Clinton Kelly * Gallery Books * January 10, 2017 * 240 Pages
Advanced reader copy provided by publisher through Net Galley.
I think most everyone knows who Clinton Kelly is. He was one of the hosts on TLC’s wildly popular show What Not to Wear, a show where he and his cohost, Stacy London, helped fashion-impaired women dress better (and ultimately feel better about themselves). The show went on for something like ten seasons. It was formulaic, of course, but still really fun. Now he’s a host on The Chew, a show on ABC about food and people and gatherings, etc., which I’ve never seen but is apparently popular, too.
Kelly has written a bunch of books. I’ve read two of them (and enjoyed one…). Freakin’ Fabulous gives genuinely good advice on how to dress, act, speak, entertain, cook, etc., and I loved it. Oh No She Didn’t talks about the top 100 mistakes women make when dressing themselves, and though the advice is somewhat helpful, the tone is super snarky and I couldn’t stand it.
I Hate Everyone Except You doesn’t focus on advice at all. It’s a collection of stories, almost all memoir-ish (with some random stuff, like a screenplay Kelly wrote, thrown in). And, honestly, there are some flawless moments in here. Kelly’s writing is strongest when he talks about the things, especially the people, he loves most: the women he helped on What Not To Wear, his husband, his sister, his dog. And I loved Kelly’s earnestness and honesty when he talked about his complicated relationship with Stacy London. Those stories sang.
But there are many chapters that fall flat–mostly, in my opinion, because Kelly chooses to be obnoxious and prickly instead of calm or thoughtful. He’s funny even when he’s catty, sure, but it gets old. I grew tired of his rude and overly annoyed tone. Sometimes he comes across as bitter–maybe over something deeper that he doesn’t want to reveal, or possibly over something he hasn’t even figured out himself yet. Other times, his over-the-top exasperation seems so unnecessarily dramatic that I wondered if it was all an act. Either way, I kept wanting to tell him, “Just breathe, Clinton. It’s not that big of a deal. And you don’t have to be so mean about it.”
I definitely liked this book better than Oh No She Didn’t, and I do appreciate Kelly’s willingness to share personal stories and make himself more vulnerable. But I still hoped for more–more about who Kelly really is and less about what he happens to be grumpy about today. The book held my attention and I zipped right through it, but I think it could have been stronger.