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An unusual way to present an autobiography: imagining you are the protagonist in the story, as the author describes events as "you are.....", establishes a unique rapport with the reader.
I didn't know anything about Neil Patrick Harris, other than he had been the star of Dougie Houser, which I'd watched as a kid.
This upbeat account of his life in showbiz, coming out as a gay man, then raising kids with his life partner is full of wit and humour while being inspiring and revelatory.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Neil Patrick Harris tells all in a unique and humorous Choose Your Own Adventure style memoir! Choose Your Own Autobiography uses second-person pov just like the CYOA books and puts the reader in Neil Patrick Harris’ (NPH) shoes. “You” are in the driver’s seat and get to jump to “your” career and personal highlights as you go.
I am a fan of humorous memoirs and of NPH the personality, so I had a feeling this book would be lots of fun. I know NPH from awards shows and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog but haven’t seen an episode of Doogie Howser or HIMYM. This book is great for casual fans that want to learn more about the actor, and longtime fans will get a kick hearing behind the scenes anecdotes.
This is one of the more entertaining memoirs I’ve read/listened to. The CYOA format is nostalgic and clever and helps keep the story flowing in an interesting way, and I didn’t mind the second-person perspective at all.
I like this kind of celebrity memoir that includes behind the scenes info from the entertainment world as well as personal glimpses. NPH dishes about his evolving career including his performances on TV, stage (I wish I got to see Hedwig!) and film, even mentioning his recent turn in Gone Girl. We also get to hear his coming out story, and about meeting husband David Burtka and how they became parents. NPH also discusses his love of magic, Disney, an epic 40th birthday scavenger hunt, and lavish vacations with Elton John.
Special guest testimonials from Sarah Silverman, Nathan Fillion, Whoopi Goldberg, Seth MacFarlane, and more also appear in the book. (The actors’ voices do not appear on the audiobook though) These provide humorous interludes and it’s nice to hear from the actor’s NPH has worked with over the years.
In addition to NPH’s life story, the book is sprinkled with magic card tricks (have a deck of cards handy), cocktail recipes (like Dr. Pourable’s Drink-Along Grog) and David Burtka’s recipe for Bolognese Sauce. Audiobook listeners will be able to access the food and drink recipes (and a cryptic crossword!) in a PDF that comes with the book.
The audiobook is a very entertaining and fast listen. NPH is an engaging reader who obviously brings a lot of personality to the table. You can’t skip around in audio format the way you are meant to do with the CYOA print version, so the audio edition tweaks the formula a bit. With NPH saying “If you want to do this keep listening, or wait a while longer/be patient.” In the audiobook, you also get to hear a bonus audio of young NPH performing a speech. Listening to NPH give his all in this audiobook and hearing about his experiences as an award show host makes me think he will be an awesome host for next year’s Oscars.
If you are a fan of NPH or humorous memoirs I think you will love this very creative autobiography!
37 of 39 people found this review helpful
Other than a few great card tricks (and some drink recipes that sound intoxicatingly good) NPH doesn't have much up his sleeve these days since coming out of the closet in '06. Anyone with a TV is familiar with the former child actor Dr. Doogie and has seen his successful transitions to adult actor, Broadway star, multi-talented host and entertainer, and committed partner and parent (absolutely darling twins, you should look up their yearly Halloween photos!). It's clear that in a relatively un-tumultuous life (by Hollywood showbiz standards) the guy has had a pretty smooth trip chasing his destiny toward the big bright lights. He's kept his cute little boyish nose clean, side stepped a few bad reviews to keep plugging away, and stayed pretty steady.
So, keeping it all humble... what could possibly carry the autobiography of an actor that has only lived 40 something years...without a drug addiction, reality show, or other scandal or dark deed featured on a magazine cover in the checkout line at the grocery store? Wait for it...showmanship, gratitude, and pizzazz in spades. Harris is even entertaining in print; funny enough to laugh hard at himself, down to earth enough to talk about the humility of being able to be a parent, and real enough to express the love he has realized by having his own family.
Sure it's largely gimmicky owing to the format--but this is personal revelation and show biz at it's most fun. The magic tricks alone sound worth the practice to awe your family and friends; the drinks good enough to make a few trips to the liquor store; and the instructions and recipes are PDF included!! (And I howled out loud with laughter when David disappeared off the edge of the mountain while they were...read and find out--this is very funny stuff, I'm laughing again right now!) Like a Broadway show itself; fun entertaining book--and don't miss the PDF download. Sometimes it's nice to hear from a person that could have anything, that family and friends matter most.
32 of 34 people found this review helpful