With 4.4 million subscribers, 24-year-old Joey Graceffa has garnered a dedicated fanbase through his gameplay videos and vlogs. On YouTube, his personality is sunny and upbeat, but Graceffa’s new memoir (out today) shows that his life has been far from easy.
Graceffa talks candidly in the book about growing up with an alcoholic mother. Some of the scenes are violent and intense and he says they were not easy to write. “There are definitely some moments where I talk about my mom that I had never shared before with anyone — even my family — and it’s being talked about in the book,” he says.
“I [used to] keep those moments in the back of my head and I thought there were going to go away, but by writing this book, it really healed a lot of the wounds that I didn’t even realize were there.”
A teaching moment
He also shows what it’s like to grow up with an autistic brother, whom he is very protective and close with. “So many people are just unaware of what autism is and how it affects people,” he says.
“I’ve seen people not know how be afraid of interacting with an autistic kid and it’s just because they don’t know how. I don’t want my brother or any other kid out there who is dealing with [a learning disability] to feel like they’re less of a person than anyone else.”
Graceffa says his sexuality has always been one of the biggest questions his fans had for him but the book is the first time he’s addressing the question that, in his words, everyone wants to know. “I’m definitely very, very excited,” he says. “It will allow me to be more honest and open with everyone.”
“In Real Life” is not only an eye-opening read, it’s a good reminder to young adults that they don’t really know the people they follow on YouTube or Instagram as well as they think they do. What happens “In Real Life” is a more complicated story.
If you go:
New York City
May 28, 5 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Union Square
33 E. 17th St., 212-253-0810
June 8, 6 p.m.
279 Harvard St., Brookline
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence