A Work in Progress // Connor Franta
r a t i n g : 4 out of 5 stars
g e n r e : Memoir/Biography
e d i t i o n : hardcover from B&N, signed – 228 pages
m u s i c : “Drawing Board” by George Ezra
*virtually spoiler free!*
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.
Exploring his past with insight and humor, his present with humility, and his future with hope, Connor reveals his private struggles while providing heartfelt words of wisdom for young adults. His words will resonate with anyone coming of age in the digital era, but at the core is a timeless message for people of all ages: don’t be afraid to be yourself and to go after what you truly want.
This full-color collection includes photography and childhood clippings provided by Connor and is a must-have for anyone inspired by his journey. This heart-touching memoir by Connor Franta follows the where the renowned YouTube sensation first started.
❝ I’M JUST A SMALL TOWN KID
trying to figure out my place in
the B I G , W I D E W OR L D.
I’ve only been around for twenty-two
y e a r s ,
and there’s so much left for me
to L E A R N. ❞
– A Work in Progress, Connor Franta
It’s safe to say what you’re thinking: “Oh, no way, another YouTuber book?” Yeah, it’s “another YouTuber book.” It is, in fact, a memoir. Many may expect a long, winding novel with a boy ranting about his life for 300 pages. A Work in Progress is far from that. Connor Franta wrote a book about finding who you are and doing what you love.
Three words describe this 227-page book: raw, passionate, and true.
This book is beautiful. His style of filmmaking and photography definitely showed in the book with all of the vivid photos throughout the book. If you’ve seen his Instagram feed, you’d know exactly what I mean. I personally own the hardcover version of his novel, and just look how breathtaking it is:
This is almost like a scrapbook/journal. Each chapter is a piece taken from Connor’s life, experiences, and persona. There’s worksheets, newspaper clippings, letters, polaroids, and handwritten-fonts that gives it a cozy, homey aura. It’s pleasant to the eye, and gives the book an altogether more authentic feel.
Connor did a beautiful job; if his intention was to connect with the reader, he succeeded. I’ll admit; I didn’t love his writing style. It was very different since I’m used to lengthy, descriptive details. Plus, Connor’s memoir is the first nonfiction piece I’ve read for fun in a long time. It did, however, reflect his personality. His tone of writing is the same as it is as in his videos, as if he’s right beside you reading the book out loud. It wasn’t too serious at times; he kept it light and going, with touches of sarcasm here and there. The book is divvied up into mini short stories and such per chapter. There’s stories from his childhood, stories from today, and stories of living for now.
Though he isn’t the best writer in the world, he surely does make you feel something. His words were plain and simple. It was easy to relate to his story. Like any other person, he was a teenager lost in the world of expectations and society’s standards. Connor’s book deals with his obstacles growing up, some being difficult and wearing, yet he sets a positive mood, telling you how he overcame the obstacles rather than droning on about the negativity. One of his toughest hurdles was accepting himself; being gay, being creative, being different. The chapters dealing with this sort of topic were the ones I enjoyed the most. The morals taught in this story are ones every young adult should read up on and learn.
There’s a section he wrote that I adored. He talked in a chapter called “Numb to Numbers” about social media and likes, followers, comments, views, friends, and retweets are taking over how we view ourselves. As a blogger and Instagrammer myself, I found myself nodding along to every word; it’s so hard not to pay attention to how many views I get a post or the amount of likes on my latest photo. It’s also about not adding up your self-worth by materialistic things, like brand-name clothing, the car you drive, or the restaurants you dine at.
“It’s okay to want to be liked. It’s okay to seek likes. But it’s not okay if you allow those likes to become the foundation of your sense and self-worth, because other people might not be putting a whole lot of though into the process of liking – or not liking – your photos or posts. Remember that likes are just numbers – they don’t add anything to your personal value. I know it’s easy to get wrapped up in it, but take it from someone who has experienced all levels of appreciation: None of it matters.” – page 121
t h e m u s i c
You’re going to see songs tagged to my reviews. They’re all music that relates to the book in some way. For A Work in Progress, I couldn’t but help of think of “Drawing Board” by George Ezra.
“Oh you don’t rest your head in mine no more,
I’ve gotta take my plug back to the drawing board.
…I’m a heart ache,
I’m a desperate plan in hands,
Oh, I’m a blue-print in the sand,
Connor didn’t know who he was; he keeps asking himself, “Is this who I really am?” Gosh, no. Connor is the work in the making, hence the title: A Work in Progress. The song continues on telling the story of how a man pretty much screwed up by falling for the wrong girl. People make mistakes in life, and even though they’re stupid and heartbreaking and bring you down, you just got to continue pressing on and revise your draft on the drawing board.
This was less of a memoir for me and more of a guide to going through life, something I truly gained knowledge from. All of Connor’s insights are so true; I would recommend this to anyone needing an uplifting, worthwhile read! It also helps if you’re a viewer of Connor; it makes it easier to listen to his story. Even if you aren’t, the his words and experiences aren’t hard to relate to. If you’re looking for a nonfiction read that isn’t just droning on about facts, this would be an excellent choice.