Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris, review by Melissa Fox
It seems that celebrity bios are a dime a dozen. Everyone needs to throw their hat into the ring and tell their life story. So, it takes something truly unusual to make the run-of-the mill celebrity bio stand out.
And Neil Patrick Harris -- child TV star, theater buff and Tony-winning actor, and star of a 9-year-long sitcom show run -- delivers.
The first unusual thing: it's a choose your own adventure book. (I loved those as a kid! And, obviously, so did Harris.)
Yes, you did read that right. You get to pick and choose what you want to experience as you read. Which brings me to the second unusual thing: it's in the second person.
*You *are Neil Patrick Harris. And, I'm here to say, it's a fantastic experience.
You can even choose the way to experience this book: either print and audio. I ended up choosing audio. (Event though I ended up picking up the print book as well. Just to see.) And what an experience it is. On the one hand, listening to the book, I missed out on the whole "choose your own" part; it's kind of hard to do that with audio. Instead of leaping through the book following one path (some of which include fake deaths by sand trap, avalanche, or bowling ball) or another (where he/you end up overweight and working in a Schlotzsky's), he reads it straight through. So, does get a little difficult to tell which is Truth and what was Fiction.
But the positives completely offset the negatives in this listening experience. For one: it's NEIL PATRICK HARRIS narrating. And he's brilliant. He does voices (I LOVE his announcer voice) and there are clips from TV shows and movies (the best one is the audio of 13-year-old Neil doing a speech on optimism). There are also magic tricks that had me pulling over to the side of the road to figure out. And (in my favorite
section) the vocal annotation of David Burtka in the chapter on how they met which just slayed me with adorableness.
I could go on and on raving about this one. I loved every moment I spent listening to it. The format (using second person instead of presenting it as "this is my life") involved me, and on top of that NPH has a wonderful sense of humor and gratitude about his life. Maybe it's not great literature, but it was a truly enjoyable book.