Neil Patrick Harris's 'Choose Your Own Autobiography': What are critics saying?(Read article summary)
Many reviewers found Harris's autobiography entertaining, though some found the format, in which the narrator is referred to as 'you' and the reader chooses what course to take, distracting.
Neil Patrick Harris’s new autobiography gives you options.
Titled “Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography,” the memoir by Harris is modeled after “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style books. Do you want to try out for the TV show “Doogie Howser, M.D.” (on which Harris starred), or would you rather pass? Do you feel like having some caviar with Elton John, or are you not a fan of the fishy delicacy?
Harris’s book was released on Oct. 14 and has been selling steadily – it currently occupies the number 9 spot on the IndieBound hardcover nonfiction list for the week of Oct. 30 and the number 10 spot on the New York Times print and e-book nonfiction list for the week of Nov. 2. It’s achieving this sales performance on lists that are currently occupied by many other celebrity memoirs. “Parks and Recreation” actress Amy Poehler, Cary Elwes of “The Princess Bride,” and “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham all also have bestselling memoirs that were released within the last several weeks.
The memoir has received mostly positive reviews, though some critics said the format of the book is distracting. Barnes & Noble wrote that Harris’s “uniqueness shines brightly in this fetching, sometimes far-fetched autobiography, which puts you in his shoes and challenges you to walk through his spontaneous, unconventional, and unpredictable life. Definitely worthy of the highest of fives,” referring to Harris’s character on “How I Met Your Mother” who enjoys giving high-fives. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writer Jim Higgins wrote that the book has “frequent, brilliant wit… Harris and [co-writer David] Javerbaum keep pulling out one trick after another,” and Winnipeg Free Press writer Jenny Henkelman called the book “entertaining,” though she wrote that the choices-based story mode “is probably less fun to the average reader than it is to NPH himself. The gimmick doesn't elevate the book, but it doesn't sink it, either.”
And San Francisco Chronicle writer David Wiegand called the book's use of "you" "precious," though he noted that the book is “far more readable than most hoary exemplars of [showbiz memoirs].”