The book is written the second person 'you' since yes--this is your adventure, and you get to choose how you partake in the life and times of actor NeThe book is written the second person 'you' since yes--this is your adventure, and you get to choose how you partake in the life and times of actor Neil Patrick Harris. A clever concept.
I started out reading this with the same reaction I vaguely remember from a Choose Your Own Adventure book I took out from the library as a kid. "Will you run, or stay behind? To run, go HERE, to stay behind, GO HERE." What if I don't like the outcome, do I go back? But what's on the next page? What if I miss something?
Turns out, reading an autobiography this way is a lot of fun. Plus, it's kind of like living in the future on an e-reader--you can literally skip ahead with the touch of a button! Maybe you don't care to read about a party on Elton John's boat (but you should, because it's surreal), or you'd rather spend your lunchbreak reading about How I Met Your Mother's casting over a more serious topic like how NPH's sexuality was outed by Perez Hilton (though Perez makes a nice statement in the book about his actions).
Most memoir readers probably want the scoop on other celebrities. He only says a few unfavorable things, and not even accusatory, so if you're looking for dirt, this probably isn't the place. Saved by the Bell's Screech is called out for how the actor (Dustin Diamond) defamed NPH in his own autobio. NPH mainly dispels Diamond's tales of him and makes a light barb that's almost so light you'll miss it. And then he's off, recounting the exhilarating experience of filming Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, being a kid actor on a terrible movie with Little Richard, escapades with Harold and Kumar, 1990s made-for-TV movies. partying with Katy Perry's entourage, and some genuinely moving snippets about falling in love and raising a family. This is a fun read, with the added bonus of being able to read the adventure exactly as you want to....more
This resource includes some great plotting exercises for those of us who need a more creative approach to outlining and plot mapping. Lots of practicaThis resource includes some great plotting exercises for those of us who need a more creative approach to outlining and plot mapping. Lots of practical advice with specifics geared toward kidlit spanning from picture books to YA.
The one fault I think is noteworthy is repetition of ideas and concepts. This is a collection of lectures, speeches, and blog posts, and some of the points are repeated, sometimes even three times. This leads to skimming, which is never a good thing for an author. Overall, the good outweighs the odd organization. ...more
I'm going to give this one 3 stars for the subject matter, which has been near and dear to me for the past two years. I researched writing a novel setI'm going to give this one 3 stars for the subject matter, which has been near and dear to me for the past two years. I researched writing a novel set in the same time period, specifically looking at the space race's effect on families and culture. I scoured some difficult sources to get a lot the information that is in here, so it was refreshing and fun to confirm what I'd found.
However, the oddly distant storytelling here does a disservice to such a fascinating time in history. This is human interest non-fiction and the free-for-all-point-of-view seemed out of place. A paragraph would start with facts and then slip into a more personal account from the perspective of one of the women. One paragraph was told in the voice of a child, then switched back to summary that somehow failed to capture the emotion of a very difficult situation. Some anecdotes didn't feel connected to any larger narrative, seeming like a funny-to-them story with the aftermath feeling that you really had to be there to get the punchline.
The Kennedy assassination was summed up in a few short lines: Hands flew to mouths and cries filled the room. They couldn't believe it. The president had been shot. Talk about a missed opportunity!
Perhaps the structure of the book could have been organized in a way that focused more closely on specific wives, rather than trying to get to all of them at a high level. Some sections flowed well, especially when the accounts included dialogue and read more like a novel. Much of the storytelling included cliche phrases and clunky summary descriptions devoid of emotion, which felt tonally off.
I still recommend the book if you have interest in this era of history, and I applaud the attention given to the women behind the men who are primarily remembered for the American space age. ...more
Solid, basic advice on plotting a novel. I provides some appealing suggestions for those of us with an aversion to outlining. A few aspects feel outdaSolid, basic advice on plotting a novel. I provides some appealing suggestions for those of us with an aversion to outlining. A few aspects feel outdated since the book was published in the early 2000s, but overall, a great place to start learning about plotting....more
A great quick read for inspiration in finding your voice to write pieces that influence change. You won't find a how-to list good writing or any speciA great quick read for inspiration in finding your voice to write pieces that influence change. You won't find a how-to list good writing or any specific tools, with the exception of a reflective writing exercise. This book is half-memoir, half discussion on how important it is for writers to communicate their passion effectively. I think it's probably more useful for non-fiction writers, or just as an inspirational piece. I'm a fan of Mary Pipher's other books: Reviving Ophelia, Another Country, etc, and value her thoughtful perspective and experience as a therapist....more
An important book that weaves medical history with the endearing struggle of a poor black family that had no idea of the widespread influence of theirAn important book that weaves medical history with the endearing struggle of a poor black family that had no idea of the widespread influence of their mother's cancer cells.
