by Craig Ferguson
Hardcover, 266 pg.
Blue Rider Press, 2019
Read: July 1 – 18, 2019
|The following year, 2009, I actually sang ”Sweet Caroline” along with Neil Diamond on stage—he put his hand on my shoulder! ”Reachin’ out. . . touchin’ me. . . touchin’ you . . .,” which means, no matter what you may achieve in your life, I’ll always be that little bit more awesome than you.|
Early on, Ferguson talks about his approach to the writing of this book—after years of writing the monologue-type things he started his talk show with (I call them type, because they’re not like your standard late night monologue), he’s continued to think in those terms, he finds it natural to write in. So, he wrote a few of those looking back on his past. Presto—a new memoir.
The timeline jumps around a lot, so there’s no real linear storyline. But there are trends, if you’re looking for them. More than that, there are themes—sobriety, family, and personal growth would be at the top of the list.
There are some wonderfully-written passages, not enough for my taste—but it’s not that kind of book, so those moments shine. Mostly, it’s a showcase for Ferguson as story-teller. And he’s a good one: whether it’s about a fishing trip, a vacation in Japan, performing somewhere, teenage romance (unrequited, I should add) or meeting his wife (for example)— — you get caught up in the tale. Maybe the lessons he takes from the story or the point he was trying to raise, aren’t quite as good as the story itself, but frequently it is.
I could read the account of his learning to fly a couple of times a year and find it amusing and inspiring each time. I loved his discussion about his tattoos, too—it made me wish I had a session lined up.
One of the most prominent themes (maybe the most) is sobriety and his alcoholism. As you’d expect, Ferguson balances the harsh truths about both with his signature wit.
|The problem with trying to hide active alcoholism from someone you live with is one of balance. You have to drink because you’re an alcoholic, but you don’t want to appear too drunk because then the poor unfortunate that is supposedly in a relationship with you might insist on you getting help. That’s the last fucking thing you want because every drinking alcoholic knows ”getting help” means stopping drinking, and that is unthinkable. Keeping your shit together is a tightrope act and is only halfway possible with luck, good timing, and cocaine. Even then it doesn’t always work.
Let’s be honest, it hardly ever works.
It never works.
I do think I would’ve enjoyed this more if I’d listened to the audiobook—alas, it wasn’t available at my library. I think I’d have responded better to Ferguson’s voice telling me the stories, not reading them with frequent approximations of his voice in my head. But it was nice enough—a few chuckles, some really well-written passages, some good insight into Ferguson. It wasn’t spectacular, as I’d hoped—but it was good. I’m glad I read it, and I bet if you like Ferguson to any extent, you’ll enjoy reading this, too.
|✔ A memoir or biography of a favorite celebrity.
✔ A book written by a comedian.