! LOL!


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