There’s nothing quite like getting to live take a peek into the life of a complete stranger. For that reason, I enjoy a well-written memoir or biography. That, coupled with the fact that I am a HUGE Neil Patrick Harris fan (How I Met Your Mother, especially, being one of the greatest shows to ever grace television), meant that I was dying to read Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography. I knew that it promised to be a book like no other, and as it was written by NPH, a self-proclaimed lover of magic, I would have expected nothing less.
But I honestly don’t think there is a way to be prepared for the truly magnificent magic trick that he’s pulled in this memoir… Because just by picking up this book you become Neil Patrick Harris. You aren’t just tiptoeing through his memories or observing the profound moments – you’re living them, dictating them, deciding at every integral moment what to do and where to go and who to talk to next.
Hidden within the pages are recipes (for food and cocktails), a crossword puzzle, several magic tricks that you can learn to do, stories of your life as NPH, and even a couple of secret pages you can only come across if you’re awesome (I’m not telling you how!). I read the book through nearly a dozen times, trying to find my way through all of the possible paths to all of the alternate endings, and every readthrough made me laugh out loud, while some brought tears to my eyes. On my first walkthrough I learned how to be a Bro in HIMYM, I became a supervillain (from NPH’s other best work, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), and I got to have the sweetest happily ever after with David, NPH’s husband, and their two beautiful twins, Gideon and Harper. It was glorious.
The beauty of this book is that it really is an adventure. There are fantastical alternate-reality endings (including several where you die and one where you end up working at a deli, which might just be the worst fate of them all). This writing draws you in from the get-go, and the whole endeavor is just so freaking fun that I had a hard time putting it down. I even read some of the sections multiple times they were so good.
To quote NPH directly:
“Choose correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a hideous death by piranhas. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from your time as a child actor, and even a closing song. Yes, if you buy one book this year, congratulations on being above the American average, and make that book Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography!“
Rating: 5/5 stars
Overall Reaction: “To quote Barney Stinson here, ‘Nailed it.’ This was legen-wait for it-dary. Legendary'”