To numb the pain of failure, Ferguson found comfort in drugs and alcohol, addictions that eventually led to an aborted suicide attempt. (He forgot to do it when someone offered him a glass of sherry.) But his story has a happy ending: in 1993, the washed-up Ferguson washed up in the United States. Finally sober, Ferguson landed a breakthrough part on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, a success that eventually led to his role as the host of CBS's The Late Late Show.
By far Ferguson's greatest triumph was his decision to become a U.S. citizen, a milestone he achieved in early 2008, just before his command performance for the president at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.
©2009 Craig Ferguson; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
This was a great listen! Engaging, funny and heartfelt. Made me laugh, made me cry, made me appreciate my life as a born and bred American. Highly recommend it.
Early in this book he cleverly refers to America as the "Land of Failure". But he means this in a VERY positive way. He says it is the only place he knows where you can fail over and over again until you finally get it right and succeed. He sure did. Due to severe alcohol and drug problems he actually plotted his own suicide and almost pulled it off. But friends helped him find treatment and recovery. As of the book's writing he has been sober for 17 years.
I loved the stories of his family, his Uncle who is so dear to him, and his comedy and acting friends. As for his marriage failures he blames no one but himself and he sure seems to have it all together now. After reading this I enjoy his late night TV show even more.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I am also from Scotland and was interested to find out how he portrays his formative years. It is common knowledge that he LOVES America, but his thoughts of his homeland and the life that led to his becoming American is interesting, sad, funny and not in the least bit boring.... I have a feeling that there's a lot missing and he's taken pains not to be too derogatory toward his past,whilst telling of the ups and downs of 'regular' life 'back home'
Craig has a nice style and sense of the ironic....it made for a very enjoyable listen
I really enjoyed listening to this book. Many people write good books - but not many can read them out loud as well. Craig Ferguson can do both!! It brought new insight to his personality and life that I was not aware of before . . . and has made me want to read more and see more of his offerings. Great job!!! Highly recommend it!!!
former nuclear scientist
I got this book because my hb is a big fan of Craigy Ferg, but senses "a dark side" in the man. I watch his show occasionally and I find him funny. This autobiography recounts his life from childhood until right before his most recent (third) marriage.
I learned a little about Scotland and a lot about alcoholism. Ferguson has no trouble starkly revealing how badly he has behaved in his life, from abusing alcohol and drugs and friends to cheating on his wife to living in America illegally. His stories are usually interesting, but sometimes (perhaps to protect the privacy of others?) he skips over huge chunks or leaves out details while going on and on and on about, say, hallucinated killer ducks. These passages can drag a little, as can his so-repetitive-as-to-seem-insincere self-deprecation.
I'm glad I got this book: it was a quick listen and kept my attention for the most part. I lost a little respect for the man but gained a deeper understanding of where his comedy comes from. If you're a fan, definitely get this.
Craig's voice and friendly, chatty manner invite a re-listen, yes, definitely.
Hearing Craig read it himself. Only he didn't read it so much as just tell his story, as if he had never rehearsed a word, it was fresh and funny.
The accent (obviously!), a deeper connection between the man and his beautifully honest, humble rise to fame. There is more to him than the guy at the desk on the Late Late Show, for sure, here he goes into personal territory and it's not always for laughs. It gives such deep meaning to his "It's a great day for America" slogan. He means it with all his heart and now you know why.
I laughed constantly, and sympathized quite often.
Yes. As this is an autobiography read by the author, there is a sense that he is really telling you his story. I had already read the book once, but listening to it was a different and fun experience.
Listening to Craig retell the tale of being chased by slightly imaginary killer ducks while having a bad acid trip.
Hearing the story in his voice really give the feeling that he's telling you the story of his life.
Exactly what the tagline of the book is: the Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot.
I want to feel good when I complete a story & am a little harsh on depressing ones. There are a few sad ones that I love but not many.
I am a fan of Craig Ferguson so the story interested me. I have allot of respect for Craig and his brutally honest tale of his past triumphs and failures was inspiring.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
There were two things about this book that surprised me considering the author and the title. With respect to the author: it is a bit surprising that this book does not have much comedy. There are some funny parts, but for the lion's share, it is a biography. With respect to the title: this is not a book about America or America's effect on the world or on Craig Ferguson. While he does, now and again, mention his fascination for and love of the place, it is not, in the main, a book about his drive for immigration.
