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Anything Goes (John Barrowman Memoirs #1)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  2,649 Ratings  ·  251 Reviews
From his Glaswegian childhood and American adolescence to his starring role in the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, this memoir traces the life and career of actor John Barrowman. John made a name for himself with remarkable West End achievements, including an Olivier Award nomination and success in the movies The Producers and De-Lovely. Television success was also assured w ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Michael O'Mara Books (first published April 28th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 09, 2008 Meghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reasons to listen to John Barrowman read his autobiography:

He laughs.
He sings.
He does funny voices.
He does his own Scottish accent.
He gets emotional.

It's a very anecdotal book, and it's lovely to hear him tell these stories himself. The audio book is abridged and I do plan to read the complete hard copy version, but this reading is delightful.
Aug 22, 2012 April rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: barrowman fans
Shelves: non-fiction
*this is a gif infested review

Please don't judge me for the three star rating! Three stars are the maximum I award to anything that's biographical in any way because truthfully I'm not that interested in reading constant facts - even when it is someone I've adored since I was around nine years old.

Anyway, moving on


Pivotal moments (and stuff I remember the most):

1. John first finding out he is going to be Captain Jack. (Leading to the leaping-over-vigorous
Mar 08, 2014 TL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to TL by: My friend Tasha, by way of introducing me to Torchwood
Shelves: re-reading, favorites
1st read: March 8th-10th, 2014
Re-read: November 2015

Author's acknowledgements:
I've always thought people would find a lot more pleasure in their daily routines if they burst into song at significant moments. So, if you're reading this while travelling on the Tube, standing at a bus stop, queuing at your local bookstore, or even sitting on the loo, don't resist the urge.
As Mama Rose famously said in the musical Gypsy: 'Sing Out Louise!'

To be honest, here's what I really hope - that by arrangin
Feb 18, 2015 Jitka marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
John Barrowman napsal autobiografii?


A já TO nečetla? Ohohohó!

(Můj duševní stav momentálně odpovídá rozvařené okurce)
Richard Derus
The Book Report: The life and times of fabulous Captain Jack Harkness, I mean I mean JOHN BARROWMAN of course I do, silly me to get the two confused, he of the TV show Torchwood, in all his dimpled and smiling glory. With butt shots. Two.

My Review: One knows what one is getting with celebrity memoirs, right? Whitewash, excuses, justifications, and a little catty score-settling. It takes a pretty damned big ego to write an "autobiography" (which this ain't, it's a memoir) in the first place; to d
Mar 28, 2008 Gena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all musical theater fans, and everyone who wants a positive read about an extraordinary man
What can you say about John Barrowman that he doesn't say himself? Nothing. The man is shameless - but in the best possible way ever.
For those of you not familiar with John Barrowman, he is a Broadway musical star, a TV star, a frequent talk show guest (in the UK) and an all around amazing talent. His autobiography reads like a list of "fun things you should try". Really. I think he's embraced every aspect of his field and tried to do each and every one of them well.
I was moved by his story, hi
Lots of grins & laughs in this book. I have a deep love for Glasgow, so the description of the early part of his life in that city and the Glaswegian expressions that persist through the rest of the book were probably my favorite things. I'm also fond of the musical Anything Goes, so the fact that John has been in it so many times is delightful.

Edited to add: this book is heavy on his musical theatre experiences and lighter on his TV & film work. One of the reasons I enjoyed reading it s
Dina Roberts
Entertaining memoirs.

To me though, Barrowman seemed a bit full of himself. Most of us are. It's just some people wear it much more prominently on their sleeves.

There's a lot of talk about Barrowman's handsomeness, his talent, how wonderfully fun he is, the famous people he's known and met, and the expensive things he's bought and experienced. But I found him most endearing when he talked about his poop accidents and farting.

I also liked the bits about his superstitions. And his coming out story
Dec 20, 2008 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2008
John Barrowman's a hoot. Sure it may have a touch of self-aggrandizement, but so does my blog. That's the balance between autobiography and regular biography - one-perspective best-light autobiography, or dry, impersonal 3rd party bio. Which would I rather? The one with the most life.

