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Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness
Genre: Non-Fiction Memoir | My Review Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
273 Pages | Published: September 24, 2019 by Harper Collins
Book Jacket Synopsis
Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey.
The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.
Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma—yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.
Over the Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen. JVN fans may think they know the man behind the stiletto heels, the crop tops, and the iconic sayings, but there’s much more to him than meets the Queer Eye.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll come away knowing that no matter how broken or lost you may be, you’re a Kelly Clarkson song, you’re strong, and you’ve got this.
Book Links: Amazon
Review & Thoughts
Initial Thoughts: Last year I listened to the audiobook of Naturally Tan by Tan France and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve found over time that I really enjoy memoir-style audiobooks, especially when they’re read by the author themselves. When I realized JVN had written a book and recorded it to audio I knew I wanted to listen!
Themes, Elements & Review Notes:
So. Much. Drama!!!
I’ll be honest and admit that although I love the Queer Eye show, I haven’t seen all the episodes. I absolutely adore the guys on the show and admire that they each bring their unique skills to the table to help make over someone’s life while giving them the confidence to blossom and become the best version of themselves.
I had no clue going into this book that Jonathan has had such a rocky journey in life and I commend him for his authentic voice and the ability to be vulnerable. I love reading people’s stories and getting new perspective from their experiences. Jonathan’s story is particularly difficult and yet he’s become such a strong individual as a result of his tragic experiences.
Trigger warning: This book may be a trigger for those that have lived through trauma and chaos in their lives such as sexual assault, drug abuse, sexual identity, infidelity, and loss of family to cancer.
In a Nutshell: So. Much. Drama!!! Authentic narrative from the seriously lovely Jonathan Van Ness. Listening to this book felt like sitting down for a long fireside chat with a friend. Enjoyable and worth the read; I highly recommend the audio version!
Book Format & Source: Audiobook borrowed for free from the Libby app
About Jonathan Van Ness
From the author’s Amazon profile: Jonathan Van Ness is a Critics’ Choice Award winning, Emmy nominated television personality, podcaster, and hairstylist to the stars. He can be seen starring on Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning reboot series “Queer Eye,” where he shines as the show’s groomer, hair guru and self-care advocate. In addition to “Queer Eye,” Jonathan stars on the Emmy-nominated series “Gay of Thrones,” (Funny or Die) a witty social commentary series recapping HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Launched in 2013, the series just finished its eighth and final season, and garnered Emmy nominations in 2016 and 2018 for ‘Outstanding Short Form Variety Series.’ Jonathan also continues to work on his passion project, his podcast “Getting Curious,” a weekly exploration of all the things Jonathan is curious about. The podcast was listed as one of the Top Podcasts of 2018 by Time Magazine, and won the iHeart Radio Award for Best LGBTQ Podcast. 2018 was a breakthrough year for Jonathan, who realized two new passions – for the arts of stand-up comedy and figure skating. Jonathan is currently on his first worldwide comedy tour “Jonathan Van Ness: Road to Beijing” where he is going for comedy gold. Most recently, Jonathan announced that his revelatory memoir, OVER THE TOP, will be released in September 2019.
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