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  • Writer's pictureChrissy's Books

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness

Rating: 7/10

This is my first book that I’ve read by one of the Queer Eye gang and it’s been on my list for a good while. I absolutely love me some Queer Eye, it’s such an uplifting and beautiful show! Jonathan is one of my favs from that show for sure. He’s such a sweetheart and has a really pure and honest aura about him. I’ve been listening to his podcast ‘Getting Curious’ ever since it premiered in the beginning of 2019. I’ve learned quite a bit actually through his podcast! I love the various guests that he has on his show and also the fact that he’s an activist as well is just everything.

I decided to try out his audiobook memoir because I was in the mood for a feel-good type of read and who better to lift your spirits than the lovely voice of JVN?!

About ‘Over the Top’:

Over the Top: A Journey to Self-Love is a memoir about Jonthan Van Ness’s journey to how he became the positive, radiant, & effervescent soul that he is today.

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 wanting to be an aspiring figure skater on the crapet of his home, and the unavoidable fact that he was ever so gay, in his early life, Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule & trauma. But none of it crushed his energetic 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.

My Review:

I love me some JVN honey yasss!!

I listened to the audiobook for this read and it was narrated by JVN himself! This was such a treat to listen to, simply because I love him. Haha and his adorable voice. I will say that if you’re a fan of JVN then definitely give the audiobook a go. It was an energetic and fun listen too.

Jonathan starts off the book right from his humble beginnings in the Midwest, where he grew up. I actually didn’t like these chapters as much, I tend to not really be into memoirs where the narrator describes in grave detail about each year of their adolescent life. I myself, definitely DO NOT remember what the heck I was doing between the ages of 3-6 years old so I always find it odd when authors focus so heavily on these parts of their lives. For me, the book became much more interesting when he eventually reached the adulthood sections of his book. I feel like this was more tangible and an interesting time than what went on in the playground or at his school when he was 7 years old. So I would say this would be my negative factor while reading this book, I wish he cut off the details about his upbringing as a child.

Once he got to his young adult phase in the book that’s when I became hooked. I really enjoyed learning about his family, and his experiences as a queer young man and navigating his way in the world. There was something quite honest and raw about how in depth he went into these chapters. I loved these sections of the book.

In his memoir, he describes the various versions or personalities of himself and I feel that now after reading this book, I have a better understanding of who the real Jonathan Van Ness is. I loved how vulnerable his story was and I feel that a lot of people who are struggling with mental health, especially within the queer, will really relate to his story. It was so inspiring to listen to. Jonathan has been through a lot y’all! And he did not hold back in telling us all the goss!!

My favorite parts were definitely when he was just being honest about who he was, the many personalities he has, his struggles, and his dating life too. I loved the chapters where he talks about how his journey into the TV show Queer Eye began. It was fascinating to hear about. I also learned about what it’s truly like to be a celebrity, and what that does to your mental health and the need to be able to take care of your space and your health. After reading this book, I’ll never run up to a famous person if I see them on the street because I feel that I would want to respect their privacy and space, just like I would expect from other people to do the same for me as well.

All in all, this was an uplifting, raw & honest memoir about JVN’s life and who he is as a person today. It almost reads as a self-help book as well at times which I really enjoyed. If you’re a fan of Queer Eye and JVN then definitely add this to your list. You’ll probably love him even more after reading it! I sure did. What a lovely human being!

I highly recommend that you listen to his fantastic podcast, Getting Curious. I’m a long time fan of it and you always learn something new on each episode.

Song Pick:

My song pick for this read was pretty damn easy. Haha I knew I wanted a sassy, fun, and uplifting song that captures JVN’s personality, and his body positivity realness. This song also had to be by the one & only, Lizzo. Another body positive role model that I adore to absolute bits!! My song pick is ‘Good as Hell’ by Lizzo. It’s such a feel good song and I feel that it fits JVN and his story to a tee.

Genre: Memoir | Autobiography | Nonfiction | LGBTQ+

Publication Date: September 24, 2019

Pages: 273 Pages (Audiobook)

Publisher: Harper Audio


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