Book Review: Note to Self by Connor Franta

NTS - front cover
Beautiful handmade bookmark courtesy of my friend, Carly Wilson. If you’re interested in customizing your own she’s currently taking commissions for $5! Find her on Instagram @lilcoral_

“This is an open diary. this gives my insides a voice through visuals and poetry; this is me spilled out on paper”

I cannot shut up about how beautiful this book is. Connor Franta’s Note to Self is a medley of poetry, prose, and photography – all equal in beauty and accessibility. Franta’s prose writing is so conversational I feel as though I’m reading the thoughts right out of his head. While reading, I found myself feeling both pleased and annoyed because while I thoroughly connect with his style and use of language, I can’t help but feel that if I were to write a book it would be extremely similar in both of those categories, hence I’m experiencing a moment of “I’m really glad I like this book so much, but wow I wish I could’ve written it first”. That being said, this is very much 100% a book only Connor Franta himself could’ve written in such a way. The content of each picture, paragraph, and poem is unique unto him – they share his personal experience of the world thus far in a way that only he could. I just hope that someday I’ll be able to translate everything that goes on in my head in a way that’s at least half as coherent and articulate as he’s able to in this book.

NTS - inside cover

Before I even began reading, the inside cover immediately made me fall in love with the aesthetic of this book. The baby pink exterior followed by the gorgeous Victorian-era-wallpaper-esque inside cover lead to me flipping through the pages to see what else I had to look forward to. What I found were quotidian images that in everyday life might go unnoticed, but Franta manages to capture them in such a way that makes you feel the beauty in these small moments. By drawing attention to a bed still wrinkled from a night of sleep or a set of stairs with shadows following in just the right places, Franta re-categorizes these mundane moments as the moments that make up our day to day lives.

NTS - sunset

Although I’m not familiar with his channel, Connor Franta is a Youtuber. I’d seen his first book, A Work in Progress advertised alongside other “Youtuber” books that seemed like “fun reads” but weren’t necessarily something I was interested in. However, after reading Note to Self, I’m almost certainly going to read his memoir, if not to know more about him, then at least to experience more of the conversational tone to his writing. He writes about seemingly insignificant moments with a profoundness that never crosses into pretentiousness. He unpacks moments such as waking up from an afternoon nap right when the sun is softly filtering into your living room in the coziest way, highlighting how important it is to really pay attention to these moments and soak up all you can from them, without sounding like someone who experiences moments of extreme ~transcendence~ every time he experiences joy. He draws attention to the fact that it’s about creating your own happiness and living in those moments as long as you can, not just waiting around for the “really big” moments to bring you joy.

NTS- roses

Franta also tackles some pretty heavy issues amid all the beauty. He discusses what it’s like to be out of the closet and the social changes that come along with it, he talks about moments of self-doubt and how to go about silencing that voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, he delves into what it feels like to have your heart broken and to suddenly find yourself alone after being part of a pair for so long. He does all this while remaining optimistic about the future, and reminding both himself and his readers that in 5 years time, so many things will be different that most of these small setbacks will be nothing more than a memory.

Needless to say, I can’t recommend this book enough to anyone that appreciates beauty and what it means to be human – to hurt, to heal, and to find the happiness whenever and wherever you can. I’ll end this post with one of my favorite poems from page 151:

that one pink door

i desire
to be the
single pink door
on a street
filled only with
tones painted

As always, thanks for reading!


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