Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love

HarperOne. Sept. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9780062906373. $27.99. Tv
Van Ness, known as the grooming expert on the Netflix reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and creator of the podcast Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, here offers more insight into his backstory, as a feminine boy from Illinois who favored gymnastics and cheerleading. The author describes a supportive mother and stepfather who were essential to his survival and tells of first loves, a descent into drug and sex addiction and visits to rehab, and the slow process to developing self-esteem. Amid all of this, Van Ness was studying to become a master hairdresser, first in Phoenix and then Los Angeles. The death of his stepfather led to a downward spiral of sex addiction, and after a stint in St. Louis, Van Ness found himself back in Los Angeles and beginning work on his parody Gay of Thrones, which launched his initial stardom. Though he admits he wasn’t at his best at the audition for Queer Eye, he still managed to get the part, eventually attracting an international audience.
VERDICT Van Ness’s signature wit and charm shines throughout this fiercely honest and heartfelt memoir. Pop culture fans will love the openness on full display.
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