Book Review: Over the Top

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Do you like JVN? You’ll love this.

I, like every other millennial woman, adore Queer Eye. I watched the original show when I was just a young queer in the suburbs, so when it was announced that it would be rebooted, I was all about that life.

Jonathan Van Ness is without a doubt the standout in the new Queer Eye series. He’s hilariously funny but genuine and unflinchingly accepting of his queerness. He is who he is and loves himself regardless of what anyone thinks, which I find inspiring. JVN’s memoir is about his life from a young (obviously gay) child in the deep Midwest, up through his current life as the Queer Eye star we all love. Along the way there’s a LOT of struggle. Since the books release, he has very open with speaking about his HIV status, which he had not disclosed publicly until the book came out. The honest comments he makes about his life before Queer Eye and the life decisions that led him to becoming HIV positive are heart-wrenching, but make you realize anyone has the ability to bounce back from adversity.

I really loved this memoir. It was equal parts inspiring and humorous, and of the books released by the Queer Eye cast so far, this is absolutely the best one. I think it’s real strength is also weirdly it’s weakness, in that it is written in exactly JVN’s voice. It’s fantastic if you love JVN as it contains all his conversational language and makes the reader feel as if you’re actually friends with him, having a giggle about drama. It makes is so readable and quick to get through, because I could hear his voice in my head and the cadence unto which he speaks. That is the only downside however, as because it’s written in such a casual, conversational way, JVN has a tendency to ramble and digress a lot, and sometimes I would struggle to remember what the topic originally was until we curve our way back to it. That is only a slight negative however, and overall I thought this was a fantastic memoir and would read another book by him in a second.

Title: Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self Love
Author: Jonathan Van Ness
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780062906373

Three Descriptors: Inspiring, Conversational, Upbeat

Read Alikes:
Guru by RuPaul
Naturally Tan by Tan France
Karamo by Karamo Brown
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
Binge by Tyler Oakley

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