Book Review – Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography
May 20, 2015
Tired of memoirs that only tell you what really happened?
Sick of deeply personal accounts written in the first person? Seeking an exciting, interactive read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”? Then look no further than Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this revolutionary, Joycean experiment in light celebrity narrative, actor/personality/carbon-based life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life. You will be born in New Mexico. You will get your big break at an acting camp. You will get into a bizarre confrontation outside a nightclub with actor Scott Caan. Even better, at each critical juncture of your life, you will choose how to proceed. You will decide whether to try out for Doogie Howser, M.D. You will decide whether to spend years struggling with your sexuality. You will decide what kind of caviar you want to eat on board Elton John’s yacht.
Choose correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a hideous death by piranhas. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from your time as a child actor, and even a closing song. Yes, if you buy one book this year, congratulations on being above the American average, but make that book Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography!
I had heard a great deal of chatter on this one, and when my friend Katherine asked if I wanted to borrow it, I knew I couldn’t say no.
On the Plus Side:
- The Choose Your Own Adventure format is totally fun and totally original in a memoir. If you’re like me, you still read the book in order to make sure that you don’t miss the fun on any page! My friend Katherine said she chose her own adventure, and I think she may have liked the book a little more than I did so maybe that is the way to go.
- Harris is FUNNY! You will definitely laugh at the humor he uses throughout the entire book.
- This is a great memoir for those who are coming to terms with their sexual orientation. Harris shares his own struggles with coming out, and the struggles that he has and has not encountered in his life as a gay man. I appreciated his openness and honesty in this particular area.
- Harris has had contact with lots of amazing people, and it is fun to hear his stories of being with various famous people. Some of these people even contribute to the book – sometimes in sentimental ways, sometimes with a great deal of humor.
On the Minus Side:
- This is totally a personal preference, but I tend to prefer memoirs that have someone overcoming the odds. Harris discusses being gay, which presented some challenges for him, but overall he makes it seem as if he has lived a pretty charmed life. Most of the struggles he shared are pretty minimal in the whole scheme.
- I am totally a fan of Harris, but I did think he came off as a little cocky at different points in the novel.
If you enjoy lighter memoirs, then I would definitely recommend this one. It is an easy read, and it will make you laugh out loud!
What did you think of Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography?