Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

Neil Patrick Harris is an American hero for good reason. He made Barney Stinson, our favorite rapist character, popular on the frustratingly long How I Met Your Mother. He was Doogie Howser which I hear was pretty great. I have no idea. I never saw it because I’m under 30. But he’s been great on Broadway and is just incredibly talented. I was excited to read this book because I read the choose your own adventure books as a kid. But here’s the deal, those books are actually pretty lousy, and this book is not lousy. I will say that the format didn’t work for me after a while and was distracting and pretty annoying. As someone who thinks timelines are an important device for creative non-fiction, I was basically reading it straight through and none of it made sense like that. However, the thing I liked about Harris’ autobiography is how normal he is. Now, normal is pretty relative. This guy was a television start at 15 and was on Broadway super young. So it’s not normal as in traditional, but nothing beyond the horror of every human happens to him which I found charming and a bit of a relief. I would prefer that no one were molested by their uncles, held at gunpoint by muggers, or ritually harassed for any reason and it was nice to read a story of someone’s life where they struggled with things that felt more average. He did have to come to grips with his sexuality in an industry to that to this day is pretty damn homophobic. You can name on two hands openly LGBT actors who are as successful as Neil Patrick Harris and he didn’t come out until after HIMYM came out. He’s very into magic. I am not into magic so that device didn’t work for me or it could have been employed in a more creative way, but I think NPH’s humor and reflection shine through the cheese. NPH deals with things like becoming a parent, balancing relationships and the most demanding career possible, and coping with loss, all considered average things but he gives insight into his very distinct experience.



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