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Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  6,002 ratings  ·  729 reviews
When Karamo Brown first auditioned for the casting directors of Netflix’s Queer Eye, he knew he wouldn’t win the role of culture expert by discussing art and theater. Instead he decided to redefine what ‘culture’ could — and should — mean for the show. He took a risk and declared, ‘I am culture.’

Karamo believes that culture is so much more than art museums and the ballet
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  6,002 ratings  ·  729 reviews

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Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I heard Karamo Brown had a book coming out, I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d read it. Since I first watched the Netflix reboot of Queer Eye last year, I’ve been a huge fan of him, the show’s resident culture expert. Culture goes far beyond the arts, music, and hobbies, and Karamo helps reinforce this by digging deep into the emotions of each of the heroes on the show.

Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope is a memoir. Karamo details his childhood, adolescent
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
I went into this book with an open mind. I thought that reading Karamo's story might give me more insight into him as a person and help me better appreciate his role on Queer Eye. Instead, it kind of made me like him even less.

His story is filled with times when he has done wrong--been a drug addict, oversexed, and an abuser--but each time he seemed to skate by consequence-free. He never seems to take responsibility for his actions and often slyly explains them away by blaming some external fact
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
TW: domestic abuse, addiction, depression, suicide

I loved reading Tan’s memoir Naturally Tan just a couple of weeks ago but I had completely forgotten that Karamo’s memoir was already out until I saw his interview with Trevor Noah. And I think I did the perfect thing deciding to listen to the audiobook because this was a wonderful experience.

As the title suggests, this book is Karamo’s story of personal growth, healing and hope. It’s not told in a clearly chronological manner but each chapter d
Caidyn (he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!

CW: intimate partner violence, drug use, and suicide

This book has been on my radar forever. Why? Because I love Queer Eye, a show I never expected to love in the first place — but, that’s a story for another time. And, I’ll say it, Karamo never exactly stood out to me. I really liked him, but he never stood out to me. At least, not until the second season. Then, damn. He was making me cry every fucking episode because he was just so amazing. (Personally,
Hannah Smith
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Audiobook version.

Kind of wish I didn't read this. It's not very well-written and very repetitive, self-satisfying and corny. Sorry Karamo.
Bill Lynas
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While my daughter has been watching the Netflix series Queer Eye for a few years I only discovered it last year. I've now enjoyed four brilliantly entertaining series (& am currently watching series 5) so it was nice to receive this autobiography of the Fab Five's culture expert as a Father's Day present.
The book opens with Karamo Brown explaining how his father wanted his son to have a name reflecting & honouring their culture & identity, & not one passed down by British colonisers through slav
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Karamo Brown does such a wonderful job on Queer Eye that I really hesitated over rating 2 stars. A lot of the messages in his book align with who he is on the show, which I guess is why there are so many high ratings here.
But this just wasn't quality writing. The main thing that brought it down for me was the repetition. Multiple repeat discussions of incidents that had already been covered in previous chapters.
That and he seemed a little too self-satisfied. I'm cringing as I write that because
Apr 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
I didn’t know a thing about his past but really like him on QE. I felt like this was a damage control piece put out by someone who has many skeletons and best to put his ugly actions out there before others did and tarnished his image he has created for the show. I wish I hadn’t even read this and really I’m not sure why I did.
Such a fantastic memoir, whether or not you're a Queer Eye fan. Karamo shares his life story, beginning with a loving family that eventually breaks apart due to addiction and abuse. He's not afraid to talk about his own experiences, too, with drugs and alcohol and how he earned a reputation as "crazy" while on MTV's THE REAL WORLD (which wasn't his last stint with reality TV before Queer Eye). I was especially moved with the story of how he learned he was a father, and how he took that responsib ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Pretentious, moralistic, judgemental, confrontational, performative, egotistical, impulsive, and full to bursting with rspectability politics

Every line of this book sounds like it was written for a pull quote.

He wanted other people to save him from his drug use but says "they didn't have the language". That line is repeated everywhere - that he or someone else "didn't have the language." This is used to gloss over and dismiss a LOT, while actively ignoring that just because someone "has the la
Ginny Beck
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
It basically reads like a big long entertainment magazine profile piece (it literally ends with a pitch for his new podcast, lol) BUT I like the show and I enjoyed reading stories about his life, and if, like me, that’s what you’re looking for, it’s worth reading.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
“I decided to forgive myself. I’ve learned over the years that we become emotional wrecks when we don’t forgive ourselves for the things in our lives that we couldn’t control or that didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to. So it was important to let it go.”

Seeing as I don’t watch Queer Eye and I didn’t watch The Real World on MTV back in the day I was not that familiar with Karamo. I only knew that he was part of the QE reboot on Netflix so I went into this story clueless as what I was getti
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I blazed through this in about a day. The writing style is very casual, the font is larger and there are a fair amount of photos so it's a quick read. Karamo's story is fascinating. I think this would be great on audio if he read it. However, it was organized more by topic than by chronology which made it a little harder to keep track of what was going on when. ...more

I love Queer Eye. I love the Fab 5. My life is better because Karamo, Bobby, Tan, Jonathan and Antoni are in it, but I gotta admit Karamo became my favorite as soon as the show started. His advice, positivism and encouragement, are inspiring and so important. Of course as soon as I saw he was publishing a book, I HAD TO GET IT and read it.

Karamo's story was so much more than I expected. If you've watched Queer Eye, you see he is a positive guy who believes in speaking out, expressing ou
Apr 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio, nonfiction, adult
Without getting too negative here, we'll just say that this book didn't raise my opinion of Karamo. I'd hoped to learn more of what's beneath the surface-- which readers do, to some extent-- but he seems pretty tied up in his showbusiness career (and, on the side, social work-- and I'm not sure I understand the intersection).

