Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness
Published by HarperOne on September 24th, 2019
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
“Just because we mess up doesn’t mean all the lessons we learned are undone. Healing can be imperfect.”
JVN is my favourite from the Fab Five! I love how he’s so positive, bubbly, and loving. We all need to be more like JVN.
Before he stole all our hearts as the self-care and grooming expert on Netflix’s Queer Eye, Jonathan grew up in a small MIdwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so over the top. Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of ridicule, trauma, and judgement. But none of it crushed his 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. Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen before.
Earlier this year, I read Tan France’s memoir and loved it. I fell even more in love with Tan learning about his hard upbringing and how it brought him to stardom today.
France has a unique writing style that mimics the way he talks, but isn’t too casual. There’s still a level of professionalism and care put into his sentences.
Unfortunately (and it pains me to write this), JVN’s memoir didn’t quite move me like I thought it would.
I think he’s an incredible human being and he deserves everything and more for his bravery and resilience. I can’t even begin to imagine going through what he did and coming out the other side stronger and better than ever.
For me, the writing felt stilted. It was very much written like how he speaks on the show, which is so fun! But it works better through spoken word and didn’t translate well to the page.
He went off on tangents and analogies all the time. That’s fine every once in awhile, but it was hard to keep track of the story and what was important. It came across clumsy here. I think this book would’ve been better if he had left those things in footnotes.
JVN is truly a great storyteller and can work it when it comes to an onscreen interview.
But he does a lot of telling instead of showing in this book. While he does preach vulnerability, this book seems to be written as if it was glossed over. He told things at an emotional distance.
But I did like JVN’s love for Michelle Kwan and figure skating and his sixth grade book report was absolutely hilarious. I think he has the potential to write more captivating books about his life.
I did learn a lot about him and I’d be interested to know more about what he’s been up to since Queer Eye became a massive global hit. There’s definitely way more to JVN than the high heels, the fabulous gowns, and iconic sayings. We got to see a sneak peek of it, but I’m patiently waiting to see more.