Title: Note to Self
Author: Connor Franta
My Rating: ★★★1/2
Goodreads Summary: “In his New York Times bestselling memoir, A Work in Progress, Connor Franta shared his journey from small-town Midwestern boy to full-fledged Internet sensation. Exploring his past with humor and astounding insight, Connor reminded his fans of why they first fell in love with him on YouTube – and revealed to newcomers how he relates to his millions of dedicated followers.
Now, two years later, Connor is ready to bring to light a side of himself he’s rarely shown on or off camera. In this diary-like look at his life since A Work in Progress, Connor talks about his battles with clinical depression, social anxiety, self-love, and acceptance; his desire to to maintain an authentic self in a world that values shares and likes over true connections; his struggles with love and loss; and his renewed efforts to be in the moment – with others and himself.
Told through short essays, letters to his past and future selves, poetry and original photography, Note to Self is a raw, in-the-moment look at the fascinating interior life of a young creator turning inward in order to move forward.”
Note to Self is a fast and easy read. Not only is this because of the format of pictures, poems, and short essays, but this book reads in a pretty casual or personable way. This voice works well, as the book is intended to read like a diary as if it’s coming straight from Franta’s head. It is not meant to seem super planned out, rather what he was feeling at the time (or almost, after being edited a lot to make those ideas better).
One aspect that did not bother me much, but I can see annoying others is Note to Self can get a little cheesy. (He does acknowledge this at least once in the book however). This book talks a lot about mental health and positive thinking and Franta’s relationships with those topics. For example: “No sailor, no fisherman, no captain of a ship has ever earned his stripes on calm waters.” See, cheesy but not overwhelmingly so.
On another note, aesthetically, Note to Self is gorgeous. Franta is a very talented photographer and this is apparent in the pictures interspersed with his writing. Here are some examples:
As I sort of already mentioned, this book felt very authentic which was likely because of the way it was written. Note to Self was very casual, which made me feel that Franta was being very much himself. This honesty helped make it a good memoir because it made the story intriguing.
Another aspect that made Note to Self strong was that it was easy for me to relate to. There were many times when I felt I could really understand his struggles, which came from having experience with some of the issues. Additionally, Franta’s descriptions of his emotions were well written. However, there were also times I felt his topic choices or ideas were unoriginal or generic. I felt like there was depth missing because there was less personal connection for him. (And therefore less connection for me). An example is when Franta talks about wanting to disconnect from technology more and how in our current society, (largely because of our constant access to everything), everyone seems busy all the time. I don’t think that these ideas are generally new or unheard of.
Lastly, I sometimes had issues with the poems specifically. Not always (but there were a few times) I felt that the poems read like fake deep Tumblr poems. People who frequent Tumblr know exactly what I mean, but for those who don’t, it means basically what it sounds like. Someone is trying to be deep and meaningful but it really just sounds cheesy or like they are trying to sound emotional or deep and really aren’t. I don’t mean that Franta didn’t feel these emotions, because it is clear he did, however, the execution was not always as good as other times. For example: “your smell and smile/could make even the strongest/fall to their knees” It’s just a bit much.
No playlist this time 😦 It was hard to come up with anything for this book, so there is none, sorry!
Comment Below: What good books have you read recently?