Narrator: Neil Patrick Harris
Series: Stand Alone
Published by Crown Archetype on October 14, 2014
Genres: Biography, Contemporary, LGBT
Length: 7 hours 15 minutes
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.
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!
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 🙂