“Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love” by Jonathan Van Ness— A Memoir

Van Ness, Jonathan. “Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love”, HarperOne, 2019.

A Memoir

Amos Lassen

It is has been an interesting year for the guys of “Queer Eye”. I do not understand why anyone would want to read books about them. I mean, who are they anyway and why does  anyone really care but we have the books and as a reviewer of LGBT literature, it is my duty to read them and while they many have a bit of interest, I say, “so what”?

The book’s description starts like this, “Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey.” Before he was the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan, he grew 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.” But he was not the only one— I have heard similar stories my entire gay life whom people who do not get book deals or TV shows and they are happy living their lives like the rest of us. There is no need to do their dirty laundry for all to read. Perhaps up and coming young gay men might find inspiration here but I doubt that the gay men that I know have any interest to read this or anything like it by a momentary media personality of whom we probably not hear a word about in three years.

“’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.” Is he? If that is so why do we, the members of the LBGTQ community, not see this? I never pan books and I am not panning this one. I am panning the idea of anyone who thinks he is someone feels he has to write a book. “In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen.” Maybe we have not seen or heard his secrets before and maybe he does share what we don’t know about him but who cares? “There’s much more to him than meets the Queer Eyes” and that doesn’t include being a writer.

One of the women who posted her review on Goodreads has written, “Overall, this book was great! I can’t remember the last time I sat and read a book all the way through in one go. This book leaves you wanting more and I look forward to reading about the next chapterS [sic] of JVNs life in the future. I highly recommend this book!”

Another said, “I love Jonathan Van Ness more now than I did yesterday, and that’s saying something because I really freaking loved him yesterday. This book is surprisingly relatable and just seriously good.”

Have a look at the reviews of this book. You will probably be surprised by who they are and what they do. They are not the usual readers of LGBTQ memoirs. Most read it in one sitting and one even bragged that this was the first book that she was able to do so. I actually read it in less than hour and all I could say was “Ho Hum”.

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