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Publisher's Summary

Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey.

The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.

Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so...over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgment, ridicule and trauma - yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.

Over the Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen. JVN fans may think they know the man behind the stiletto heels, the crop tops, and the iconic sayings, but there’s much more to him than meets the Queer Eye.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll come away knowing that no matter how broken or lost you may be, you’re a Kelly Clarkson song, you’re strong, and you’ve got this.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2019 Jonathan Van Ness (P)2019 Simon & Schuster UK

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What listeners say about Over the Top

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This will be something I listen to over and over

Would I still love JVN if I knew all the parts? I don’t think 5 hours of listening to 32 years worth of story is knowing all the parts, but knowing 5 hours more now than I did a few days ago, I love her so much more!!
If you’ve bought this book you’re already a fan and you will not regret this purchase. She’s spilling the T and will tell you some real shit that you’ll want to remember to help you grow too. So much love!

1 person found this helpful

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"We are never too broken to heal.."

Perhaps if I had seen the Queer Eye programme for which he is, obviously, famous and so was familiar with the author prior to this book, had a visual image of him in my memory, or had even a passing interest in Olympic figure skaters, my enjoyment of Over the Top might have been greater. It is certainly a book of courage, with honest self revelation and need - his mother should be given a medal and, to his credit, Van Ness apparently appreciates this - mixed in with his own self help advice. However, I had first to contend with the narration, that of the author himself, a very distinctive nasal twang, words quickly punched out and swinging up and down, slightly distorted at times and too fast to comfortably follow: I lowered the playback speed slightly, which helped. Only to listen to the first of his eulogies about ice skating and skaters, and Olympics gymnastics on the T.V., a recurring topic.

From what I can gather, although coming from a media background, Jonathan's forte is not the written but the spoken word, the non stop spoken word of anecdotes and story telling, leaping between topics from opinions and gossip to politics and family memories. and this is much how the book is presented: with little structure other than a very vague time line of his depression, illness and final redemption through hairdressing, filming and the ongoing support of others. Oh, and figure skating!

Yes, I think I should definitely have waited until seeing a programme with Van News appearing. He is obviously a very charismatic figure and, given the suggestion that he become a stand up comedian, is obviously thought very funny. But what I received was the picture of a man, lonely and sad, still trying hard to love who he is even if his life now is the one he always dreamed of having as a child.

I.am glad I read it and will probably revisit some time in the future. A must, I am sure, for any Queer Eye fan, for others it is the tale of how we can all hurt ourselves, or perhaps save ourselves, whatever our situation in life..

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Uplifting and funny

I truly liked the book - audio format was the best choice for me as it felt like JvN was literally telling his story to me on my couch! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story.. and reminding that there is always place for self love.

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Moved and Love JVN even more now!

I have been a fan since I first laid ears and eyes on this magical unicorn of a man. I knew he must’ve gone through some tough times! Jonathan has such a sweet soul and keeps it real. I didn’t know how deep he would take us into his darkness and then back into the light! This book is the Gay Rocky in my opinion! Such a great listen! And so glad Jonathan reads it and not some poser who couldn’t pull it off!
Thank you for sharing your life lessons, your fears, your humour, your success, and your breakthroughs. Highly recommend. Yass Queen!

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Perfect, funny, heart warming, devastating - a real rollercoaster

Hearing Jonathan’s voice read his words made this book. I would have loved it just reading it but this was the PERFECT audio book and perfect narrator! It’s an emotional story from start to finish. I cried, from laughing so hard i nearly peed, from gut wrenching sobbing where I thought I would never stop crying, to warm fuzzy feeling tears of pride. If you want to find out so much more about your favourite queen and queer eye character, you HAVE to listen to this. I feel like me and JVN are BFF’s now I know so much! Haha! I can’t see how anyone would not enjoy this!

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Amazing,

Honestly I didn’t know what to expect 🤷🏾‍♀️😂 but I am so glad I decided to pick this up. Such a beautiful and uplifting story. I cried, I laughed, I screamed but most importantly I was deeply loved and touched by this story :) lived and told by a truly beautiful and gorgeous soul 🥰

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Very good

Inspiring book by an inspiring queen.
Some of the anecdotes feel like they are missing vital details.

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Loved it!!!

A fabulous treat to hear Jonathan tell his story in his gorgeous voice. Superbly entertains and raw authenticity.

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wow

loved every second! didn't even feel the pass! love that is was you narrating! love you

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  • Denise L
  • 09-23-20

Self indulgent drivel to me I’m afraid

From the reviews I read, I had high expectations of this book. It’s fairly short so I did finish it. Maybe it’s a cultural difference thing and I’d have enjoyed it more if I was from the States but I just came away from the book feeling sorry for his long suffering family. Yes, the book was about him but for goodness sake, get a grip! There are plenty of us who had tough times in childhood and needs counselling BUT going on and on about what he learned about himself through therapy. That’s fine but put some effort in to being a decent human being. Basically, I’mi think you can tell, I came away not liking him very much and being unimpressed by his having no regard for the people he trampled over to get what he wanted. I didn’t find him funny or sad, I just came away wanting to give him a slap!

17 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-13-20

what a Queen among Queens

as a pansexual and gender non conforming woman who has struggled and continues to battle with lots of mental health issues, this book made me feel like maybe I can learn to like myself. because jvn is my most favourite human being, and if he can hit those lows and still be lovable. maybe I can too.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-01-20

Conflictingly but delightfully moving & hilarious

What a brutally honest, riveting book. JVN's portrayal of his story in the audiobook version is fantastic and had me laughing out loud at times, brought to tears at others but he manages to walk the tightrope between the two flawlessly. For anyone who's ever felt isolated or misunderstood, this is for you. For everyone else, this is even more so for you. Highly recommended.

