My experiences with Hannah Hart (aka Harto) have been sporadic and lovely. I didn’t get much into YouTuber channels until after I moved to Sweden, using the constant uploads as a way to remain connected to North America while coping with both loneliness and the inability to adjust to a nine hour time difference. But Hart was one of the few, if not the only individual, that I was already familiar with, the one that helped my breach the virtual wall. My introduction was much like her first video of My Drunk Kitchen, inspired by a friend and wanting to make them happy; having shared a similar notion, a similar-minded friend made the suggestion I watch MDK. I fell in love instantly.
Since then I have become acquainted with her other works and projects, and having heard a few comments from her about her past life I was intrigued by an autobiographical work that would further elaborate not just on her childhood and how that impacted how she came to terms with her sexuality (the most often addressed of the topics, I think), but on so many other aspects of her life.
To make the point of how good this book is clear, it was released today and I am already reviewing it. In my own bout of insomnia, I found myself awake just as my preorder loaded on my Kindle and proceeded to read it and subsequently devoured it. I found myself on a strange and unexpected ride, beginning where I’d expected and ending up somewhere where I felt so emotionally touched I could only begin to cry. The raw reality and honesty of Hart’s book, while akin to many other books by YouTube creators in how she addressed her own mental health, somehow spoke more strongly to my own experiences despite different personal histories or upbringings, and even different illnesses in some cases. It was like confiding in a friend though she was the only one doing the telling.
The book is written in the familiar tone of Hart’s videos, eloquent but with a touch of the blunt where warranted, and of course the occasional pun. In some points it felt so surreal I was convinced I was reading well-written fiction as she detailed events in such a direct but honest manner. She’ll tell you everything about the event honestly, almost as if she were the narrator and not the participant, but so clearly is part of that moment in every way possible, still connected to what happened.
As she mentions in the opening “Trigger Warning” before the book officially begins, it is the only one she will provide because life doesn’t usually come with trigger warnings, but it is important, especially for our own self care, that we recognize what ours may be. The book holds little back, and only that which is deemed absolutely necessary for the best reasons is censored (“(Un)packing a Punch” is the prime example of this), which she has no problem explaining. That is the only warning I will give, but the lead up to each is clearly defined enough that if you need to skip over, you can. In this way it is courteous to the readers while addressing the issue in a way that even if it may trigger you, you (hopefully) won’t be if you push on to read it (but please do use your own judgement; you’re the only one who knows your own triggers and boundaries, I am only speaking to mine).
It is everything devoted Hartosexuals would expect from Hart in a way that can be shared with all, even new fans, her usual honesty wrapped up like a dirty diary with a polished cover. And I say dirty diary because it not only contains passages from her old journals, but because it has been used and carried around, a life that has been definitely lived. This book is meant to deal with the harder topics; there are warm fuzzies, certainly, and there are bright lights, but all rooted in the harsh reality that is life for many people. And beyond that concept, Hart’s ever-inspiring beacon of hope rings true, her self-proclaimed “reckless optimism” that is made all the more awesome after reading this book and will inspire you to make things better for both yourself and for others.
Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart