I absolutely love reading biographical books written by my idols. I love their ability to capture and showcase their voice when telling their own stories. It feels so authentic and personal. I’ve read the autobiographies of Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Jenny Lawson–hilarious individuals whose stories have me giggling at the pages even in public. But there’s always more, too. They share their experiences with failure and tell stories that have overarching morals that are applicable to real life. I love it.
And then I read the memoirs of Connor Franta, as you know.
This was the first book I bought that was written by a YouTuber and I was, to say the least, extraordinarily disappointed. I won’t get into it too much (because you can read my other review if you really want a recap of all the corny ways he ended his chapters), but let’s just say I was disappointed.
Then a few months later, after it was heavily recommended by a friend, I decided to pick up yet another book written by a YouTuber: Binge by Tyler Oakley.
Amazing. Hilarious. Inspirational without trying too hard. Real without the forced happy endings. He shared stories that definitely didn’t portray him in the best light, but this only made me adore him even more.
His writing was so authentic and him that it was hard for me to put his book down. The only cons? One, I found two typos which always confuse me because don’t these things get proofread meticulously before getting sent to print? And two, I felt like throwing up the entire time I read the chapter on foot fetishes–but that’s probably just because I hate feet.
But you know what? In Connor’s book I learned lessons like “hop on that high-speed train.” I learned how he was homecoming king and his accomplishments as a competitive swimmer. And I still love Connor, but I felt like he was just shouting inspirational quotes at me and trying to make everything in his 22 years of Earth into a lesson that should be learned.
I learned real things from Tyler.
I learned to “check thyself before you wreck thyself.”
I learned that when life throws a wrench into your plans, you make an IKEA bookshelf–something he demonstrated when interviewing Michelle Obama.
And I learned that you should always try something twice. Sure, he used a story about a guy’s foot fetish to convey that particular message and I felt a bit queasy after that chapter, but I learned something.
He wrote about the times he’s flipped out on restaurant employees, T-Mobile workers, and even fans. He discussed his eating disorder and the desire he had to kill himself and that time when the entire One Direction fandom had #WeWantTylerOakleyDead and #RIPTylerOakleysCareer trending worldwide. He talked about the hardships of his fame and the secret wishes he had (just last year) of his plane rides taking a turn for the worse.
He wrote about life so authentically. He captured both the beauty and the pain and intertwined the two into this beautiful piece of writing.
I feel so much more connected to Tyler as a person and a human being. I love him and appreciate him more than I did just a few days ago, and it’s all because of this book. Sure, he shares his life online with millions of people, but we didn’t really get the full story.
This book gave us that–or at least more of that. I’m sure there are many more stories that could be told to invite us into the real life of Matthew Tyler Oakley.
And maybe one day he’ll bless us all with a sequel.