ARC Review: Naturally Tan by Tan France

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Genre: Memoir
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Format: Kindle
Length: 288 pages
Description from Goodreads:

In this heartfelt, funny, touching memoir, Tan France, star of Netflix’s smash-hit QUEER EYE tells his origin story for the first time. With his trademark wit, humor, and radical compassion, Tan reveals what it was like to grow up gay in a traditional Muslim family, as one of the few people of color in Doncaster, England. He illuminates his winding journey of coming of age, finding his voice (and style!), and how he finally came out to his family at the age of 34, revealing that he was happily married to the love of his life–a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City.

In Tan’s own words, “The book is meant to spread joy, personal acceptance, and most of all understanding. Each of us is living our own private journey, and the more we know about each other, the healthier and happier the world will be.”

When I first heard Tan France was writing a book, I was so excited. I get almost all of my books from the library, so I almost never actually buy books. But when I heard Tan was writing a book, I immediately knew it would be one of the few books I do buy.

Fast forward several months and I was browsing NetGalley because I wanted to start reviewing more ARCs. I was in the biography section and almost jumped out of my chair when I saw this book on there.

I immediately requested it, but figured that for such a high-profile celebrity memoir, I would get rejected. I’ve only ever requested a few books on NetGalley and didn’t end up reading or reviewing any of them, so I imagine my stats don’t look great to publishers. So when I got an email saying I was approved, I was so shocked and excited. I almost immediately started reading and was hooked from the beginning.

I am such a big fan of Tan, so maybe I’m a little biased, but I do think this is one of my favorite celebrity memoirs in recent years.

He starts the book out talking about growing up in England as a South Asian boy and how his experiences shaped him. He talks about the racism that he constantly dealt with growing up, and how being gay also impacted his childhood, especially growing up in a religion that doesn’t support that lifestyle.

He also describes his journey into the world of fashion, starting with how he got interested in it in the first place. It was interesting to hear how he started his clothing business and the sheer amount of hard work and dedication that went into making it a success.

Throughout the book, he talks about all sorts of things from the many jobs he’s had to his marriage to being on Queer Eye.

I loved his story about meeting his husband, Rob, and their first date. Get ready for some cute stories because there are plenty. After reading this book, I look up to their relationship so much. They are so supportive of each other and always championing for one another.

In between each chapter, he offers advice to the reader. It’s mostly fashion advice, which I appreciated even though I tend not to care too much about fashion. Reading this book actually made me want to put more of an effort into my appearance. He also gives life advice, such as dos and don’ts for first dates and how to not be a terrible employee.

If you’re coming to this book just for Queer Eye stories, you’ll have to wait until halfway through the book before he even mentions the show, and even then I would say thoughts on the show make up less than a quarter of the book.

I really loved the story of how he was cast on Queer Eye because it was so not what I would have expected. I also loved how he talks about meeting Jonathan, Karamo, Bobby, and Antoni and how their friendship has grown since they met.

As much as I love Queer Eye, I do appreciate that the book isn’t just all stories from set. I loved learning more about Tan himself and what he is like as a person.

He gets deeply personal and honest in this book. He talks about how grateful he is for everything he has, but also talks about how fame has affected him and some of the less glamorous things that go along with being on a hit TV show. He emphasizes how lucky he feels about where his life is now, but doesn’t shy away for honestly talking about things.

He also talks about some of the insecurities that he’s always had, and how some of them have been exacerbated by being in the public eye.

So many celebrity memoirs are just full of little anecdotes from that person’s life with no weight or meaning attached to them, but Tan really goes deep in this one.

You’ll learn a lot more about Tan France in this book than you ever will in an interview, so I’d definitely recommend it to any fans of Tan, Queer Eye, or literally just anyone at all.

I know that I’ll definitely give this a reread once it comes out so that I can listen to the audiobook, which Tan is narrating.

2 thoughts on “ARC Review: Naturally Tan by Tan France

    • Jenna says:

      I loved it! I highly recommend the show too. It’s the most heartwarming show ever. I always feel so happy and positive after watching (except when I’m a sobbing mess, which is most episodes 😭😭😭). I’ve never been the type to care about my appearance really, but that show taught me the importance of self-care. I’ve been binge watching it ever since reading Tan’s book, so I’m just extra into it right now, haha.

      Liked by 1 person

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