John's a pleasure to listen to (which is why I got the audiobook, even though it was abridged), and I sensed a wonderful concern for his family. Even though he may have highlighted the best times, and left out the s
Re-reading this about a year after I first got into this man and his work, the book probably impressed me more than before. Part of this had to do with the fact that I now know nearly everyone & the works he mentions, which helps drive this book home just that bit more.

John (or actually his sister, Carole) writes easily, with wit and charm. She really makes the autobiography come to life in what definitely sounds like John speaking. He just tells these funny stories about his life. And what
Ashley P
I don't know what I was expecting when I picked up this book but it certainly wasn't this. This book is cleverly written, amusing, heart tugging and wonderful.

John Barrowman is charming, outrageous and possibly certifiable in someways, all of which show up in this book. I loved learning the stories about his earlier life, his relationship with Scott, his wonderful bond with his nieces and nephews and his reaction when he first got the role on Torchwood. He isn't one to mince words, and will cal
Jul 14, 2010 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gained a greater respect for the amazing actor, and I love him a bit more. This book had me laughing out loud quite a few times; it was as entertaining as he is and very inspiring. If you're a fan, or even just beginning to be one, this is definitely worth a read!
I thoroughly enjoy John Barrowman's performance as the dashing and handsome Captain Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and Torchwood so when I stumbled across this memoir I thought, what the hell. I have no obsessive love of Barrowman but he seems to have an engaging personality. So....

This book was written collaboratively with Carole Barrowman, John's sister. Each chapter is a song from a musical that represents a particular time in Barrowman's life. The book is arranged thematically rather than chron
Nov 19, 2007 Shelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: JB fans, naturally.
John Barrowman, how are you so awesome? It surprises no one that I had mad love for this book. It was extraordinarily funny in many places. He has a great sense of humor as well as a great ability to laugh at himself - I wager that most people, let alone famous people, would not tell some of the embarrassing stories that he had no problem sharing. It was dishy, gossipy, with mentions of backstage shenanigans at Who and Torchwood, but it was also introspective without being navel-gazey. A hard li ...more
Aug 19, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Grade = 88% - B+

Found this in a London Thrift Shop for 4 BPS ($7.00) a few years ago.

Wow! This book hit me on so many different levels that I can't believe it!

I first encountered John Barrowman in 1989 when I saw his performance as Billy Crocker in Cole Porter's Anything Goes at the Prince Edward Theatre on Shafterbury Avenue in London.

I bumped into him a few days later at Old Compton's Pub on Compton Street just a few days later. On stage he was a husky, virile, highly masculine stud. At Old
Lizabeth Tucker
Feb 22, 2013 Lizabeth Tucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An autobiography of the star of Torchwood and the West End theater in London. I was expecting to enjoy the book as I love to read and adore biographies in particular, but I didn't expect what I got from this book. The set up of John's reminisces give you the impression that you are sitting in his living room listening to the man's stories.

I found myself laughing uncontrollably at certain sections, snickering at others, and going "ahhhh" once in a while. I do recommend that you do not read this
Apr 06, 2014 Mahra_m_145510 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was my first autobiography that I have ever read and I really enjoyed reading it. The reason why I have chosen John Barrowman is because I am a huge fan of his work where it started from Doctor Who; this autobiography covered his career path. It talked about how he got into singing, theater and acting. What I really enjoyed about this autobiography it was funny and what I loved about him, he mentioned everything and didn’t leave any details out, such as names. I really can’t wait to re ...more
Nick Duretta
I liked John Barrowman in Torchwood, so when I found this in a second-hand bookstore for a good price, I decided to give it a go. It's about what one would expect from something like this. Barrowman comes across a tad too self-celebratory, but he leavens it occasionally with a bit of humility and humor. What was most impressive is how an openly gay actor can be successful these days with relatively few career speed-bumps.
Apr 28, 2009 Lynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good, sort-of-clean fun.

