Professor Wu's Rulebook

Putting the ‘U’ in autobiography: Neil Patrick Harris memoir is a ‘Choose your own adventure’ book


In the days where it seems you get your own memoir for being even slightly famous, or if you have ever been raised on the planet earth, actor Neil Patrick Harris has attempted to subvert the memoir model with his own memoir – written in the form of a ‘Choose your own adventure’ book.

That’s right. In some sort of meta-statement about the uselessness of writing a memoir at all, Harris lets you, the reader, choose which path you want him to follow. The book mixes in stories from the actor’s early days in Los Angeles, life on the How I Met Your Mother set, secrets from backstage at award shows, and family life with David, Harper, and Gideon. And it combines these tales with the gloriously pulpy prose and branching paths of a CYOA book.

For example, early on we read a description of Harris’s life growing up in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and at the end get the choice to either experience a happy childhood on page 8, or a (fictitious) “miserable childhood that later in life you can claim to heroically overcome” on page 5.

As Harris points out in an interview with the LA Times, “If you only want to read hard-core, frat guy stories, you can take that path. If you’d rather learn about my interests growing up and how I came to be, you can follow that path. If you’d really just rather learn how to make pasta and Bolognese sauce and a nice cocktail and have a lovely evening by yourself, you can do that too.”

You can check out an excerpt from this ‘Choose your own autobiography’ memoir, and buy a copy for yourself, over here.

Remember: Neil Patrick Harris’s life is in your hands.

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