Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Friday! American On Purpose, by Craig Ferguson (CBR-III: 1)

I first came across Craig Ferguson in a monologue from his The Late Late Show where he was doing something I hold near and dear to my heart: crapping on airlines.

It was funny when I first saw it, and even funnier when Continental Airlines kidnapped my friend Ashley for three days because they’d double booked fifteen flights out of Houston, thus wreaking havoc on basically every airport that carries Continental flights. I should actually point out that it was funny once I found out that Ash had made it out of the Continental netherworld alive and in Houston, though I was still sad that she did not make it to my place at all.

A little later on, I saw a bit from Ferguson that was equal parts funny and important. It was a monologue that he gave before the 2008 election, and he wrapped it up by saying “if you don’t vote, you’re a moron…it is your DUTY to vote.” It’s worth a watch, because this stuff is essential, and I love his encouragement to get out and research candidates and get your ass out to the voting booth.

Craig Ferguson is an American who worked hard to get that way, and it shows in the way he discusses politics and the way he talks about America. His autobiography, however, shows that he has not always been so focused and clear. I expected more humor from American On Purpose, because he IS such a funny guy, but got very different story.

Ferguson spent much of his formative life completely obliterated on a variety of drugs and alcohol. His account of this harrowing time is certainly infused with humor, but it’s also a fascinating look into the havoc that alcoholism can wreak on your life and how helpless you can be before it. Before finally going to rehab, Ferguson’s fledgling career, friendships and life had been torn to the ground by his disease. He is remarkably clear minded about it now, but it’s obvious that he understands how incredibly broken he was before he got help.

This book is also a love letter to the two homes of Ferguson’s life: Scotland and America. I think his adoration for both places is particularly special for the experiences he describes; he was traveling throughout Europe during one of the most creative and exciting periods in recent history, but he still came back to Scotland and was inspired by the dream of going to America. It goes to show that an emotional connection to a certain place is about more than the universally understood attractions. Ferguson’s story is an inspiring one for a variety of reasons and is well worth your time. It’s great to see such a remarkable story of redemption.
Crossposted at The CBR-III Outpost

No comments:

Post a Comment