Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Review: "Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography"

"Choose Your Own Autobiography" by Neil Patrick Harris
First published in 2014
294 pages
My rating: 3 out of 5
Image from Goodreads

I like Neil Patrick Harris well enough, but I really only picked up his autobiography because I was intrigued by the innovative and fun choose-your-own-adventure format. I had imagined that, no matter what route I selected, I'd eventually read the whole book. Not so. Choosing your own adventure will only take you through certain parts of the NPH saga.

I was disappointed, and I almost put the book down when I realized it wasn't quite as special as I thought. But I had already laughed out loud a handful of times in the first 20 pages, so I decided to soldier on and read the book straight through, forgoing the choosing of my own adventure.

Since this autobiography is not really meant to be read like a normal book, I had to do a bit of flipping back and forth to get my bearings at times. It's roughly chronological but not entirely; it starts with Neil's birth in a small New Mexico city and ends with a variety of untimely deaths -- or the amazing 40th birthday surprise organized by his partner, David.

I enjoyed reading about Neil's time as a child actor on "Doogie Howser," acting on Broadway and hosting awards shows. Neil's full of jokes and many passages made me chuckle. It was particularly interesting to learn about the surrogacy process through which Neil and David had their adorable twins, Gideon and Harper. And did you know Neil's a magician and president of the board of directors of the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood?

There are magic tricks, recipes and hilarious alternate endings mixed in with Neil's life story, as well as anecdotes from several of Neil's friends and co-workers like Whoopi Goldberg and Seth MacFarlane.

Most of the book was lighthearted, but I didn't like the occasional gossipy tone when Neil named names and talked about the difficult actors and directors he's worked with in the past. I was also irritated by the excessive number of puns; they were funny at first but got old quickly. "Gay-teaseburg Address," Neil? Really? And, though Neil tries to adopt an everyman voice, it's clear that most of his life has been anything but average.

If you're into celebrity memoirs or a big Neil Patrick Harris fan, check out this autobiography. Otherwise, you can probably skip this one and not miss out on a too much.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you did a review on this. I too am intrigued by the Choose Your Own Adventure portion of it. I just bet it takes away from the quality of the book. And naming actors? That's a pretty risky move. I think I'll skip this one haha


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