Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography
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! (via Goodreads)
There is one question to ask when reading an autobiography or memoir: does this person have an interesting story to tell?
Neil Patrick Harris has lived a pretty good life in his first 41 years. He’d probably be the first to admit that. He had a happy childhood, has acted in two hit TV shows*, has been able to pursue his passions for stage acting and magic, and has a great family life. So, what kind of story does Harris have to tell? I kind of imagine he asked the same question. Hence, an autobiography with a twist aimed at Harris’s peers–40 something geeks with an appreciation for the old second person Choose Your Own Adventure books.
As a reader, you can bounce around the chronology of Harris’s life and occasionally meet certain doom! Along the way, there are recipes, magic tricks, and half-(quarter- ?)serious testimonials. Harris’s stories about the industries he’s worked are not revelatory, but they are entertaining. In all, it was a fast, fun read.
*Funny thing, I was never really a Doogie Howser fan and I’ve never watched How I Met Your Mother. My favorite NPH TV show? The short-lived Stark Raving Mad with Tony Shalhoub, even if it did portray a totally unrealistic version of author/editor relationships.
Publishing info, my copy: Crown Publishing Group, Oct 14, 2014, Overdrive Read/Kindle ebook from Tempe Public Library
One note, I read this in electronic form. While both the browser version and the Kindle version were both well linked, it was clumsy moving back and forth through the text. Physical book form is probably more fun.