American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot
American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot
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In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson delivers a moving and achingly funny memoir of living the American dream as he journeys from the mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland, to the comedic promised land of Hollywood. Along the way he stumbles through several attempts to make his mark—as a punk rock musician, a construction worker, a bouncer, and, tragically, a modern dancer.
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: success on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, and later as the host of CBS's 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.
In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.
|Publication Date:||May 11, 2010|
|Product Length:||5.98 inches|
|Product Width:||0.75 inches|
|Product Height:||9.02 inches|
|Product Weight:||0.49 pounds|
|Package Length:||8.0 inches|
|Package Width:||5.3 inches|
|Package Height:||0.8 inches|
|Package Weight:||0.4 pounds|
|Average Customer Rating:|| based on 312 reviews|
|Average Customer Review: ( 312 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 76 found the following review helpful:
What makes Craig Ferguson... Sep 23, 2009
By Courtney Farrell
...the funniest, most entertaining and by far the most appealing of all these guys (Letterman & Leno included)--maybe of all the guys I've ever encountered in real life--shines through every page of this unputdownable, occasionally harrowing, tenderly hilarious memoir. It's all here: Ferguson's playful wit, his utter lack of pomposity, his willingness to laugh at his own farty (as he might put it) humanity along with everyone else's, and his endearingly chivalrous streak apparent even when he's at the abyss of bad behavior (which he captures in all its rawness). If you're not a fan yet, you will be. So buy the book and change your bedtime...or at least set your TIVO. In this case, Scotland's loss is most definitely America's gain.
107 of 113 found the following review helpful:
A Must Read.... Sep 22, 2009
By M. Bolton
I've always loved Craig Ferguson as a comedian, but now I have a newfound respect for him as a person. American on Purpose delivers a funny and touching account of his journey from Glasgow to Hollywood. He is honest about about his alcoholism and drug use, his decision to become a US citizen, and everything in between. This is a surprisingly candid and literate memoir, a refreshing change from the usual celebrity tell-all.
107 of 120 found the following review helpful:
I Wish I Could Write Like He Does ... Or Talk Like He does Sep 22, 2009
The idea of a little boy growing up far across an ocean and eyeing the gleaming shores of this country has been tarnished of late by our misadventures as a superpower. And now, suddenly and with the power that only a good writer can summon, it's back.
Odd, isn't it, that America never looks so good as through the eyes of someone who wasn't born into the privilege of this particular Democracy?
I read this book in a single sitting; starting the journey with a host who escorts us as easily through his life as he does through an hour of television every night. From the mean streets of a mean childhood, to the gilded halls of Washington, and through the backdoor that led him to television stardom ... with a long and poignant stopover in the haze of alcoholism. What an adventure! If you don't empathize with the man when he shakes his fist at the stars in the middle of the desert and chooses uncertainty just for the hell of it, you're not living right.
WIth the gentle hindsight of a man who has come out the other side of that haze, Ferguson is kind to virtually all the people in this adventure ... and Lord knows, it's uncommon enough for someone who makes their living in Hollywood to act that way.
This is a terrific read. Enjoy it.
13 of 13 found the following review helpful:
A No Self-Pity Memoir Oct 17, 2009
What really came across for me from this book were several aspects.
For a man with so many downs dogging his early child and adult years, he has an admirable lack of self-pity. Perhaps it's because he has conquered so much by the time he writes this memoir. I was conscious, however, of his sadness of how his problems affected his relationships, especially his great female loves. I teared up when he had to sell the perfect little seaside cottage he had shared with his second wife when they finally split up - the act being a symbol of the loss simultaneously of hope, dreams, love.
I am amazed at how he, and I suppose many males in general, accepts fighting fist to fist. As a female, I can't imagine willingly enduring/participating in and even looking forward to a great fight as Craig does during his years growing up in Scotland. Maybe the blows don't hurt as much when you are young or when the senses are dulled by drunkeness...This is not to be interpreted as acts of an aggressive self-nature, self-hatred or self-punishment but was endemic to the immediate culture.
This is a well written and serious memoir from a commedian told with frankness; not sparing the reader the darker moments fueled from the loss of great loves, very serious alcoholism, active drug use, career sputters, etc.
What I really admire about him now is that he doesn't keep hitting you over the head currently on his talk show with these details. Unlike Carrie Fisher, for example, his current humor is not dependent on constantly referring to the past difficulties. He concentrates now on the positives and I suspect that's what keeps him on safer and happier ground.
At present, he has a stable "this is forever" marriage, a successful late night talk show, a new American citizenship - in short a life vastly different and more successful than he could have ever imagined from his original start in life in working class Scotland.
If you chose to read this book so you know his backstory, see if you agree with me that when you watch him carefully on his talk show, you don't see a humbleness at times. Look for the moments he downcasts his eyes relative to the immediate conversation and the times he seems to be remembering but withholding his thoughts. Maybe I am projecting or imagining this....but maybe not.....experience can be the ultimate savior, constant atonement the means to longterm self-forgiveness. In the book, he comments often of his regret of causing others pain. Not all memoirs uplift....but this one does.
EDIT: I definitely hesitated before including the last paragraph above. It's a bit heavy handed like he is always in some kind of self-reflective mode when he's doing his show. He's definitely not and he did a bit that involved alcohol in one of his latest shows and it was light hearted and fun. It's just that I sense he has moments when he is reminded of his own difficulties. Alcoholism is a life-long battle and never really fully stops being something you can forget entirely.
23 of 26 found the following review helpful:
Who's The Dude In the Kilt? Sep 22, 2009
By Nancy Veeneman
"On-line Director, Sidelines Support Network"
"American On Purpose" is Craig Ferguson's no holds barred look at his own life. From his beginnings in a poor section of Glasgow, Scotland through his drug and alcohol use, Ferguson doesn't spare the details of how he has evolved into the host of the "Late Late Show."
Ferguson is his own harshest critic, and his true wit shows through in his writing. The book is funny, fast-paced, and even has a happy ending!
My final thought on the book is based on a line from the book at the end of Chapter 3: "... and the toys still talk." Read the book, watch his show, and you'll see that they do.
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