Tan France: Naturally Hilarious

    Celebrity memoirs can tend to be a hit or miss with audiences. Some have two-hundred plus pages of repetitive anecdotes of little interest to the readers while others dig deep, profoundly revealing the secret lives of those we see on both the big and small screen. Tan France, star of the Netflix series Queer Eye, provides readers with an in-depth exploration of his childhood and his path to pursuing his passion for fashion. With constant humor and a heavy dose of emotion, France pushes past his role on Queer Eye and allows readers into both his past and present—giving advice for those struggling with self-expression and dissuading anyone from wearing a boot-cut jean at the same time. 

    On Queer Eye, France comes across as confident, bold, and an icon for the fashion world with his famous hair style. Yet, in Naturally Tanfans are given a glimpse into France’s difficult childhood growing up in a conservative, religious home in the United Kingdom. France was ostracized not only because of his awakening sexuality but also because of his nationality—both areas defining much of his childhood. From navigating gender norms and his own self-expression, France advises readers on how to find their own voice through fashion and how to truly discover yourself, despite societal norms or expectations.

    While many of France’s memories focus on the more tragic moments of his upbringing, he also explores a variety of humorous memories on his journey to fame: being fired from a minimum wage job, the origin of his famous hairdo, and his loving relationship with his husband. Ultimately, France both unflinchingly looks back on his childhood and simultaneously inspires readers to live to the fullest, boldly be themselves, and ignore outside pressures to be something you are not.  

    Naturally Tan is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. From start to finish, I had tears in my eyes, whether it be from the pain and judgment he faced as a child or his hilarious incident with his first boss. Every word written felt raw, personal, and completely authentic—the three reasons I loved this memoir so much. Oftentimes nonfiction feels heavy, uninspired, and repetitive, yet France gives the genre life, purpose, and passion. Both newcomers and loyal fans of the series are certain to find both hope and inspiration from France’s words and advice; his call to love both yourself and others is too profound to be overlooked. 

    From personal stories to random fashion dos and don’ts, France redefines the typical memoir format and exposes the pain and humor in everyday life. Each and every page reveals Tan France’s bold, passionate, and resilient nature. Readers are certain to be completely entertained and motivated by Naturally Tan—one of the most simple yet moving books I’ve read in some time. 

    Joshua Flores currently lives in Tustin, CA, and attends Arnold O. Beckman High School. When he is not busy doing homework or cramming for math tests, he can be found dreaming up ideas for his book, obsessing over YA fiction, attending book signings, or discovering new and exciting places in LA. He is currently an editor for the Entertainment section of The Beckman Chronicle and a contributing editor for the blog Food, Fitness and Fiction. Follow him on Instagram and on the blog Food, Fitness and Fiction to hear more about anything book related.

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