Books

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

When I heard Neil Patrick Harris was going to write an autobiography, I fangirled hard.  When I heard his autobiography was going to be in the form of the classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, I was…skeptical.  It sounded cool, but how could it possibly work for a memoir?  I’ve read it now, and once again I feel ashamed for doubting NPH’s creativity and genius.  This was one of the best autobiographies I’ve ever read! 

Although I tried to stay chronological at first (weeding out the clearly fake entries for the “right” ones), I soon found myself torn between developing my magic hobby or my stage career.  Or should I try movies??  And later, did I want to invest in romance or my career?  Soon I had my fingers in four different locations so I could go back and find new paths to investigate, just like I did with the books that inspired NPH.  It was SO FUN, let me tell you.  And incredibly effective–getting to choose your own path through NPH’s life makes all of his opportunities feel even more amazing.  The man has been blessed with a full life, and I so enjoyed getting to play around in it for a few hours.

It’s a weird feeling to be unsure if you’ve read an entire book, but such is the case with Choose Your Own Autobiography.  I died a few times, and I reached several happy conclusions.  I learned about NPH’s family, his classy coming-out, his passion for magic and theater and knowing behind-the-scenes tricks.  I laughed out loud several times, disarmed by his clever humor and genuine warmth.  In short, everything that I enjoy about NPH was in his book.  I cannot recommend it highly enough, and I look forward to seeing what people do now that he has raised the autobiography bar.

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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, and make that book Neil Patrick Harris:  Choose Your Own Autobiography!

Release Date:  October 2014

Want another opinion?  Check out reviews by The Nerdist and SFGate.

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