If you’re a fan of Netflix’s Queer Eye reboot, you’re probably aware that most of the Fab 5 have books out at the moment (except Bobby? Where are you, Bobby?). Naturally Tan is Tan France’s memoir, and a fairly candid account of growing up in Yorkshire as a South Asian kid, right through to his building of a business ,how that business nearly killed him, and finally the Queer Eye life and how fame feels to ‘little Tan from South Yorkshire’.
I won’t pretend this is a tell-all account, because although I feel like I know much more than I did about Tan, I haven’t come away feeling like I know everything. To be honest, fair enough. One thing I took away from this book was that fame, to the famous, feels all kinds of weird, and Tan is pretty open about the fact that everything happening in his life right now is kind of insane. He voices these thoughts in a way that makes me realise I’d feel very much the same with thoughts of “Why do these people want to hang out with me now, I’m just a regular person who happened to get this gig as a job!”, so I cn definitely understand him still wanting some things kept private. With that said, the number of times I’ve sat in front of my wardrobe exclaiming “I just need Tan France!” is probably beyond counting, I can’t promise I wouldn’t be one of those folks in the street being like “Hi hello yes I need your services but also OHMYGOODNESS can I also have a picture in which you will look flawless and I’ll be a potato?”
I’m getting off track (can you tell I love these guys?). Tan’s voice throughout the memoir is very much himself, his writing voice is exactly the same as his speaking voice and it makes you really feel like he’s just having a chat to you and telling you about what his experiences growing up have been. Which does make it a little bit confronting when he recounts instances of bullying in his hometown, and his bout of depression later in life. The thing I most loved about reading this book was learning so much of Tan’s life that you miss in the show – I feel like a lot of the other boys are fairly open in episodes about how the ‘Hero’ is struggling through similar things they have in the past, and you get glimpses into their lives before Queer Eye, whereas Tan is a bit more conservative on that front in the show (which he also speaks about in the book).
Overall, I definitely had fun reading this book and it was interesting hearing an account of fame & ‘Hollywood’ from someone who never set out to achieve that in life, but is someone simply open to opportunities that are given to him. I admire Tan’s work ethic & honesty in the book, and he has scattered ‘handy tips’ throughout that range from advice on buying jeans to advice on making friends in the workplace. All gems!
Read if: You’ll enjoy the read if you’re a fan of Queer Eye or interested by the life of someone in fashion and/or Hollywood.
Page Length: 267
Publisher: Virgin Books / St Martin’s Press
Are you a Queer Eye fan? Which of the boys’ books would you love to read (or have you loved reading)?
Thanks to Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a copy of book in exchange for an honest review.