3 stars

A Work in Progress by Connor Franta - Spoiler-Free Review | Cheesy Quotes and Random Pictures

June 10, 2016

Title: A Work in Progress
Author: Connor Franta
Standalone Novel
Genre: Memoir
Publication Date: April 21st 2015
Format Read: Paperback
Publisher: Keywords Press
Rating: ★★.75
Synopsis:
Here, Connor offers a look at his Midwestern upbringing as one of four children in the home and one of five in the classroom; his struggles with identity, body image, and sexuality in his teen years; and his decision to finally pursue his creative and artistic passions in his early twenties, setting up his thrilling career as a YouTube personality, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and tastemaker.


This book was just a really long Instagram caption.. you know, cliché, inspirational quotes which everybody think are beautiful but hardly anyone applies. If this was Connor's version of a self-help book, I don't think it's particularly helpful as most of the "advise" given in this book is plastered all over social media. Bear in mind, I'm not a subscriber or huge-super-fan of Connor or anything.


I very much enjoyed the first 70 or so pages of this book. This was mostly hilarious anecdotes from Connor's life, which interested me for some reason. But then he started talking about things like FOMO as if it were cancer, and he mentioned something about people being "forced to read books... ew" because of FOMO and that particular sentence completely ruined the majority of the book for me. I mean, I guess all your followers and fans who bother to read this book are "ew" then, Connor. 

Connor seems to have been through a lot of struggles, and he seems to have overcome many of them which I admire. However, the way he shines light onto his solutions is not something I agree with. He keeps urging people to ignore everything else and stick with their gut. Connor got pretty lucky, and he was quite young when he took the YouTube risk, "sticking to his gut," but I think many have to consider their circumstances before quitting their job or dropping out of college, as they might have other people people to support and might not just be living for themselves. Urging people to give up everything without a second thought is a bit extreme and unwise.

He talks about a lot of very important subjects which should really be discussed more. He spoke from personal experience about depression, sexuality, finding yourself and so much more, but I felt like although he was extremely passionate about those topics, he was trying way too hard to give advise. If he had just written what he had experienced, the book would have felt much more natural. Instead I just felt he was trying to push inspiration down our throats. 

The parts I enjoyed the most were when we learnt about Connor's life: all his family love, sibling experiences, personal experiences and hilarious life stories. I loved learning more about him as an actual person, and how he was brought up. We got a lot of insight into his way of thinking and his exiting childhood. My favourite part was the letters from his parents. You could really tell how much they support and love him.

One thing I found really annoying was that he talked about how much he hated labels, how much he hated being put into categories but constantly put people above 35 years of age or so into those very categories, and stereotyped them into being "uncool," "not up to date with technology," "cluelessly cute," "unaware of the changes of this generation," that sort of thing. I thought this was being quite hypocritical, and took a lot away from the truthfulness and meaningfulness of his experiences and "advise."  

The writing was never boring. I did get through the book very, very quickly. There were tons of pictures and specially illustrated and designed pages in the book, but they felt random at times, as if just added for extra embellishment and to increase the number of pages. They were beautiful though.

Overall, as a memoir, there are some interesting and laughable stories in here that will probably be enjoyed by a lot of people, and there are some important experiences shared through this book. However, the author does push a lot of "advise" down our throats, most of that "advise" being cheesy, "hallmark-card" quotes. Teenagers, his fans and Young-Adults are definitely the target audience, so beware if you aren't part of that category. 

What are your thoughts?
-Rekha

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