Biography: Released 10/14/14: 291 Pages
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program for an honest review
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 don’t know quite how to review this book. If you know my blog or follow my reviews on Goodread then you know I stick mainly to fiction and some pretty trashy romance related fiction at that. Hey it’s what I enjoy reading, don’t judge. I do not venture into non-fiction very often and I must confess this is my very first biography. Just not something I’m interested in most of the time. This year though I signed up for a couple of reading challenges and both of the lists had read a biography as one of the requirements. So when I saw this one for review and being a fan of NPH I decided to request this to fill my challenge requirements. So while I know how I want to rate this book I’m unclear on how to convey that rating to you because I have nothing to compare this book to. When I rate and review books I am always comparing it to books I feel are the same caliber. It helps me decide what sort of star rating to give it.
Being this book is a first for me I’m going to just have to go on my gut reaction to the book, and as I finished the last page (after a marathon reading season) with a smile on my face I have to give it high stars. I loved this book. I loved the concept and the laugh out loud moments and that I could jump on YouTube and check out the clips from his life’s work that he talks about. I loved the honesty and twisted dry humor and the opportunity to get to know this man better. I also appreciated the chance to get to see what it was like for someone to come out to the world about something so private and personal and their sexuality knowing that it could cause controversy at the time. Straight people take for granted that our relationships and love life is going to be accepted by pretty much everyone, to have to hide your relationship and identity is something the vast majority of us will not have to deal with. I thank Mr. Harris for the opportunity to live in his shoes and experience something that I will never have to live through.
As a child growing up around the same time as Mr. Harris (I was born in 74), I vividly remember the choose your own adventure books. I would spend hours reading and rereading the story to see how far I could take the characters. Picking this format for the book was quite clever, though I must confess I cheated a bit and didn’t skip around like I was supposed to, with lead to a couple of surprises put in the pages for readers like myself. I actually think this could be the perfect format for biographies ( or perhaps just celebrity biographies), it gives the reader the chance to skip areas of a person’s life that person’s life that might not interest them, like a person’s love life, friend’s letters or magic tricks…(although that was kinda cute too).
Not knowing what makes a good biography I am lost for what to tell you it included or excluded. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much more than I thought I would. I read it in two days, which is quite fast for my current reading pace. It was interesting to read these stories from his life and see some of what went on back stage at the awards shows and theater productions he was a part of. The peeks into his beautiful family’s life were heartwarming. Mr. Harris is an interesting personality and quite the entertainer in print, on-screen and on stage. I would recommend this book to fans of his and even those who just find him mildly amusing. For being my first biography I’m afraid I’ve set my standards quite high by starting with this book.