This book reads like I imagine a long, somewhat tipsy conversation over a marathon evening with John would go. It's a little all over the place, being organized thematically rather than chronologically.

Cheeky, brash, fun, and completely honest about being happy with his life, which is pretty darned good. John is a natural storyteller. A ripping set of yarns about a guy who is clearly in love with his life and his work.

I really enjoyed it!
Jasmiina F
Nov 04, 2013 Jasmiina F rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Wow. This is the first autobiography I have ever read and wow is all I can say. I've seen John Barrowman in Doctor Who (Captain Jack is a wonderful character) and I follow the man in twitter but I learned so much about Barrowman from this book.. And while I've been reading this I've also been listening him singing. He has an amazing voice. I'm in love.
Allie Johnson
While I loved John Barrowman's character Captain Jack, I thought his memoir was an over the top opportunity for John to name drop and talk about his love of himself, wonderful voice and good looks. It was quirky and entertaining at times, but over all long and boring.
Sep 02, 2014 Sevia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Od této chvíle už nejsem schopná brát Johna Barrowmana vážně.

(nezapomenutelné čtení o životě a divadle očima člověka, který je povahově můj pravý opak)
Jun 26, 2008 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tara by: Cherry-Creek customer
Not the best writing ever, but not bad either. A very conversational tale of an interesting life (so far...)
Well, I love both musical theatre and scifi TV. And this book is mostly about these two. :)
Lyn Flanery
Jun 27, 2017 Lyn Flanery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is great full of wonderful stories and it will make you laugh aloud.. just amazingly good:)
The Book Report: The life and times of fabulous Captain Jack Harkness, I mean I mean JOHN BARROWMAN of course I do, silly me to get the two confused, he of the TV show Torchwood, in all his dimpled and smiling glory. With butt shots. Two.
Hannah Wilsey
Jun 01, 2017 Hannah Wilsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
totally like this one better than the sequel (it has more theatre stories!), but both are fantastic
John Barrowman's memoir is a fun, breezy read. My biggest complaint would be that it's somewhat unorganized and chaotic, but that seems to be a natural extension of who he is.
Jessie Blackwood
John Barrowman is a consummate all-round entertainer, a man who knows who he is and is not ashamed of it. He is passionate about gay rights and comes from a close and supportive family background and is very, very aware that he is living his dream, he is doing everything he set out to do and more. He has never forgotten his roots, at heart he is a Scot and proud of it. I got the feeling of a man who is loyal and steadfast as a friend and lover, a loving and dutiful son, a man who is not afraid t ...more
Dayle Lynne
Mar 24, 2013 Dayle Lynne rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
I wanted to love this more than I did. I have a bit of an obsession with John Barrowman, so I was looking forward to reading his autobiography. There were parts that were fun and enjoyable and parts that were pretty slow.

Anything Goes is pretty much a bunch anecdotes, mostly about Barrowman’s theater life. The book is very conversational, which I enjoy, but there really wasn’t enough conflict for it to be an interesting read straight through. Barrowman’s lead a pretty privileged life, which I do
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John Barrowman was born in Scotland, and moved to Illinois when he was eight years old. He is bi-dialectal, doing much of his stage and acting work in his American accent, but speaking with family in his Scottish accent.

He moved back to Britain in 1989 when he was hired to play the lead in Anything Goes. He took on a number of West End roles, including the leads in Sunset Boulevard and Miss Saigo
More about John Barrowman...

Other Books in the Series

John Barrowman Memoirs (2 books)
  • I Am What I Am

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“Cut! Go again."
And again, and again, and again. Finally, after the fourth of fifth take I yelled down the hill to the director: "This isn't a fucking marathon! If we're going to go again, tell him on the bloody bike to slow down."
David turned to me and said, "Having a bit of trouble, Captain?"
"That's all right for you to say," I laughed breathlessly, "but I'm carrying a rucksack on my back with your fucking hand in a glass jar inside”
“Honestly, the world can be a dark enough place. Light it up.” 32 likes
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