As a product of the 90s (being born in 1987), I didn’t watch Doogie Howser, MD. It was never on in my house. (Then again, there was never much other than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles making our television glow.) Since I missed Doogie’s brilliant mind as a child, I missed out on the legend that would become Neil Patrick Harris. I did not however, miss out on Choose Your Own Adventure. I read every one I could get my hand on. I loved them. Then, years later, the man who lit up my TV screen with a fascinatingly hilarious character named Barney Stinson somehow – magic obviously – wrote an autobiography that could only be fantastic, if only for the CYOA gag.
Not surprisingly, Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography is nothing short of fantastic. Sure, using the classic book to make your autobiography interesting will work, but it’s what you do once the book is opened that gives the final say. Before we go into the world of NPH – as he likes to be called – take a look at the back cover. There’s a magic trick. Yep. Another selling point, as I’m a guy who adores magic and illusion. Ok. Carry on. I just wanted you to see that.
Opening the book, I was taken back to my childhood just through the formatting. Still, I needed to get into the book and move past the gimmick. Pages and choices later, I found myself learning a card trick. A few more pages and I’m learning how to cook a bolognese recipe that belongs to David Burtka. It was fascinated. As my journey “as NPH” went along, I couldn’t help but absorb the pages. Even when there were parts that I didn’t necessarily agree with, I felt privileged to be let into those stories. I found a respect for someone that I spend years watching as a womanizing walking suit and tie. Now he was much more interesting.
Let me stop here and say this: I don’t know that I will ever finish this book. And that is a great thing. Using the Choose Your Own Adventure concept and formatting is genius and keeps it fresh. Most of all, it’s an entertaining read that really opens up who Neil Patrick Harris is. Believe it or not, he’s human. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.