Thursday, January 21, 2016

Audiobook Review: "Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography" by Neil Patrick Harris, read by the author

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography Neil Patrick Harris
Published: October 14, 2014
ISBN: 9781467686334
Genre: Memoir
Source; Audible

You might enjoy this audiobook if you like: Neil Patrick Harris (duh!), Choose Your Own Adventure books (double duh!), Celebrity Memoirs, Magic Tricks

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 guest stint on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. 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!

My Thoughts:
I can't say I'm a huge NPH fan. I mean, I like him well enough, but I only vaguely remember Doogie Howser and I never watched How I Met Your Mother, so I'm certainly not a super-fan.  In fact, the one slice of his work that I would say I follow is his audiobook narrations (which are some of the best).  So, when my book club chose this book, I opted to take the audio route (which I didn't finish in time for my book club, which I couldn't attend anyway, but oh well....).

I am a fan of humorous celebrity memoirs in audio.  In fact, they are my go-to as they are a nice carrot to get my tush to the gym so I can listen while I sweat.  I was a little apprehensive about how this would work in audio as the whole "Choose Your Own Adventure" genre isn't really suited for that medium.  The book was edited a bit for it to work...and it does, sort of.  Honestly, I'm not sure if I would have been able to get through this book if I actually tried to read it.  I liked having the narration just go straight through, but there were some chronological issues.  Still, I think the benefits of this in audio outweigh the drawbacks.

However, I can't deny the fact that I found this to be very gimmicky.  Neil Patrick Harris's life story is, well, not exactly that exciting.  He doesn't have a unique story, such as those written about by Aasif Mandvi or Rachel Dratch.  And he never finds some overarching message to convey, like Amy Poehler or Tina Fey do in their books.  Basically, he's had it pretty easy.  I can see how putting his "uneventful for Hollywood" life in a Choose Your Own Adventure format might be an attractive option, but it was still obvious to me that there really wasn't much there.

If you are a NPH fan, you will love this book.  However, I'm not sure there is really anything here for anyone else...except magic tricks and drink recipes.

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

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