I didn't like the format of the book-- it's clear that the editor did not demand much by way of structure. There's lots of flashing back, flashing forward, and cross-refere
Rachel A.  Dawson
My love for Queer Eye is REAL so I was stoked to get Karamo’s book from the library this week! It was a great afternoon read and told his story from the beginning until now, giving context to the kindhearted and wise “culture expert” we see on the show. I think Karamo is better on screen than he comes across on the page, but I enjoyed getting to know more about him and hear his story— there’s so much i didn’t know and appreciated him so vulnerably sharing with the world. We need more role models ...more
I fell in love with Queer Eye this month, watched the 5 seasons one after the other, and what struck me about Karamo is how bright and warm he is. he makes people feel better, actively feel better, and this is how this book made me feel. hearing him being so open and honest about his past, his mistakes, his victories, how he got to be apart of Queer Eye; it was all so interesting!
I think the audiobook is such a nice way to experience this memoir, because it truly feels as if you're having a conv
andrea caro
I’m weeping, so there’s that.
I love Queer Eye and I think Karamo's angle is one of the most important parts of each person's transformation. That being said, I have mixed feelings about his memoir. He has not had the easiest life, though most of the difficulties were of his own making. I applaud his ability to get his life on track, but it didn't come without a great deal of ego attached. We have to take responsibility for our actions, and it is one of the central tenets of recovery from addiction, of which Karamo has many ...more
While it was interesting to find out about Karamo's life, I'm not going to pretend this was as good as I thought it was going to be. I had 3 major issues with it:

1. The choice of chapters takes you out of chronological order and I found it off putting.
2. It seems very self serving and an attempt at damage control where issues in his past had come to light and it's an attempt to get ahead of the narrative.
3. The use of language is repetitive and the same quotes and phrases are used over in over a
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I came to this book at a time I really needed some grounding. I needed a moment to take stock of who I am and who I want to be, how to grow into the most positive version of myself, and how to build new connections based on kindness and compassion rather than competitiveness and revenge (to quote Tolkien, ‘You would have a queen, not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! All shall love me and despaiiiiiiiiir!’).

This is the most perfect book for this. As Karamo puts it simply, “Each momen
I'm not going to give this a star rating, because I feel really weird rating someone's life story. But, I will discuss how much I enjoyed reading the book.

CW: abuse, drug addiction/use, attempted suicide

I listened to the audiobook mostly because it was read by Karamo himself and I will always listen to the audiobook over reading the physical book if the author reads the book themselves. I think it's the best experience because you get to hear how the story is intended to sound.

Anyway, I picked
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I love a good celebrity memoir and this was a nice audiobook to keep me company as I did chores and ran errands. I’ve enjoyed watching Karamo on Queer Eye. He’s has had a very interesting life and I learned a lot about him. The writing was just OK and the timeline kind of jumped around. It also felt repetitive at times. Not sure whether I’d go out of my way to recommend this one, unless you are a huge fan of his.

Triggers: Drug use / depression / Suicidal thoughts
Bree Ann Swaner
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Karamo definitely grew on me as I read this book. For some reason I could never really find myself resonating with him through QE, but reading his story helped me to understand who he is and appreciate him for all he’s overcome. It was definitely fun to peer into his life and see what’s made him successful.
Apr 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
2,5. this book sees through a lot of karamo’s life but still feels detached from all he says. i saw a review saying this felt like a damage control published just in case and that’s what it felt like. he goes through abuse, addiction, depression... and yet these things don’t seem to affect him or the reader. the book is not very well written, and at least half of it is karamo explaining his own excellence: his decisiveness, his skill to listen, to guide, his extensive work experience. i mean it’ ...more
I really enjoyed this book; it’s not a literary memoir, but it’s thorough and well organized and entertaining. What I loved the most is how open and honest Karamo is about his own journey and shortcomings. He doesn’t try to paint a picture of a person who has it all together; on the contrary, he is forthcoming about his mistakes and flaws, and how he has grown throughout his life. Seeing his progress as he evolves as a person is very satisfying.
Shayna Ross
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Here's the thing: I like Karamo a lot. He is a great person and has a phenomenal personality. He is a handsome dude and dresses like a pro. He's great!

This book is not so much.

A memoir of sorts, Karamo dictates his life story into central themes for each chapter that follows a formulaic approach: shares the story piece, explain what he learned, and passes that inspiration to you, the reader. It reads VERY MUCH like his Queer Eye persona (more like per season 3), which brings a different experien
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
There has been a sudden increase in the bookstores for people trying to monetize their own story, this book is no exception, and I cannot say that it is something necessarily bad, however, I am not very convinced by this execution.
This particular book tries to uncover suffering as a way for growth, mostly favouring positive psychology. His story is not something usual, but it always depends on the angles.
Karamo is opening up about his hardships related with his name, colorism, church and being
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqiap, non-fiction
oh boy
so many red flags

1. so, karamo has been emotionally and physically abusive in the past with boyfriends which he explains away by saying that his dad was abusive towards his mom. then he decided to stop being abusive when one of his boyfriends left his and after three months of anger management he no longer physically abused his partners. now though, it he tells cute anecdotes about how he tells his fiance what to wear because 'he knows more about fashion'....hmm
2. he was a drug user who ju
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Such an inspiring story of hope, love, loss, and overcoming tremendous obstacles. Karamo's life story is brilliantly shared and he brings light to many difficult situations. ...more
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Karamo Brown is an American television host, reality television personality, psychotherapist, and activist. Brown began his career in 2004 on the MTV reality show The Real World: Philadelphia. He currently stars as the culture expert in the Netflix series Queer Eye.

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