I gave this 5 stars for the extensive research - the author spent over 10 years interviewing and gaining the trust of the family, and collaborated with so many people that there's about 30 pages of footnotes, citations and acknowledgements. It honors the family while not sugar-coating the anger they felt, or the illiteracy that contributed to much of the misunderstandings about Henrietta. It does not make excuses for the doctors that behaved irresponsibly, but the information is simply presented for the reader to make his or her own judgement.
I work in the health care field and found this a fascinating read on patient rights, which amazingly enough, were really not fully implemented until HIPPA, which was only 15 years ago. Framing patient consent and medical ethics in this very real story gives light to how necessary it is to have healthcare regulation and oversight. ...more
The back cover summary was an instant sell for me; singer from a band I like writing about the influence of a band I like, with the added depth of adoThe back cover summary was an instant sell for me; singer from a band I like writing about the influence of a band I like, with the added depth of adolescent discovery of music in a time before the internet made indie rock accessible to anyone. Being a music nerd, I wanted to read some hardcore fandom over The Replacements. I learned nothing about the band that I didn't already know. This is more of a musing of Colin Meloy's coming-of-age with music in general. It doesn't seem to fit with the 33 1/3 series.
Also, I wanted to see more of a voice in the writing. It's not bad, and there were snippets where I thought, Yes! This is what this book should be! But too much of it meanders in a very basic fashion that feels more like a book report than an inspired memoir....more
I usually love Anne Lamott but this one I didn't enjoy like I did with Traveling Mercies. It got a bit political at the start and it wasn't for me atI usually love Anne Lamott but this one I didn't enjoy like I did with Traveling Mercies. It got a bit political at the start and it wasn't for me at the time. ...more
I am still to this day miffed that my carefully-preserved-in-a-paper-bag collection of teen magazines is lost to the trash forever. (Sure I could haveI am still to this day miffed that my carefully-preserved-in-a-paper-bag collection of teen magazines is lost to the trash forever. (Sure I could have moved them to my Chicago apartment--sorry Mom--no hate.) It's the Sassy magazines I wish most to have back. I also credit Sassy for having read The Virgin Suicides at fifteen.
My first experience reading a Sassy magazine in the early '90s, and right away it was notably different. Their sassiest teen girl was round-faced with a pixie cut and a nose ring. Their pull out band poster was an off-focus shot of Pearl Jam. Reading it felt risky and like a late night talkfest with a cool older sister (which I did not have).
I also acutely remember the lapse in publication (after the magazine was sold, which most readers did not know), and the questioning why Sassy suddenly became lame, and then the editorial response chiding readers for expressing distress over what became of their favorite magazine; something akin to "your beloved Jane [Pratt the editor] is gone, now get over it!" This book even reprinted the response, which instantly took me back to when I read it for the first time sitting by my bedroom closet, feeling like I was just slapped in the face.
Not to say Sassy was 100% on point. I at times felt it was a little too cool for its own good--absolutely a precursor to the somewhat eye-rolling hipster lifestyle of the 2000s. Sometimes it was politically divisive when it could have been truly open-minded. But the worst was when Sassy got catty. A truly feminist magazine now would likely not belittle young women for playing airheads on a teen show, or rip apart young women's looks as not deserving a hot actor's attention. Sassy was in uncharted waters, and after reading this, the inconsistency makes sense given the staff was mostly inexperienced early 20 something writers who were scrapping it in NYC in a very different climate than now.
I give this book credit for exposing faults where necessary. The lack of racial diversity within staffing is noted, including a specific incident where their first person of color writer was sent on a social experiment errand to actively pursue discrimination, resulting in her tearfully returning to the office, and instead writing an editorial about being undervalued as a professional. After reading further about Jane Pratt, I respect her as a visionary for helming Sassy's early years, but by god she is not someone I would want to spend much time with. May your legacy be forever preserved in those early pages.
The book gets it right when it says Sassy was a product of its time, coinciding with third wave feminism, the grunge and burgeoning indie rock movements. I rode that line between not identifying with a lot of what larger teen culture offered, but also not desiring to be a total misfit. In the 90s, misfits became its own attainable label. Sassy afforded enough material for girls who didn't quite fit any of those things to at least see pieces of themselves in the pages. No one else was doing what they were doing, and about 80% of it worked....more
Great for smoothie recipes, but be aware this is not written by a dietician or health expert; it's a lay person with opinions on health. The quality oGreat for smoothie recipes, but be aware this is not written by a dietician or health expert; it's a lay person with opinions on health. The quality of writing is not excellent but it is rather inspirational if you're looking to add more green to your diet....more