Read this if you’re in the mood for: comedic memoir, LGBT/diversity, audiobook

Summary: Tired of memoirs that only tell you what really happened?

Sick of deeply personal accounts written in the first person? Seeking an exciting, interactive read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”? Then look no further than
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this revolutionary, Joycean experiment in light celebrity narrative, actor/personality/carbon-based life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life. You will be born in New Mexico. You will get your big break at an acting camp. You will get into a bizarre confrontation outside a nightclub with actor Scott Caan. Even better, at each critical juncture of your life, you will choose how to proceed. You will decide whether to try out for Doogie Howser, M.D. You will decide whether to spend years struggling with your sexuality. You will decide what kind of caviar you want to eat on board Elton John’s yacht.

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, but make that book
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography!

Read this if you like:
BOSSYPANTS is the comedic celebrity memoir audiobook that is the litmus test against which I judge other comedic celebrity memoirs. CYOA has the same balance of charming, fun stories and more heartfelt moments, and the audio narration is equally well done.

How I Met Your Mother
It should be obvious — if you were an NPH fan in HIMYM, you'll like him here!

The Rec: I'm a casual-but-longtime NPH fan, but his charming, quirky, and enthusiastic personality and the unusual format of this memoir led me to downloading the audiobook from the library. As NPH explains in the beginning, the audiobook kills the choose-your-own-adventure format, but I don't feel like I lost anything listening to it chronologically. Actually, I know I enjoyed NPH's narration far more than I would have simply reading the text. I found CYOA consistently interesting, and I liked the mix of humanity and celebrity in the stories — plus the personal asides and the honest, "this co-star was a jerk to work with" moments. Whether you're a fan of NPH from Doogie Howser, musical theater, How I Met Your Mother, and his many stints hosting awards shows, there's something for everyone.

The Caveat:  So you can either listen to the audiobook and lose the choose-your-own-adventure format, or read the book and lose the delight that is NPH's narration. I'm partial to the audiobook... except that I really, really wasn't a fan of the interspersed magic trick descriptions (for real, he's a magician) in the audiobook version, because I totally would've just skipped over them in book format, but had to listen to the whole how-to explanations since I was driving-while-listening.

You should read this because: Equal parts charming and heartfelt, down-to-earth and "Hollywood," this is a celebrity memoir that's worth listening to (or reading)!

Read this book!
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS: CHOOSE YOUR OWN AUTOBIOGRAPHY! by Neil Patrick Harris (Random House, October, 2014)

Recommendation by: Donna