American on Purpose

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American on PurposeAmerican on Purpose by Craig Ferguson
Published: 2009
Narrated by: Craig Ferguson

It’s been a bit of a crazy month, and as a result I’ve managed to finish…NOTHING. I listened to this book over a month ago now, so that shows just how on top of things I’ve been. Life’s starting to settle, though, so I’m hoping to get back to bookworming it up again.

I’ve discovered a new love this last year and a half, and that is listening to the self-narrated autobiographies of comedians. I love comedy and stand-up, something that ranks up there in my top five list of things I’d be terrified of ever attempting, so it makes for fascinating reading. Having a comedian narrate his own life story really adds to the experience, I think.

Craig Ferguson was born and raised in Glasgow and dreamed as a child to make his way over to America. This is his story from childhood, through his early career and alcoholism, right up to his current place in late night television.

He’s painfully honest and really doesn’t sugarcoat. He doesn’t try to justify his mistakes, romanticize alcoholism, or make it seem like he was destined for greatness from an early age. He took risks and made hard decisions to get to where he wanted to be, in life and in career, which is something that’s probably true in most success stories. He made himself attempt things in his career that terrified him, and he didn’t settle for anything he wasn’t passionate about. It’s a very sincere and entertaining look back on his life, and he does quite a good job of the narration.

But I knew in my heart it wasn’t the flu. I knew instinctively that there was only one way to stop the nightmare that was occurring inside of me. For the first time in my life, and I remember this as clearly as if it happened this morning, I needed a drink.

As soon as we got back to town I ran to the Hurricanes bar on West Nile Street and pounded down three or four pints of lager very quickly. The sweating and shaking abated and I felt a little anxious but a lot better. In rehab, years later, I reread Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I equated that moment in Mrs. Henderson’s car to the awful realization Henry Jekyll has when he grasps that he no longer needs the potion to transform into the monster, Edward Hyde.

He needs the potion to remain the ordinary Henry Jekyll.

I love reading about comedians and how they developed their career, and as a child of two Scottish immigrants to Canada, I’m always happy to read a bit about the motherland. I really enjoyed this. I have his fictional book Between the Bridge and the River on the shelf now, so I plan to have a look at that soon.

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  1. Pingback: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde | Loose Logic

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