I’m not going to lie, I initially bought Note to Self by Connor Franta because of the beautiful aesthetics of the cover. Even as you flick through the novel, an intentionally faded burst of colour jumps from the pages. But my decision to purchase this book wasn’t entirely down to the visuals; I did know of Connor Franta as a YouTuber (not very well, granted), and was intrigued to find out more. After all, this was one of the few book covers made by a YouTuber that I didn’t find horrendous at first glance, no matter how much I like the YouTuber who wrote it.
This novel made me much more interested to watch Connor’s videos. Before, I had pretty much (regrettably) written him off under the category of more basic and, dare I say it, unoriginal YouTubers. But through the honesty of this book, I saw Connor as an individual who is continually growing and progressing like the rest of us. This novel is a good way of reminding those who idolise YouTubers to the extent that it almost becomes an unhealthy addiction (I once was one of you), that they are human. The Connor that started writing this book on page 1 is not the same Connor who wrapped up his journey on page 307. This also shows just how much of a learning experience spilling your thoughts onto a page can be for those struggling to express how they feel in a more therapeutic manner.
The fact that Connor often reminds the reader that he’s sat typing his words right now, and describes his setting and exactly what he’s seeing in front of him very vividly to accompany this, makes you feel as though you’re sat right there beside him. This clear imagery is reflected in his own writing as well, in his poems, leaving a detailed and striking image in his wake. These poems revolve mainly around his memories of his failed relationship, including both the good and the bad times. While the style of writing heavily reminded me of the kind found on tumblr, the use of the two forms of narrative and intertwining of poems was a nice way to break up some heavier and more intense thoughts explored in the previous chapter.
Connor writes a fair amount on his experiences with coming to terms with his sexuality and coming out as gay. I find him an inspiration and beacon of hope and advice for young, closeted LGBTQ+ teens everywhere. You only have to look at the comments sections of his coming out video to see that plenty have benefited from his courage and honesty. Advice he gives is mainly based around the standard ‘it will get better’ mantra, but while Connor himself recognises that this is a cliché, this mantra holds a lot of truth for many people, including himself.
Overall, I found Connor’s writing to be introspective and genuine, but in parts simultaneously cheesy and generic. That being said, the book is packed with advice and tips that could be helpful to the majority of his readers. His words coupled with his captivating photography made for a thoughtful and meditative read.
THANK YOU FOR READING!