*this article contains little to no spoilers*
Now, this probably will not be your average book review.
I have been a fan of Connor Franta’s since 2013. I’ve watched him transition from a penny board riding, snapback wearing, guy who posted videos titled “What Guys Look for in Girls,” to an openly gay, LGBT+ activist, who posts videos that genuinely try to get a life-lesson across.
Throughout the years, the intensity of how much I considered myself a fan would continuously go up and down. During the times where my intensity wasn’t very strong, I still really admired Connor. I would see what he was up to every once in a while on Twitter or Instagram, or watch the latest video he posted.
These last couple of months, though, my intensity was at an all-time low. Before you jump to conclusions, Connor did nothing. I’m just getting older, finishing school, getting a job, and my interests are starting to change. Again though, I still followed him on all of social media and watched his videos when I had the time.
One day, I saw all of my twitter timeline talking about his new video, and that video was his book trailer titled “Note to Self | Trailer.”
I went on Youtube and immediately watched it. As I finished the trailer, it was almost like a sense of relief washed over me.
Every person who uses social media in some way creates this “online persona” of themselves, whether they realize it or not. It’s the personality you display online, which only shows what YOU want to show, which is typically only the good aspects of your life.
When I watched this trailer, it was almost like Connor was ripping away the fabricated layer that he created of himself online, ready to go deep and bear all. I thought that maybe we would all finally get a glimpse of the human who lies beneath the infamous, online personality of Connor Franta.
So of course, amazed by this, I ordered Note to Self. And let me tell you, it’s exactly what he did.
Before we get into it, though, let me just say something about the physical aspect of this book: it’s probably the prettiest book I’ve ever seen in my life. From the beautiful pastel pink color to the broken rose image on the front to the floral blue embroidery on the inside, it feels like I’m holding a valuable piece of art in my hands.
Alright, now, onto the actual words and stories inside of Note to Self. I could go on about each chapter, but for now, I’ll just pick my favorites.
First, and most importantly, don’t skip the introduction. I’m sure many of you will; even I considered skipping it because it was what we heard in the trailer, but there are things that are written in it that were left out of the video and it truly sets the whole tone of the book. Read it.
Next, onto the chapter titled “to my dearest past.” In this chapter, Connor writes a very deep letter to his past self. While I was reading it, I almost felt like I was invading someone’s privacy and reading a letter between very close friends. He leaves nothing out, and cleverly shows us his emotional past and what he was going through as an adolescent in letter form. And although this was a letter to Connor’s past self, some of the things that were written I could relate to as well, and I’m sure a lot of other people of similar age will also.
Next, we have the chapter titled “you can’t lose what you never had to begin with.” This is no groundbreaking chapter with secrets being spilled, but in it, there is a lesson of the value of patience in our ever so quickly paced lives that really resonated with me, and it’s a lesson I hope resonates with other people as well.
Now, we have the chapter “i was in love.” This one definitely stepped on my heart. Connor bravely opens up about his breakup that just happened the day before. (I’m assuming it was written the day after, it’s what seemed to be implied.) It’s a very real and raw chapter. It starts with him talking about being gay and never thinking he would find love, to ultimately finding it and falling hard, to having his heart broken. When I got to the end and read his present-day thoughts, I felt like I just wanted to cry along with him. The amount of real emotion he brings to this chapter is admirable.
Next is “it will always be okay.” All I’m going to say is this one was bitter-sweet. Another chapter with raw emotion, but with a hopeful tone at the end.
Lastly, there is “the empty seat beside me.” Connor perfectly examples in this chapter that when you break off a long-term relationship, a part of you feels missing. He also goes on to talk about how important it is to get that piece back and learn to stand on your own two feet again, before letting your heart fall for someone else. In this book, he definitely brings the reader on his own journey of this in a journalistic type of form that left me feeling good at the end, almost like I conquered the journey along with him.
Like I said, I could go on about this book. There are so many other important chapters with little stories but big life lessons like, “unspoken bonds,” “don’t waste it,” or “her peach sunglasses.” Or there are the ones where Connor goes on to destigmatize mental illness and opens up about his own struggles like “the dark spot on the back of my otherwise effervescent mind,” “the pages I hope you never have to read,” or “conversations with my therapist.” Or there are the poems spread periodically throughout the book. My favorites being too hopeful for my own good, arguments in antemeridian, and us.
I finished Note to Self in two days, and it’s a book I will definitely pick up again if I’m ever feeling down or need some advice. Connor Franta really outdid himself with this one, and I’m proud to say I’ve been a fan, whether it be a huge one or a casual one, for so long.
If you would like to order Note to Self or find more information about it, you can click here.