Book Review - Naturally Tan by Tan France
I was sitting at a restaurant with my friends for our monthly book club when one of them mentioned that Tan France was going to speak at the St. Louis County Library later this year. Everyone in the book club was a fan of Queer Eye (except for one member who we are still determined to convert into a fan if we can just get her to watch an episode!) so we decided we would make this a sort of extracurricular bookclub outing. We decided to meet before the talk to get a bite to eat and have a drink.
One of my friends purchased the audiobook version the day it came out and almost finished the book before we heard him speak…less than a week after the book was published. The rest of us waited for our signed copies that came with the purchase of our tickets to the talk…but after hearing my friend talk about how great the audiobook was with Tan reading it, I decided to purchase the audiobook as well. We had the best time hearing him speak at the library and then later meeting him at the meet and greet. He was exactly the same in person as he is on the show and how he seems in the book, which just tells me that he is a genuinely authentic person who hasn’t lost sight of who he is with the addition of his celebrity status.
The book is a memoir about Tan’s life leading up to and including his Queer Eye fame. He discusses his childhood and what it is like to grow up “brown and gay.” One of the things that really struck me is when Tan said that he didn’t have time to be worried about being gay because he was too worried about being brown at a school with predominately white students. He tells heartbreaking stories about being afraid to walk home alone after school because he’d be bullied for having brown skin. These experiences later convinced him to do Queer Eye so that kids like him could see a Pakistani gay man on tv and know that there are people like them out there.
One great surprise in the audiobook is that Antoni makes an appearance and chats with Tan in the recording. They talk about when they first met, their friendship, working on Queer Eye and more. I love that Antoni actually came to the recording studio for a cameo appearance in Tan’s audiobook. Tan talks about his relationships with all of the cast, but especially Antoni since he is, as Tan describes him, his “new favorite person.” There is so much in this book that I would love to chat with you about. Go out and read it so we can discuss it! The last thing I’ll say is that I agree with most of Tan’s advice on clothing, but his views on belts is a little extreme.