This book is mostly about his life growing up in a hardscrabble suburb of Glasgow, his breaking into the entertainment industry, a couple marriages, and a long time battle with alcoholism. While coming to America is a recurring theme and the story ends there, it is not a dominating presence in the narrative.
Don't let that stop you from listening to it though. The story is compelling and relatable. Ferguson tells a very unvarnished story. His story of alcoholic decline and redemption is not an inspiring fluff piece. For much of the book it is simply a context, an overlay, until its weight becomes too much to carry on with the regular story.
The title does correctly portray Ferguson's adventures as improbable. The distance between where he started and where he ended up is vast and the road is twisted and unlikely. It gives him an interesting take on things. He also has a unique perspective of late night TV.
His reading of his own story is a fun listen. His voice is solid and because it is his own story he is able to do it justice with proper emphasis and inflection.
I admit I am a fan -- ever since viewingThe Big Tease and Saving Grace. These films are worth viewing and I really enjoyed hearing him discuss the trials and tribulations of trying to have these films made by companies more interested in box-office returns than fidelity to the scripts' writers.
In this book, Ferguson continues to display his honest emotions as well as great comedic timing. The result (for me) is one of the best autobiographies I have listened to in quite some time. Ferguson has a self-deprecating style of narration that allows a rather interesting life story to be told. He is a likable person with a great sense of the fickle world of entertainment. I have never listened to a more engaging narration.
I really appreciated his exploration of the role that alcohol played in his early career and relationships -- it was a false partnership that Ferguson relied on until his life unraveled sufficiently to convince him to confront his problems. All of us, alcoholic or not, can appreciate the self-examination necessary to make such a huge change.
I can't imagine any other person narrating this story -- it is intimate and personal. Thank you Craig Ferguson.
"A very surprising book"
I was not sure what to expect from this book since I had not seen Craig on UK TV for a while. I thought this book was very funny and honest, definitely the best book I've listened to so far.
It was great to hear all his stories in and around Glasgow close to where I was born and live. I think this made the book even more enjoyable.
Craig is probably the only person who should read this book and does a great job at doing so.
I would highly recommend this book.
"an excellent story"
A great story with many of life's lessons proven and dis-proven. A view of a parallel life in time and ultimate triumph and success over personal adversity.
Definitely my favourite book! I would 100% recommend it to anyone. With Craig Ferguson reading the book himself makes it a lot more enjoyable. Description throughout the book is very accurate. Definitely worth the purchase.
"Too many americanisms"
I chose this based on the reviews having not really seen Craig since he left the Scottish /British comedy scene many years ago. I thought it may be an enjoyable story about how he progressed towards presenting a popular chat show in America.
I have listened to around 3-4 biogs a week for the last while and this was the first that i found extremely dull and could have switched off easily.
POSITIVES: Craigs voice is well suited to audio books, his turn of phrase and comic timing work well reading his own story, i did laugh a few times.
He clearly has and is working hard on his alcoholism which is a big part of his story, he clearly advocates the common system for abstention and this shines through.
NEGATIVES: The need to explain things to the american listeners in terms they understand is frustrating, ie bucks, recess. Just decide who your audience is and we can work it out, I never read an americans biog where they feel the need to explain how much 50 dollars is in pounds for example. Its highly annoying.
His story is pretty unintresting im sad to say, this guy is largely an unsuccessful drummer, comedian, actor and really has a bit of fortune in landing a job as a talk show host. After listening to him trundle through his comic career philandering and blowing cash on drink and drugs its hard to take him serious when we are told how hard a worker he is when he walks out on his first major tv role because the writers arent taking his input.
Ultimately i felt this guy hadnt told the whole story, he gave up drink, dont know about the drugs, touched on smoking! I was left feeling i didnt really know much about him and to be honest im pretty happy with that!
"honest, moving, and funny"
I tried a few audiobooks and this one is without doubt my favourite. When one of Craig's former bandmates went on Craig's show and mentioned the book, he said that Craig's honesty about his own life was incredibly touching and brave. That's exactly it. His narration simply makes the story more personal and genuine. There's a reason why this book is nominated for a Grammy. Highly recommend it.
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