8 people found this helpful

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  • lizzie
  • 09-26-19

Fabulously honest

Such an incredible life story. I didn’t think I could love him more, but now I know who I love.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Sam
  • 05-13-21

A bit dull

I found this book quite uneventful. I guess if you feel completely alone in the world perhaps this book might make you feel your not alone? Judging by the reviews anyway.

5 people found this helpful

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  • M. Pears
  • 10-06-20

Much more than I expected.

I loved this book. I was expecting it to be funny as I love Jonathan on QE but I was not expecting such raw honesty and to be moved as much as I was.

What a lovely, brave and good man x

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jem Gibson
  • 10-17-19

Brilliant!

This book is so brilliant! Uplifting and super real! Raises important issues but is fast moving and hilarious simultaneously. Well done JVN

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sofia
  • 09-30-19

So inspirational and eye-opening

I love Jonathan from Queer Eye and was curious to find out more about his life. I honestly didn’t expect to be so inspired to love myself and keep learning how I can be more compassionate towards myself and others. Jonathan is a real modern day hero and everyone should listen to this book as it offers a real insight into the lives of people who are not fully accepted in our society. I am a white straight women but I can relate to everything he said - it’s a human condition to feel insecure and unaccepted. It’s very comforting having listened to his story and I’m so grateful he is being open about these issues. Love you JVN ❤️

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dave
  • 03-14-21

Jonathan is an icon of our time

I am not sure if it is the timing of this book that makes it so brilliant or the stories within it. The past year has felt like going from one struggle to another and I could not help but feel lifted listening to Jonathan talk so passionately about his loves, his hates, his life, and everything that led up to where he is now: a place of self-love. Jonathan took us on a journey through the dark places he has been, he was vulnerable and showed us his failures. His approach was honest and I thank him for sharing his story, I gained so much listening to this. As someone who has been through trauma, Jonathan gave me new perspective in such a beautiful way.

Stay fabulous JVN x

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ania
  • 10-27-20

it is an important book for deeper understanding

when I was growing up, no one in my community was gay (or openly so) - and I had no met gay people until after 25 years old. so, when people are over the top, my subconscious thought it "why wouldn't you just behave normal, you'd likely be more accepted", until a gay friend of mine spoke of the struggles one goes through as a gay person, the unacceptance and pervasive doubt about self worth creates all sorts of coping behaviours that make things worth, but given the cards that are dealt, are inevitable. I love Jonathan's open and honest recollection of his path, back all the way to his childhood, as this truly gave me an understanding and a deeper level of empathy. this understanding truly makes me question, how could anyone treat a gay person differently, knowing how much suffering such unacceptance will cause? how likely it is to mess with their life?

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amy vince
  • 10-10-19

One of my favourite books!

I absolutely loved this! the rawness, the vulnerability I just adore JVN I was so sad it was over when I finished it I could have listened to this sass queen on my commute every morning hahah what a story. Thank yo so much for having the courage to share your story, it’s so important. I sent this book to so many friends I would defiantly recommend!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Joey Micallef
  • 10-10-19

So real and entertaining

JVN didn’t disappoint. Such a raw and real recount of his life and how he overcame his troubled youth to be the inspiring role model he is today! So amazing! Love love love!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-08-19

fab u lous!

this book was such an eye opening experience into someone's life. JVN was so open and willing to give the world every part of her self and the world is better for it. we need more people setting examples of self-care. it's not an easy road but we learn from our past (good and bad). you are amazing Jonathan! all the power to you #yasqueen

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nat G
  • 10-08-19

Thank you

Brilliantly read, thank you for sharing your story with us...now I love you even more x

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-18-22

Excellent performance

I think if you are a die hard fan this book is probably great. If you’re familiar and interested, don’t expect to get much from it. Jon’s performance is fantastic and one of the best read books I’ve ever listened to. The content was just not to my taste, and I unfortunately found it quite boring.

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  • mags
  • 04-10-22

queen VN reigns supreme

warm, honest, heartbreaking and funny.it is the friend we always knew we needed and should never be without.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-23-22

Fabulous

An honest account of life as JVN.
Brilliant read. Highly recommend this for anyone. All I want now is more JVN!!!!

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  • Julia
  • 03-14-22

A generous story of self-compassion and acceptance

This book is remarkable in the ways JVN shares some of the most raw and complex parts of herself and her experience with immense self-compassion and acceptance. We all have our own difficult experiences in our past, and by showing that the most successful people in society do too, JVN demonstrates that one’s struggles do not limit one’s potential. I also appreciate how they demonstrate great awareness of their own privilege in their narrative, without erasing the challenges they have overcome. This shows a level of nuance and intersectionality in the autobiographic genre that is often brushed over, and I admire JVN for sharing their own journey whilst making space for the experience of others. Finally, this book balances an acknowledgment of the complexities of trauma alongside the need to take ownership over your own path to recovery to move towards self-love. Thank you for the realness shared within, JVN. 💜

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-22-22

Thank you

Thank you for an amazing open and honest book. Thank you for being you and sharing your ups and downs .

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  • Andy Holsden
  • 10-12-21

Yaaaaas!

Loved this sooooooo much! Everything about it was beautiful, including the narration which was most joyful. Love you Mr JVN!