YouTube’s Tyler Oakley is both hilarious and heartwarming

YouTube’s Tyler Oakley is both hilarious and heartwarming

Maggie Curran, Opinion Editor

There’s something to be said for a man that single-handedly built an empire for himself using nothing but a camera, his own wit, and YouTube. In just under a decade, Internet personality Tyler Oakley has turned his name into a brand, his life into videos, and his legacy into much more than weekly posts on YouTube. What started as a hobby has evolved into a YouTube channel with nearly 8 million subscribers, an award-winning podcast, a world tour, and now, a New York Times bestselling memoir, “Binge.”

If you’ve followed Oakley’s journey from the get-go, you may think you know every hilarious, over-the-top, unbelievable story he has to offer. However, Oakley’s promise to deliver never-before-heard content in “Binge” was kept; if you thought you knew Oakley before, you’ll be shocked by how personal and in-depth his autobiography goes. And if you have no idea who Oakley is, “Binge” is the perfect chance to find out.

The book begins by detailing his upbringing, touching on the difficulties of an eating disorder and growing up gay, two issues that Oakley advocates liberally for in the media today. He then delves into his college experience, spending the most time touching on his first love and heartbreak. Though not everyone will identify with the issues Oakley faced when dating a gay man who was not yet out of the closet, the insight he gives on relationships in general can resonate with anyone and is arguably one of the most poignant parts of the book.

In fact, while Oakley is known as one of the most positive, energetic voices on YouTube, “Binge” reveals a side of him that is rarely—if ever—seen online. While the novel is certainly full of happy and comical moments, Oakley shares the darker parts of his life that remained out of the spotlight until now. It serves as a reminder that celebrities are people too and experience the same human emotions, despite how they may appear on camera.

Perhaps the most shocking chapter is when Oakley announces that in 2014, every time he boarded a flight, he wanted the plane to crash. It isn’t what you’d expect to read from an optimistic go-getter with no known symptoms of depression, but that’s exactly what “Binge” is all about: telling the truths about Oakley’s life that no one knew before. In the most straightforward and honest way, Oakley discusses with the whole world what would be hard enough to admit to himself. If his humor and wit didn’t already make him a great storyteller, this certainly does.

But of course, there is plenty of humor and wit as well. For those who are familiar with Oakley, you can expect to read the entirety of the book in his voice, especially chapters such as “20 Things I’d Do If I Were Beyoncé for the Day” or “Disney Princes,” which quite literally is Oakley’s master list of the hottest Disney princes, in numerical order.

It’s this perfect blend of touching and laugh-out-loud funny that makes “Binge” feel less like a book and more like a conversation with a close friend. If you love Oakley, “Binge” will make you love him more. And if you don’t, it will be hard not to after reading it. All in all, “Binge” is nothing less than a binge-worthy good time.