Choose Your Own Book Review

Neil Patrick Harris in hardcover

This book review is different from other boring book reviews. Because this is a choose-your-own book review… and YOU AND YOU ALONE will be responsible for living the life of Hillary Jacobson and crafting her opinion of Neil Patrick Harris’ recent autobiography, Choose Your Own Autobiography. If you want to put forth the best possible book review, you will have to make good choices. Good luck. And remember, Hillary’s writing career… is in your hands.

A few months ago, you hear that Neil Patrick Harris has written a book and you are VERY excited. You consider yourself a big NPH fan. How I Met Your Mother ranks among your all-time favorite shows, even though you’re still not over that ending. This summer, you saw Neil Patrick Harris on Broadway in his Tony award-winning role as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and you were blown away. You don’t think you have ever seen a more talented performer live. And you’ve just learned the consummate awards show host is going to host the 2015 Oscars. Since you live and die for the Oscars, your excitement is almost too much to handle.

You were a fan of the Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were younger and you have also recently read the book You by Caroline Kepnes, an incredible page-turner which is also told in the second person. So you know you appreciate that second person style. In fact, it almost seems that you are perfectly set up to love NPH’s new book.

If you decide to purchase a copy, you may continue reading.

If you think your time would be better spent doing your computer science homework than writing this review, please leave and go do that.

So you purchase a copy. You are a diehard Kindle fan, but you have an inkling that this book would be better read as a regular book, so you order a hardcover copy from Amazon. You are right.

As you read, you take some time adjusting to the Choose Your Own Adventure format.

To read the whole story straight through and not test out different paths, take yourself to the second paragraph after this one.

To actually test out different paths and not read the pages in order, continue reading below.

You decide to actually choose your own adventure and you read a ridiculous and untrue story that did not happen to NPH and you reach an ending without learning that much about him. THE END.

You decide to just read the book straight through and that works because it does read almost normally and chronologically. You are a very gullible person and sometimes you read the fake parts and believe them, but usually you figure it out in the end. As part of your reading experience, you get recipes, magic tricks, a crossword puzzle, letters from famous friends, and more. You think this might be the wackiest but also most fun autobiography you have ever read.

Your favorite part of reading this book is learning about who NPH is as a person. You already respected him as an artist, but now you have a deep respect for him as a human being. You get the sense that he is an actor for all the right reasons. You come to believe he would be a good person to hang out with and have as a friend. He presents himself as grateful, aware of his privilege, funny, self-deprecating, and humble. He gossips, but not too much.

You thought his book would be right up your alley, and you were right. Musical theater humor? That’s your jam. A chapter titled “How I Became a Bro” written as a story told to his children in the style of HIMYM makes your heart do a happy dance. His stories about his husband David Burtka confirm that you need a David Burtka of your own.

To conclude this book review with Hillary’s favorite joke from the book, continue reading below.

To conclude this book review with a thoughtful reflection on why others should read this book, skip to the second paragraph down.

“You and Eden are out at a club, sitting at a booth enjoying a vodka and cranberry, when someone runs up to you like he’s in the cast of Newsies. “Hey, you gotta get out of here, see? Scott Caan’s here, see? If you don’t get outta here there’s gonna be trouble, see?” This joke is pure musical theater bliss and when you imagine this actually happening, you laugh out loud for five straight minutes.

You finish the book and even though it catered so perfectly to your interests, you think other people who are not Hillary Jacobson will enjoy it too. You have often lamented the proliferation of celebrity memoirs by celebrities that are famous for the wrong reasons or have not lived enough to merit their own memoirs. But after reading this, you realize just how much NPH has accomplished and that he truly deserves his own book. You know anyone can enjoy and appreciate his truly interesting perspectives on the nature of celebrity, coming-out, raising children, and enjoying life. It is the balance of this sincere purposefulness with his vivacious humor that makes you believe this book is worthwhile reading for others.

You know Neil Patrick Harris is exciting enough by himself not to need a silly gimmick like Choose Your Own Adventure, but you’re okay with it anyway. In fact, the gimmick helped to remind you of a way in which a physical book can be so much better than an e-book. For while an e-book grants the reader quicker accessibility, easier portability, and nice reading-in-bed functionality, an extremely interactive book such as this one demands the possibility for easy flipping back and forth. And now you can share your copy with all your friends who also love NPH. First though, you must write your review of the book for Post- Magazine in the same style as the book to give potential readers a taste of what it’s like. You succeed magnificently.  THE END.