Fashion maven Kelly (Freakin’ Fabulous on a Budget, 2013, etc.) is more booster than basher in this collection of mostly autobiographical essays about his life on- and off-screen.
At one point late in his amiable memoir, the author, moderator of The Chew and former co-host of What Not to Wear, warns a group of graduating high school kids to “dump the fucking assholes” in their lives. That succinct yet salient exhortation sums up Kelly’s approach to life, both personal and professional. Whether chasing a lucrative career in media or a handsome suitor at the end of the bar, the former Long Island dork who always found fitting in difficult emphasizes his ongoing quest for common decency. Those wishing for a scathing takedown of the TV show he co-hosted with Stacy London for 10 years on TLC will be sorely disappointed. The most caustic Kelly gets on that score is when he concedes that he and the stylish London were like combining baking soda and vinegar: “after the fun part fizzles out, you’re left with a puddle of nothing in particular.” Southern-fried food guru Paula Deen earns a lot more of Kelly’s ire, but only after comparing him to “a turd in the punchbowl” during a live-to-tape broadcast. Usually taking the high road, Kelly recounts past love affairs, run-ins with rude diners, and correspondence from unfavorable viewers with equal, levelheaded aplomb. Kelly also displays a keen sense of slapstick comedy, hilariously portraying the time a trip to the mud baths with an old pal turned into a desperate rescue operation requiring the two childhood friends to see each other naked for the first time: “One might think I deserved a heartfelt thank-you from my oldest friend in the world. Instead, Lisa—covered in so much mud that only the whites of her eyes resembled human tissue—asked: ‘Do your balls always hang that low?’ ”
A thoroughly light and entertaining memoir.