i’m going to be honest. i don’t read a lot. i used to read 4-5 books every month in junior school, but after entering senior school and (more significantly) getting a phone i find it hard to get through even 1 book in a month. so really my hope is that writing book reviews gives me the motivation to not get too distracted by any device and read!
i’ve been watching connor on youtube since 2014-15 and read a work in progress (his first book) a few years ago. so naturally i was pretty excited to delve note to self and had quite high expectations for it.
let’s start with what i liked about the memoir. i loved the aesthetic and layout of the book. it’s very much similar to connor’s instagram photos and video editing. i think this minimalistic yet elegant style is very personalised to him and it was really nice to see it come through in a different form. the original photography featured did not disappoint and was absolutely stunning, bringing each page to life with his careful use of colour and composition.
i also thought it was extremely brave of connor to open up and share his struggles in different aspects of life. it made a connection with me as a reader to connor as he made himself vulnerable, and we don’t necessarily see him as this huge social media influencer when he starts ranting about self esteem issues. he’s just another guy tackling issues that the everyday person faces. majority of the celebrities today always portray their picture perfect lives to the world and leave out all the behind the scenes footage, so it’s refreshing to see connor be honest about his problems and give us that extra 10 minutes of recordings.
i could relate to the themes of the growing up, social anxiety and self perception, but not battling depression or going through a breakup because i’ve never experienced it before. his anecdotes gave me a better understanding and appreciation of people dealing with these hardships. some of the concepts he explored were interesting and really made me reflect on myself and past events. i particularly liked when he discussed how we’ve became slaves to technology and as a result are not living in the moment. in general i just really enjoyed connor being raw and real.
however at certain points it felt more like a blog post or video script than a book. i don’t know is that the purpose of it? to be an open journal of feelings during tough times? also some of the jokes and phrases seemed cringey on paper, but i could see it working in a youtube video with the right set up and tone of voice it could work.
i would have also liked the writing to be more structured. similar ideas could have been grouped together in a chapter to maintain a consistent flow, instead of little bits about the same topic spread across multiple different chapters. this would have also enabled connor to dig deeper into each topic. i honestly didn’t like most of the poems. i personally think they lacked depth and context. i didn’t feel a change in emotions when i read them, unlike when i read paragraphs plastered with connor’s childhood stories and 3 am thoughts. a couple of the poems were nice but nothing memorable.
here are a few quotes from the book that stuck with me:
1. “time has increasing becoming like currency in today’s world” – this is so so true. everyone is in such a hurry all the damn time that we sometimes forget to take a second, stop and be grateful for everything we have. we need to learn to appreciate the little things. it’s also important to take a break for a small self care session or leisure activities.
2. “to the naked eye you look fine, but under the microscope you are flawed… no one else is looking through that microscope but you. not a single person is fixating on the things you magnify” – these few lines reminded me that i need to be less tense, more carefree and forget what others think about me because half of the time i’m making up these things in my head. no one cares if you don’t have the best moves just get under that disco ball and danceeeee your heart out! and even if they do, life is short. live it to the fullest. screw what they think and be unapologetically you.
now to conclude, would i recommend this book? if you’re an avid photographer or looking for an easy saturday afternoon read then sure! but first watch a couple of connor’s youtube clips to know a bit more about his bubbly personality and range of passions beforehand (trust me you will enjoy the book way more if you do so). it met my expectations, and although it has areas that need work i still loved this insight into connor’s life!
hope you enjoyed this short little amateur book review. thanks for reading xx