Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

January 28, 2015 Reviews 21

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own AutobiographyNeil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
Narrator: Neil Patrick Harris
Series: Stand Alone
Published by Crown Archetype on October 14, 2014
Genres: Biography, Contemporary, LGBT
Pages: 294
Length: 7 hours 15 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased

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 typically read autobiographies, though I’m not sure why. Maybe I assume they won’t be as interesting as fiction? Idk why I’ve thought that though, since the very fact that there was a legitimate reason for them to write an autobiography probably suggests that their life is not boring. It may even feel like fiction, it so not like my boring life. But whatever my the reason, Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography was the first one I’ve read. What a great way to start – because his life is AMAZBALLS.

First off, I listened to the audiobook – narrated by Neil Patrick Harris (NPH) himself. And he’s such a skilled entertainer, he really carried me away quickly into his life tale. There’s little bits sporadically from people he’s known, writing anecdotes about NPH and a different narrator tells all of those. The only thing that could have made the audio experience better would have been each of those people voicing their parts. I also imagine it would have been uber expensive, since you have people like Whoopi Goldberg, Seth Farland and Kelly Rippa in the mix.

A couple treats you get that you couldn’t get from the print version are – 1: A section annotated by David (NPH’s partner), in his voice and 2- a recording of child NPH giving an optimism speech. Both are brilliant and put huge smiles on my face.

You do miss out by doing audio too, though. He frequently mentions drink recipes and a couple food recipes from the included PDF – which of course you don’t have (maybe you do get that with the cd rather than audible download?). There’s also the choose your own adventure aspect – obviously you can’t pick an adventure and change tracts frequently. But the audiobook has been recorded with that in mind, pulling you along to all the possible scenarios in its own order. I like to think it’s a little treat, since now you get the story in an order chosen for you by NPH (or, more likely, his editor). How cool!

NPH wrote the autobiography using the pronoun “you” instead of “I”, which was both unexpected and great. I think you get more swept up in things and feel more part of what’s happening when it’s “you.” And it did lead to a few hilariously weird sentences. But the whole autobiography was sprinkled with funny word-play.

The choose your own autobiography led to some hilarious, fictional endings to NPH’s life. But I LMAO, literally aloud (on walks, around strangers who looked at me weird), throughout the whole book. NPH’s ability to make you laugh while telling a story really shone through.

But the reason I loved NPH’s autobiography so much was actually all the heartwarming moments. NPH has been a fairly private celebrity (for which I don’t blame him one bit) and I think it made these glimpses into his private life all the more special. I nearly wept when he talked about the birth of Harper and Gideon. I wore a ridiculous smile every time he talked about his amazing family. I loved watching his journey to acceptance of who he was as a gay man, all under the microscope of being a child star.

If, like me, autobiographies really aren’t your thing – I urge you to cast your assumptions aside, at least for this one. Its humorous and heartwarming, jaw dropping and times and there’s even magic 🙂

5 stars Flipping Fantastic

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About Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris is a Tony and Emmy award-winning stage and screen performer, famous for his roles as Barney Stinson in the popular CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother and as the iconic and beloved Doogie Howser, M.D. He’s been in many movies, hosted both the Tony and the Emmy Awards multiple times, performed in several Broadway shows, and enjoys the Twitter (follow him at @actuallyNPH). Oh, and he is an accomplished amateur magician on the side. And the father of twins. And he’s Dr. Horrible.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

21 Responses to “Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography”

  1. Neal Martin @ Dark Urban Fantasy

    Autobiographies were never really my thing either, least of all on audio book. But my sister had this and I decided to listen to it one day. I’m glad I did! It was awesome! NPH comes across as a really cool guy, and funny as well.

    • Berls

      HIMYM is what got me into NPH too! He’s just so hilarious! I think you’ll really enjoy this – I definitely recommend the audio 🙂

  2. Terri M., the Director

    I’ve been curious about this one. I’ve read a few autobiographies. One of my favorites is Michael J. Fox. His first autobiography was really well done and I enjoyed reading it.

    Speaking of NPH, we have a new TV station available and it shows old episodes of Doogie Howser. The cheeks and mullet just make me giggle as I have tuned into a few episodes.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…Book Review 65: Stuck by Jade EbyMy Profile

    • Berls

      Michael J. Fox is an autobiography that I could see myself enjoying – I’ll have to add it! Oh man, Doogie is top funny to watch now. I haven’t ever watched it from beginning to end though, may have to someday for some good laughs.

      • Terri M., the Director

        Make sure to get the FIRST of Fox’s autobiographies. I believe he has 2. My husband tried the second one and didn’t like it as much. I liked the first one because it reflects on his early acting experiences during Family Ties and Back to the Future plus dealing with Parkinson’s (the early days).

        Doogie to Barney to Desi. NPH has quite a range! And the fact Barney got a nod in the Gone Girl Honest Trailer made me laugh.
        Terri M., the Director recently posted…Interview: Leslie Ann Moore, author of A Tangle of FatesMy Profile

        • Berls

          Good to know, I’ll be sure to look for the first one 🙂

          NPH really does – and reading his autobiography I discovered it’s even bigger than I realized.I didn’t know about a lot of his less famous roles and hobbies.

  3. Ramona

    Whoa, “flipping amazing”, you say? I AM like you about autobiographies – I guess I always thought there’s a bit too much vanity in it, lol. Because, barring the case in which you cured cancer or made it rain in Africa, should you really write your story? Well, obviously I was dead wrong. I’ll add this to GR Berls and read it – just ’cause of your review 🙂 Thanks for that!
    Ramona recently posted…Should I Hire A Freelance Editor?My Profile

    • Berls

      I know, I really doesn’t seem like it would be a good read. I think I decided to read this one because I’d heard good things and like NPH a lot. I didn’t expect to love it so much – I do think the audio impacted my mad love for it, since NPH is a great narrator in general. I hope you end up enjoying it!

    • Berls

      It was a hard choice for me, because on one hand you don’t really get to choose your own adventure, but on the other hand you have NPH narrating. I’m glad I chose the audio, because I think having lots of choices could actually be more confusing. And I might have skipped the fake endings, when they actually were funny.

    • Berls

      Me too! And there was a lot about him I didn’t know – it was neat learning more. I even teared up a bit when he talked about the twins 🙂

    • Berls

      I’m not either Stormi – this one caught my attention because I just liked NPH so much and then Felicia read it and liked it so I thought, why not?

  4. Melanie Simmons

    I’ve done a few autobiographies on audio and enjoyed them. I’ve done Kevin Smith, Carrie Fisher and Betty White. It has to be someone I’m interested in. I also did Cary Elwes story on the making of the Princess Bride, not an autobiography, but same principle. Neil Patrick Harris is one that I would like to do sometime soon. I’ve also thought about adding Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Best Audiobooks of 2014 Blog Hop/GiveawayMy Profile

    • Berls

      I’ve thought about Tina Fey and Amy Poehler too – they’re both so funny, I think their autobiographies would be entertaining. I’ve wanted to listen to As You Wish since you reviewed it, since Princess Bride has been one of my favorite movies forever!

    • Berls

      Oh me too! I learned from this autobiography that the magic thing was all NPH brining himself to the character of Barney! I had no idea!

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