No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

#10: Anything Goes -- John Barrowman

I'm not a great one for celebrity autobiographies but Barrowman has such tremendous (indeed, OTT) charisma on screen that I was curious to see if it would translate to print. The answer is no, not really: this is an entertaining read, but too fragmentary and random to have much impact. The problem with a biography written at the height (or start of the height?) of a career is that the story's incomplete: we see the rise from stage-struck brat to successful actor but not the way the actor copes with fame or the eventual decline.

That said, Anything Goes is very funny at times, and Barrowman (who dictated the source material via iPod for his sister to make into Book: given what she let through, I wonder what she vetoed!) is not afraid to mock himself or to show his vulnerable side. And there's a real sense of honesty and integrity, of wanting to be a positive role model for the young, of wanting to give something back to society. Barrowman obviously takes real pleasure in his success, and in knowing and working with famous names -- it's not just name-dropping. He's far too enthusiastic to be wholly cool, and I admire and approve of that.

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