CW: intimate partner violence, drug use, and suicide
This book has been on my radar forever. Why? Because I love Queer Eye, a show I never expected to love in the first place — but, that’s a story for another time. And, I’ll say it, Karamo never exactly stood out to me. I really liked him, but he never stood out to me. At least, not until the second season. Then, damn. He was making me cry every fucking episode because he was just so amazing. (Personally, the episode with Skyler gave me life because, God, I wished that I had Karamo there on a few very tough trans moments.)
Still, this book was on my radar because I knew that I’d love to read it. I wanted to read their stories because queer stories are, most of the time, fraught with many hard facts about queer life.
It’s not exactly what you might think of it. It’s a semi-chronological order. I preface it with semi because it’s not completely. Each chapter is about a huge topic. So, a chapter is on colorism and talks about his childhood. Another is about his drug use, so he gets into details about that which takes him up to and past his kids. Then, one on how he found out and got his children. However, it’s not a chronological memoir. It’s more topical. That definitely works, but at times I’d have to take a step back to link moments together and to realize where things fell into place.
Also, Queer Eye is a very small chapter of this book. He basically is putting out there that this isn’t all to his life. This isn’t the most important thing to know about him. This is just his latest chapter. And, personally, I liked that. One day, there will be a Queer Eye tell-all. I look forward to that day. However, that day isn’t here yet.
I think what hit me the hardest in the book was the abuse cycle. Karamo’s father was an abusive man, but he wasn’t abusive to Karamo. At least, he never hit Karmo like he would hit his wife and daughters. But, Karamo grew up in the atmosphere where this was acceptable, then he carried that out into his adult life by being an abusive man. Until he realized that there was something wrong with this and he sought out change.
And that’s the same with his drug use. He had that moment of clarity and got help. That was really driven by his children. The story of his children absolutely touched me to my core. It’s so beautiful and hard and yet touching. Because they really are a blended family, yet they are so very normal at the same time. It was beautiful to read.
The final thing that stood out from this book was the diversity and importance of social work. I didn’t know before this book that Karamo is/was a social worker. Yep. He worked in the social work field and called himself one. I think it’s amazing because it shows just how amazing this field of work is. I’m biased, yes, but seriously. He decided to integrate the key of social work into a show that was very resistant to branching out from the arts. I love it and it shows when I reflect on Queer Eye.
Besides, if this whole traditional social work thing fails, I could always go into politics or reality TV.
But, seriously, this was a great memoir. I highly recommend it because it’s uplifting and very positive. It was just a great book to read.
Have you watched the third season of Queer Eye yet??
Have you read this? What did you think?