Over the Top

by Jonathan Van Ness

Jonathan Van Ness, beloved grooming expert on Netflix’s Queer Eye series, came out with an eye-opening memoir filled with struggle, hurt, and most importantly, love. The effervescent TV personality comes off as a strong, confident, person with plenty of self-love to go around so it came as quite a surprise to find out this was not always the case. From early childhood, Jonathan experienced terrible trauma that shaped their life in unspeakable ways. Told from a place of brutal honesty, Jonathan delivers the hard truths of his childhood and young adulthood in hopes that this story will allow others to open up about their own trauma, and hopefully begin the healing process.

I was advised to read this as an audiobook by a friend and am very glad to have done so. Read by the author, it was a pleasure to really listen to this story from the totally unique voice of Jonathan Van Ness. Their optimism, honesty, and desire to do better and be better is truly inspirational and translates so well in the telling of this story.

While this book definitely hits on many hard topics from child abuse to drug addiction, prostitution, and HIV, Jonathan manages to bring a positive perspective, thus making a hard conversation, something digestible and meaningful. I am very grateful to have read this story as it opened my eyes to some issues people in communities that differ from my own.