Genre: Non-fiction, autobiography, humor
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
304 pages, hardcover
Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.
I love Neil Patrick Harris. Like, a lot. I think he’s super funny, talented, and a really cool person. So, of course, I wanted to read his autobiography just because I like him. But then I heard about the unique format for his autobiography, a choose your own adventure, and I was sold. I fully appreciate and love when authors and publishers want to try something new, a new way of doing things that will both attract readers and help to sell new books. But this is an autobiography. It’s impossible to choose your own story when all the events have actually happened and it is based on a REAL person.
My very first note when reading this was, “Funny start! Gonna ❤ this!” It begins with a second person introduction to “you” – you are NPH for the duration of this book (except when there’s you and the real you, as in NPH – yeah, it’s as strange as it sounds). Let me put that in different words: the entire book is written in the second person. I can handle a short story or two written like this, especially when it’s horror. But a WHOLE book? Nope. It took me way too long to read this because of that. I will say it’s written in a light, funny, sometimes sarcastic way that I really enjoyed. I liked learning about NPH’s life. He’s such a cool person, and I especially loved the chapters when he was talking about his husband David Burtka and their two adorable kids. Or when he was talking about his love of the stage.
But after going through the steps (turn to page 8349734 if you want to read about this), and reaching the end THREE separate times without having read all of the chapters, I ended up just going back to the beginning and reading the book in order. I don’t know if this was just me being stupid or a lack of editing, but it was irritating. Plus, jumping around in his life (start of career, end of career, in the middle, beginning, blah blah blah) was not my favorite. I guess I prefer my autobiographies in chronological order, or close to it at least.
We got about two chapters that were what didn’t actually happen in NPH’s life (a bad childhood, ended up working at Schlotsky’s). I wish we would’ve gotten more of that. “Go to page 68478 if you want to experience a bad childhood.” Those were fun and more like an actual choose your own adventure.
The bottom line: I enjoyed learning more about NPH and the writing style was funny (though a little much at times). However, if reading a whole book in the second person sounds annoying, just be prepared for that. I would’ve preferred reading about NPH in a normal autobiography, I think.
Rating: 6 – good, but not great
4 thoughts on “Book Review – Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography”
I felt similar. It was entertaining but a tiny bit gimmicky.
Yeah, exactly. A little disappointing for that reason.
I love NPH and I do plan on reading this book at some point, but it kind of sounds frustrating! lol
It was definitely frustrating! I hope you enjoy it though. Let me know what you think when you check it out. 🙂