Neil Patrick Harris on Neil Patrick Harris

Brittany Strelluf

Neil Patrick Harris is well- known and much-loved for his performances of Barney on How I Met Your Mother, the title character in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog, and  Doogie Houser MD.  Harris can now add the title of author to his list of many talents, since now he has penned his hilarious and heartfelt autobiography; Chose Your Own Autobiography. 

I jumped at the opportunity to grab a copy of this book for review, and given that it turned out to be one of the best autobiographies I have ever read, I am glad I did. On page 45 of this book Harris includes the recipe for his favorite cocktail, a combination of a Manhattan and an Old-Fashioned. He describes it as “the dry spiciness of the former with the slightly sweet fruitier essence of the latter.”  This description struck me as being perfect metaphor for this book.

Harris paints a loving picture of people, places and things that have shaped him throughout his life.  Harris also displays a dry and self -deprecating humor that comes from decades of hard work and lessons learned. 

Choose Your Own Autobiography will make you laugh out loud and also genuinely shed a tear or two.  Harris brings the reader into his life in an intimate way. To further personalize it, He includes personal photographs paired with hilarious copies, and also letters by Nathan Fillion, Whoopi Goldberg, and Kelly Ripa among others. As great as the writing, the humor, the behind the scene info, and the childhood photos all are, my very favorite thing about this book, is Harris’ unabashed adoration of the performing arts. His fiery enthusiasm reignites a passion and excitement for the stage. 

The title comes from the chose your own adventure books that were popular in the 1980’s and 19909’s. While highly entertaining, the format to me, serves a far more important purpose. It is a reminder that as artists, we can be the harshest judges of our own careers.  Harris reminds the reader that a journey is full of peaks and valleys. It can be hard to remember that the journey is far more difficult than it can often appear on the outside. Harris speaks bluntly about his personal insecurities. Sometimes you must turn the page back, so to speak, and make a different choice.

Harris reminds that in order to tell a character’s story, we must first tell our own.
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Photo: SNL Photo Shoot