Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Magical Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

Several years ago I read an article in Entertainment Weekly magazine written by Neil Patrick Harris.  As a child who was roughly the same age as his Doogie Howser M.D. character, I was completely smitten with the young actor.  I followed his career, and when he began appearing in Broadway shows and working in regional theatre I was overjoyed to find that my favorite TV boyfriend was still acting and doing well.  The article detailed his successful navigation of the waters of child stardom and also was a vehicle to lend advice to struggling actors to keep at it.  The article, its witty conversational tone and the story of his perseverance and what would come of it stuck with me for ages.  When I found out he had written an autobiography I wanted to be the first in line to read it.  I started requesting copies months ago, and when Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography showed up as a selection on Blogging For Books I was overjoyed.

This book is everything.

I must admit, for all the love I have for Neil Patrick Harris as an actor, I may love him as an author even more.  This book is truly enjoyable for people who discovered this talented man at any stage of his career.  If you never met him until he showed up in glitter, heels and a platinum blonde wig on Broadway as Hedwig or if you've reveled in his talent since he starred with Whoopi Goldberg in Clara's Heart, there's something here for you.  Many people came to love him as the womanizing Barney on How I Met Your Mother, but oddly I missed that whole trajectory of his career.  Reading about it in the truly awesome "Choose Your Own Adventure" format, I have broken out the DVDs of the first four seasons that I bought my husband for Christmas.  I'm such a completionist that I have yet to watch any episodes of the show because i hadn't seen it from the beginning, so now I have the joy of discovering NPH in a new to me show.  I am a very lucky girl.

This book takes you on a wild ride.  If you have never experienced the joy of a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, here's how it works.  You make your way happily along in the story and then at several points you are presented with a choice.  Do you want to have a happy childhood in New Mexico with a loving family that supports your love of acting?  Turn to page 8.  Do you want a not so idyllic childhood?  Turn to page 6 and find out what happens to the boy raised in a crack den.  The choices are constant and take you in hilarious directions.  You may be beaten to death by the son of a famous actor, or wind up as dinner for hungry piranhas if you make an unwise decision based on your love of Sondheim.  Sometimes you will be saddled with co-stars who are quite literally nuts but you'll also be treated to some swell cocktails and get to have an amazing encounter with a hot German circus performer.  No matter where you turn, there is magic.  You may even be elected president by a bunch of magical folks shortly after marrying the man of your dreams and raising the most adorable twins ever created. It's all in how you choose!

I have now read this book several ways.  I've jumped around and chosen many adventures.  I've casually leafed through and found a page where Neil declared my method of reading would probably lead us to be besties if we met in person.  I already knew that would happen, but now I realize that Neil Patrick Harris can read my mind.  He is that cool.  He GETS me.

You need to read this book.  When it ends you need to go back and read it again and again.  At the very end make a note because I know my new best friend (who starred in Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog - the most wonderful web series of all time) would want you to.  Write "If you'd like to watch the most amazing way to announce your world domination and appointment as the host of the Academy Awards check out your recent Instagram post!"

Thank you SO SO much to Blogging For Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book - several times!  It gets five shiny gold stars and the promise of many happy returns to the How I Met Your Mother section which I intentionally glossed over so I wouldn't spoil anything for myself.  

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