Binge by Tyler Oakley


Over the past few months there has been no shortage of books being released by Youtuber's. Seriously, you'd think they would time them all better. But one I was particularly interested in reading was Tyler Oakley's autobiographical collection of essays - Binge.

Tyler is one of my favourite Youtubers because of his incredible attitude towards life, his open-mindedness and his ability to recognise his own privileges. He speaks about about issues regarding gender identity, the LGBT community and suicide prevention, amongst others. So it's no wonder he has 7.9 million subscribers.

Binge promised to be an account of Matthew Tyler Oakley, the Michigan born boy behind the famous Tyler Oakley. And whilst on some level I felt I discovered more about him, I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed once reaching the end. On reflection I came to realise that most of the stories told were typical to almost all of us in some way, with the odd exception. And it's not just the familiarity of the stories themselves, but the narration of them that left me wanting more. For the most part I felt as though they were rushed and the conclusion came about all too quickly. I do however, understand that his target audience starts at a fairly young age and so this may have been to keep them interesting in reading the stories.

However, for me his writing was at it's best when he allowed himself to stew in the emotions he felt and tell the story from the heart rather than try to reach the end quickly. When talking about his college relationship he really let himself open up on the pages and invited the audience in, exposing his joy and discomfort at the events. This particular chapter captivated my attention for these reasons and although it still had some element of familiarity to it (we've all suffered from a bad relationship), the way in which it was told made it unique to Tyler in a way none of the other stories did.

As I said, Tyler is one of the few Youtubers to speak out about issues where no other Youtubers do. And to read a chapter in Binge where he faced his only experience of abuse in a relationship was refreshing as not many people of his influence face up to these kinds of issues. I do however feel it could have been elaborated on a little and was brush over. I'm not saying he should have revealed more of what happened because that is a very personal thing. I just think he could have elobrated more on how to get out of these situations and the importance of recognising abuse.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Binge. I just would have liked to have seen more content on how Tyler became so well versed in gender politics and how he became so openminded. Rather than chapters like his favourite Dinsey princes, that felt a lot like fillers, he could have used those pages to recount his experience of being accused of racism on a public scale. There are no tales of how he came to confront that behaviour but there is however a story of his dad's problematic behaviour towards him being gay. Could these stories not have been linked in some way when they both realised their behaviour was unacceptable and how they both learnt from it? Surely teaching his younger audience to admit they were wrong is a valuable life lesson for them and with the platform he has, how many teenagers could he influence?

What are your thoughts on Binge?

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