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••• The International Writers Magazine: Review

Review: American On Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot by Craig Ferguson
Pub: Harper Perennial
ISBN-13: 978-0061998492
• Patrick Bailey

American on Purpose

In a funny yet moving memoir “America on Purpose,” Craig Ferguson took his readers back into his childhood, reliving memories while he was still in Glasgow, Scotland until he has made a mark in the land of Hollywood. All through his remarkable journey, he stumbled upon various career opportunities like being a club bouncer, a construction worker, a rock musician, and even as a modern dancer.

Despite his humorous nature, Craig didn’t become immune to the pain of constant failure. To cope with his feelings of hopelessness, he found refuge in alcohol and drugs. The series of unfortunate events in his life, along with his addiction, propelled Craig to almost end his own life. Luckily, he was able to survive that ordeal because somebody offered him sherry. He literally forgot to end his life because of this event. This part of the story is in itself tragic, but because of the humorous way of delivering the part, you can’t help but laugh about it.

Craig’s story didn’t end tragically. In fact, his happy ending started to roll when after being sober from substance abuse symptoms, he landed a breakthrough role in the sitcom The Drew Carey Show. This show changed Craig’s life by leaps and bounds and even made him land the role as CBS’s The Late Late Show esteemed host.

According to Craig, his biggest victory was his decision to become a US citizen. He achieved this status in 2008, just a little earlier than his command performance at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.
In this funny memoir, Craig talks a blue, white, and red streak about all the things US Founding Fathers dreaded.

Honest Experiences of the Author
What’s really fresh and spectacular about the book is the fact that Craig has been really honest about his experiences and his feelings throughout his narration of life events. In his quest to become the person he wants to be, he broke past love and loss, heartaches, failures, and dark episodes of his life.

If you go through the pages of the book, you would feel that writing about his life experiences is a form of therapy for the author. If you are undergoing a difficult time in your life, reading the book can somewhat lighten your load, make you look at the brighter side of life, and have a little bit of courage to push through.
Though this book is mainly a narration of the life of the author, the humor that he added, especially in the dark and heartbreaking episodes, can make you pick up valuable lessons like you can do more despite how little you have, and that somewhere in your life, no matter how many failures you have gone through, opportunities can knock again and help you become the person you want to be.

Craig and His Ambitious Nature

To recap, Craig was very ambitious. He left all that he had in his town in pursuit of the American dream. The fact that he didn’t have money, connections, or experience to land a lucrative career in Hollywood did not stop him from chasing after what he came for. The genuineness of the emotions and feelings he added to his experiences also made the reader relive the memory with him and empathize with what he went through. While reading, you can’t help but cheer and root for Craig.

A Look Into the Author’s Dark Side
Another notable thing about the book is the fact that the author was not ashamed to tell his dark secrets. There was no attempt to sugarcoat any part of his life to make people believe that he is an entirely faultless person. Instead of hiding his vices and failures, he gladly shared them to the rest of the world and carve a sense of redemption towards the end – that if you turn over a new leaf, a new prosperous life will also be ready for you.
Most of the time, in an attempt to look good and to be right, people only show their clean, good, and saintly side. They erase any trace of human frailty from their story to make people respect them and cheer for them. Though stories like this can leave some people in awe, real people battling with their own demons can empathize more with stories not devoid of human frailty and error.

Because the author was able to capture the hearts and the empathy of his readers, the story has become very relatable. If you are struggling with substance abuse or if you are currently undergoing any treatment in rehabs or if you are experiencing abuse symptoms, reading the book can help you look forward at your own happy ending and your own victorious, sober future.

The humor is not the sarcastic type that would leave you offended, but the type that can make you think again and just laugh about your mistakes and your wrong decisions.

Final Verdict

Overall, we rate the book as 5 out of 5. Why give a perfect score, you may ask? Well, the storyteller was able to give valuable lessons while making the readers laugh about his experiences, even the tragic ones. It’s a type of book that would make you long for the next chapter. There was never a dull moment in the story. It was entertaining, heartbreaking, and emotionally satisfying at the same time.

It’s rare to find a biography that can entertain you, challenge your mind, and leave prized life lessons all at the same time. The author was also very transparent and honest to the readers, to the point that the readers feel like they’re reading their own story.

The author’s triumph was communicated well that the readers were cheering for him and were equally ecstatic when he finally got his long overdue break. You will cry when he cried, you will feel at a loss when he stumbled and fell, and you will feel victorious when he finally won.

American on Purpose is therefore highly recommended not only for those in rehab or for those experiencing abuse symptoms, but for everyone who loves to laugh and to make lemonades out of life’s bitter lemons.

© Patrick Bailey Dec 2018
Patrick Bailey
Professional Writer

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