Sunday, October 4, 2015

Review: "Choose Your Own Autobiography" by Neil Patrick Harris

The unique "choose your own adventure"-style autobiography could only be pulled off by someone with a great sense of humor or a magician, and it so happens that Neil Patrick Harris is both of these things. The entire autobiography is written in second person, so it tries to put you in Neil's shoes, as though you are getting to experience his life. Most chapters are on the shorter side, ending with choices that either continue the story along the same theme or timeline, or could take you someplace completely different. You can choose to read through all of his acting experiences (Doogie Howser, How I Met Your Mother, Broadway shows), his interest in magic and performing as a magician, his personal life from growing up to raising two kids of his own, or skip around and get a little of each.

I found the experience of skipping around NPH's life non-chronologically both rewarding and frustrating. I really enjoyed it the first two times I went through because I really wanted to hear about how he got in to magic so I read those first, and went back for his acting and family life afterwards. After "finishing" the adventure a second time, there were still a lot of passages I had missed. I suppose if you were able to put it aside and read it again a year later or so, you might get different pieces of his life, but I wanted to finish it all in one go. I ended up flipping through and reading the passages I had missed, which were quite a few! That part wasn't as much fun.

There are a few chapters that are completely made up, such as if you were to make the choice to have a horrible childhood. There's also a running gag where several outcomes bring you to a tragic end in a similar way where only the small details have changed, and though you are almost saved, ultimately "Your body is never found." These probably only make up about 15 pages of the 300-page book and are funny, though it was my least favorite part of the book.

All things considered, I really enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris' Choose Your Own Autobiography. The stories he included were all interesting, whether I was familiar with the show he talked about acting in or not. There's not a lot of information on any one thing, but there's a little information on everything it seems. If you're looking to read 30+ pages just about his time on How I Met Your Mother, you'll be disappointed. But if you want to know a bit about that and appreciate some Barney jokes throughout, this book is for you. This autobiography has it all - even recipes, a crossword puzzle, and a hidden signature page (shh).

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

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