American On Purpose: Review

I’m not generally a big autobiography reader, but I am a big fan of Craig Ferguson, so for Christmas David had picked me up a copy of American On Purpose. Although lacking in funny facial expressions, jazz hands, and hand puppets, I found the book a really enjoyable read. So much so that I plowed through the second half on a Saturday morning without really meaning to. I like how each chapter is crafted on a theme – each of which represent some key section or turning point in Craig’s life, and as such as more the feel of a really long well written essay, than a biography per se. This is Craig explaining why and how he went from being a rough and tumble Scottish lad to becoming an American of such old school patriotism that he’s got a “Don’t Tread on Me” style tattoo on one arm. Being a fan of “Trainspotting”, I found his more first hand account of what it’s like to grow up in Scotland and end up falling in with the druggie crowd in the 70s to 80s fascinating. Being a fan of 80s era British comedians (“The Young Ones” is my favorite TV Show of all time), I was in awe of the company he kept during that same time frame (he dated that one gal from “Black Adder?! No way!). But mostly, I found myself drawn into the book for the same reason I find his late night show entertaining – because even though our lives are obviously very very different, I relate to Craig and where he’s coming from. He’s done a lot of things I’ve thought of doing, but never had the guts to throw myself into it the way he apparently did – be in a band professionally, become an actor, publish a book, be a stand up comedian, be in the thick of things during that strange point in history where punk somehow gave birth to the goth movement… ok, that last one is chronologically impossible, but if I hadn’t been 8 at the time, I would have been all over this one. It’s also the first time I got to see how all those odd little stories or bits of history that come out in various Craig monologues all fit together. Also, the book is really funny, written with that same self depreciating wit that I’ve come to love on the Late Late Show. So, I’d highly recommend it. Just like the Late Late Show isn’t your typical talk show, this isn’t your typical autobiography. (As a side note, there’s apparently an interview with Craig on the Amazon page for the book! Squee!)

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2 Comments

Filed under Books, Culture

2 responses to “American On Purpose: Review

  1. davidnscott

    Always the problem with these precautionary tales… the part before they clean their lives up and wander the world living the life of a modern vagabond tends to be the most interesting section.

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