Audiobook Review: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick HarrisNeil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
Narrator: Neil Patrick Harris
Length: 7 hrs, 15 mins
Published by Random House Audio on October 14, 2014
Genres: Biography, Humor
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
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three-half-stars

You’ve already made a great choice by picking up the audio edition of NEIL PATRICK HARRIS’S CHOOSE YOUR OWN AUTOBIOGRAPHY. This hilarious book has been adapted especially for the audiobook edition so you’ll hear all of the same fun and humor from the printed version but you don’t have to make any decisions or jump around—just kick back, relax and listen. Plus, it features exclusive bonus audio of young Neil delivering an adorable speech! That’s audio you won’t hear in any version of this book other than the audiobook!

Celebrity bios really didn’t interest me that much until I got into audiobooks, but I cannot stop listening to them now. For the record, I regret nothing. Anyway, Neil Patrick Harris’ autobiography had a lot of appeal for me, because I’ve always liked him (I think I even had a really sad crush on him in Doogie Howser reruns when I was like 7). Of course, after seeing him in Hedwig and the Angry Inch last year, thanks to the unbelievable generosity of Gillian (Writer of Wrongs) and her mother, I’m even more interested in him, because that musical was fucking astounding. Choose Your Own Autobiography isn’t Hedwig, but it was a really fun way to pass a few hours.

gif neil patrick harris hedwig

Based on my small sampling, NPH’s autobiography is a bit more what I was expecting from a celebrity autobiography. The others have all been very polite and either self-congratulatory or self-deprecating. NPH doesn’t tell all, but he is willing to shine people in less favorable lights. He mentions, for example, that Kelsey Grammer was completely unprepared for his starring role in a play they did together. NPH also mentions the time that HE was completely unprepared later and really understood what Grammer had been dealing with. It’s not that NPH recites constant drama or is out to make people look bad, I don’t think, but he doesn’t sugarcoat things.

The other difference is that NPH is a lot more open than I was coming to expect from these things. He relates some personal details about his sexual life, for example. More than that, though, I feel like there’s this urge to establish a commonality with the audience in so many celebrity books. NPH doesn’t really do that. He’s well-aware of his opportunities and that he lives life on a scale that most cannot aspire to. He’s mostly not braggy about it, but he’s really open about the amazing things he’s gotten to do throughout his life.

The format of the biography is a really strange one, even more so because I went with the audiobook, which obviously does not allow for adventure choosing. They adapted it, yeah, but it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. For one thing, at least in the audiobook, it’s not told in an entirely linear fashion, which is an odd narrative choice. Even more oddly, NPH wrote it to be a choose your own adventure, which means in second person. It kind of worked, but was also a bit distracting.

gif neil patrick harris judging posture

He includes, in classic Choose Your Own Adventure style, some options that result in his untimely death. This gag was funny to start with, but got less so as time passed. He dies in the same way several times, which was not entertaining. I would have skimmed all but the first if I were reading the book. The magic tricks throughout also failed to interest me in the slightest.

Typically, I’m not a person greatly interested in the family life of movie stars, or mostly anyone. NPH proves an exception. He and his family are just so cute. It’s clear that he and David love their children to the absurd degree that makes them, I suspect, amazing parents. All children should be lucky enough to be loved that much. Plus, the section where David joins in the narration a bit and they talk about their first meeting was just the cutest thing.

He talks at length about HIMYM for those who are into that, and also about Dr. Horrible’s and Hedwig, which are my favorite NPH things. He goes into Doogie Howser quite a bit also, and that was interesting because child actors have a strange experience. He talks about his main projects, but a lot of things he pretty much skims. The funny thing was that apparently his big movie successes were the Smurfs movies, which I did not realize were a thing that existed. Way to be knowledgeable about pop culture, self!

doctor horrible neil patrick harris gif

The main appeal of the audiobook was the narration. I mean, obviously. NPH is theatrical in every fiber of his being, which means that he makes an excellent narrator. He does hilarious voices and sings, which makes me oh so very happy. Whether Choose Your Own Autobiography would have kept my interest in print, I don’t know, but this was fantastic.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 neil patrick harris thumbs up

3 responses to “Audiobook Review: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris”

  1. See, I’m so torn on this one, because yeah, NPH is awesome and his voice is awesome and I’d LOVE to listen to him. But in a Choose Your Own Adventure story? That just seems like it would be crazy weird.

    Him and David talking about their first meeting though? ummm okay maybe I do really want this.
    Debby (Snuggly Oranges) recently posted…Book Review: Inspire by Cora CarmackMy Profile

  2. […] of Fictions reviews Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris and Narrated by Neil Patrick […]

  3. I so want to read this book! I gave it to my brother for Christmas, so sooner or later I’ll make him lend it to me 😛

    Ps. I have a blog as well, if you want to check it out! 😀
    -> http://frannieinthepages.blogspot.com/
    Frannie Pan @ In Clouds of Pages recently posted…Love-a-thon Challenge 2015: Book Spine PoetryMy Profile

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