Anyone else absolutely like itching for a new season of Queer Eye even though we just got a new one like two months ago? No? Just me? Okay. I am particularly obsessed with Jonathan Van Ness, who is more commonly referred to as JVN. He is just such a beacon of inspiration and positivity, and anyone who can so confidently call strangers a “gorgeous queen” is a-okay in my book. So when he did, in fact, write a book called Over the Top I was here for it, honey.
In his book, JVN touches on so many interesting and particularly relevant topics to today’s society. He comments on growing up in a small, prejudiced midwest town, his struggle with addiction to sex and drugs, relationship troubles throughout his formative years, and of course, his time on Queer Eye.
I don’t know why, but I went into this book expecting a feel good story that boosts my self confidence and wraps up nicely. I mean that’s kind of JVN’s brand, right?
Well let me tell you, that is not what we got. In his memoir, you learn about his own journey to self acceptance (which, duh Angelica, that’s what a memoir is). Although I found myself gaining respect for JVN as the story progressed, I still found myself holding my breath for the part where he was going to tell me to work it or that I was gorg, and that never really happened.
Don’t get me wrong, it was an incredibly intimate narrative and I appreciated every word. The writing was predominantly light-hearted, in the sense that he made several touchy subjects more approachable for readers, but still managed to prompt the appropriate emotional response to each situation. His writing was particularly poignant in the chapter where a love one passes away, which moved me to tears.
Of course the book ends with JVN joining Queer Eye, as does his character arch which led him to the lovely and talented hairstylist, confidence booster, and gymnast extraordinaire that we all know and love today.
I read Over the Top by JVN so you don’t have to, But honestly, I still really recommend that you do. Over the Top by JVN was the perfect culmination of a touchy memoir and light-heartedness that we’ve all come to expect from the author. Jonathan does a fantastic job documenting his triumph over the struggles faced by LGBTQ+ youth in the midwest and you really come out loving him just a little more for all enduring all those bumps and bruises along the way.