Choose Your Own Autobiography: Neil Patrick Harris


It’s taken you years to get to a pace where you felt ready to share your truth with the world. But now that you are, you are going to do it your way. No more pretending. No more lying by omission You are going to proudly let everybody know that you are gay, and you are going to do it your way…

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2009 Academy Awards! Now, please welcome your host, Neil Patrick Harris!”

…by hijacking an awards show.

I don’t read many biographies, but when I say Neil Patrick Harris’s choose your own adventure style autobiography at Chapters, I had no choice but to buy it. How could you say no?

This book was really fun to read. The CYOA format kept you really engaged in this weird, piecemeal story, and made it really hard to put the book down (as evidenced by the fact that I am writing this review at 5AM). Aside from the actual life events of NPH (which you can experience in many different configurations), there are lots of amusing detours you can take, many of which, in true CYOA fashion, end in your death. There are also lots of notes from friends and colleagues of Neil’s, a few drink recipes, a pasta bolognese recipe (courtesy of David Burtka, Neil’s husband and professional chef), and a crossword puzzle. You can follow one path where Neil teaches you a number of magic tricks (which I didn’t try yet, because I don’t own a deck of cards). The book ends with a very touching Tony-style musical wrap-up.

Another reason I’m up so late is that reading this book made me want to watch every single awards show musical number NPH has done. When was the last time you did that? That’s too long. Go watch them now. I’ll wait here.

That was a nice break. Awesome musical numbers, hey? Alright, alright. Let’s get back to it.

NPH talks about his long love affair with theatre, his career (from Doogie Howser, M.D. to Hedwig and the Angry Inch), coming to terms with his sexuality, coming out publicly, his relationship with David, the crazy process of having his twins, being friends with Elton John, becoming a magician, doing How I Met Your Mother, hosting every awards show that will have him, and more. Thanks to the format, he can cover a lot of ground.

I especially liked reading about NPH’s… not struggle, that’s not the right word, but process? I guess? Anyway, the whole figuring out he was gay thing. (God I’m tired. Is this making sense? Have I mentioned that it’s 5AM?) And, of course, the super happy ending with a loving husband and two unbelievably beautiful twins. (In the book, the story of how they me and started dating is annotated by David, adorably.) As a queer woman myself, NPH’s “coming out” narrative really resonated with me. And that is not an aspect of my life I often see reflected in media. So that was cool.

(When I say NPH’s story resonated with my own experience, I mean the part about the long, drawn-out process of figuring out something that in hindsight was super obvious. Not the part about being publicly semi-outed by Perez Hilton.)

ANYWAY. This isn’t a super inspirational book or anything like that. It’s not going to teach you tons or revolutionize the way you look at life. It’s just kind of funny and fun. But there’s nothing wrong with that.

I’m going to bed now.


Books read: 6


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