Tyler Oakley’s Book, Binge, Is Seriously Amazing
If you don’t know who Tyler Oakley is, you should familiarize yourself as quickly as possible. While in college, Tyler started making YouTube videos to keep in touch with friends. Ten years later he is a bona fide Internet phenomenon with millions of subscribers and followers on social media. He has interviewed everyone from One Direction to Michelle Obama. Tyler recently launched a line of glasses with Warby Parker, and is a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. Last year, he also became a New York Times Bestselling Author with his essay-style book Binge.
Before I dive into Binge, I readily admit that I am not a Tyler Oakley “superfan.” I don’t watch every video, I don’t retweet every Tweet. I simply appreciate that someone six months my senior created an online community that provides him with a living. However, I will happily click on epic videos featuring the former FLOTUS, as well as collaboration videos with Zoe Sugg. And I do get a small spike of adrenaline when I see that Tyler likes Tweets I write. Sue me. Actually, don’t. I’m broke.
Image Courtesy of Tyler Oakley
I waited until Binge came out in paperback before I bought it. Call me cheap, but my intuition told me that now was the right time to read Tyler’s book. I expected Binge to be a paper version of Tyler’s YouTube channel: conversations about his life and Lady Gaga. Binge delivered that in spades, but Tyler also talks about growing up poor and struggling with his identity. He talks about his first love, an abusive relationship, and his struggles with an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression.
I never expected to be able to relate to Tyler so strongly. We don’t have everything in common, but I found something deeper than laughing maniacally at an Edward Fortyhands Challenge. Logically, I know no one’s life is perfect. It’s a totally different story when they lay their soul bare for you.
What I related to most was when Tyler describes being in church as a kid:
“…I’d have to live through [church] until I could finally return to my house and unwind from the stress of organized religion…Sitting in [church] felt like the most alone I could ever feel. I was surrounded by people who didn’t get me, who I didn’t trust and couldn’t reach out to, and if I had to sit through one more second of it, I might just burst.”
As a former preacher’s kid, this passage hit me the hardest. I frequently felt I couldn’t ask questions because it would mean I wasn’t faithful enough. Because of these feelings, I got really good at pretending to be someone I wasn’t. It took me a long time to be okay with the person I am. Reading about Tyler’s experiences refreshed me. I was definitely not expecting this take away from a book that also includes a chapter titled “20 Things I’d Do If I Were Beyoncé for the Day.” I would highly recommend this book to anyone.