Andy Boyle would like you to know that he isn't some self-help guru or a lifestyle coach.

Instead, the South Sioux City native said he's simply a guy who was bumbling through his 20s without any sort of owner's manual.

That's when Boyle, now 31, decided to write a book that uncovered the truth about growing up.

"Adulthood For Beginners: All the Life Secrets Nobody Bothered to Tell You" will be going on sale at retail and online book sellers Tuesday.

"As soon as a person graduates from high school or college, he discovers that all of the things he has heard about adulthood turn out to be outdated, wrong or irrelevant," Boyle said from the Chicago home he shares with his cat Tiberius. "That was true for me and I wanted my readers to learn from my mistakes."

A web designer and stand-up comic, Boyle said publishers initially approached him after a piece he had written -- "What I Learned Not Drinking for Two Years" -- went viral.

"The publishers wanted me to write an entire book using humor interspersed with common sense for kids who are now graduating from school," he explained. "The result was my book."

Unlike a lot of comics and authors, your childhood actually seemed normal. Can that be right?

"It actually is. I lived a pretty active life in South Sioux City, which always shocks my friends. They automatically think there is nothing to do in a small town. But I was involved in theater, my school band, the Madrigal, you name it. I was constantly doing something."

You even had your own band. What was it called?

"We were called Varsity Dropouts and we played punk ska music."

Did you play music like Green Day?

"Actually we sounded more like Less Than Jake, only not very good. We even wrote our own material and that frustrated my parents. They said the band would be more successful if we sang a few covers. As an adult, I discovered my parents were actually correct."

During your college years at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, I understand your musical tastes turned dark when you became a fan of Nickelback. Would you mind explaining yourself?

"I know it became trendy to denigrate Nickelback but I've always liked them. It also refers back to lessons learned from my book. When we're in our 20s, we're afraid to stand out because we're afraid of making mistakes or looking out of place. It's totally fine to be an original and if a band brings you joy, don't be embarrassed by them. Hey, you may like somebody hip like Bon Iver. That doesn't mean I can't still like Nickelback."

Let's move on to a less controversial subject. You've recently lost a lot of weight, right?

"Yes, I did. When I stopped drinking, I also stopped eating a lot of unhealthy foods. In fact, I became a pescatarian (a person who eats fish instead of meat), started lifting weights and recently completed a 10K marathon. At my heaviest, I weighed 320 pounds. Right now, I'm at 240 pounds."

Congratulations, that must be a good feeling.

"It is. When a person is in his 20s, he thinks he indestructible. As soon as he hits 30, he know that isn't the case."

Ah, another one of those half-truths we believe when we're younger.  Any parting thoughts?

"Things do get better. If you use a little logic, adulthood will be a breeze."


Food and Lifestyles reporter

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