Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In Search of...a book review

While I'm still searching for the summer of my youth, I continued my book fest with Craig Ferguson's memoir American on Purpose. I know, only those privy to the Scottish comedian's late night antics can fully appreciate the need for knowing the life that led up to being host of the Late, Late Show. And truthfully, I don't recall what bit of insomnia led me to discovering him in the first place, but suffice it to say that he is the only talk show host in the history of that format whom I have ever made it a point to watch purely because of the host himself. It matters not to me what guest he has on any particular night, just as long as he declares it "a great day for America, everybody" and as long as there's a hand puppet or mini disco ball in sight.

Yes, I'm a sucker for Craig Ferguson's brand of silliness, and the self deprecating humor that clearly masks a past far darker than any I could have imagined for him. In American on Purpose, he spared himself no embarrassment and was so refreshingly honest about his lesser choices in life that I'd recommend it as a handbook for scandal-ridden politicians as well as anyone in recovery of any sort. They might learn a thing or two about the depth of forgiveness and human resiliency by reading this book.

If there's a lesson to be learned, it is embodied in the saying, "It's not how you start, but how you finish." Craig Ferguson is someone who begs not to be taken seriously, and yet, this high school dropout has a work ethic that is nothing short of admirable.

We who are born in this country seldom appreciate the uniquely American notion that with hard work and a little luck, you can achieve anything. But Craig Ferguson knows that from the vantage point of someone on the outside with his nose pressed against the window pane of America, gazing longingly at vast opportunities which we who are born here mostly take for granted.

It says something about the man that despite his behavior as an alcoholic and more than occasional drug user, he has managed to sustain relationships with family and friends that were solid enough to survive the damage his substance abuse caused, and work with many of them again.

If you are a fan of Craig Ferguson, or if you just want an entertaining read that will leave you more appreciative of your own life and of our country, read American on Purpose. It was a well written, great read.

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