Mixed Feelings about a Celebrity’s Memoir

“Sometimes which choice you make is not as important as making a choice and committing to it.”

Matthew McConaughey, Greenlights

Alright, alright, alright! It’s been a minute since I published my last review. This month, I am making an effort to post at least 3 book reviews. I stepped away on an extended break to focus on work priorities, but I am happy to be back. That being said, let’s dig into my latest review!

This highly anticipated debut was quickly showcased in bookstores across the country. I was intrigued after hearing the author promoting the book in a popular podcast called Armchair Expert. After launching an enviable career as a leading actor in beloved rom-coms such as How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and The Wedding Planner, he pivoted to more serious roles. He earned a positive audience reception for his memorable role in The Wolf of Wall Street. Shortly after, he earned an Oscar for his dynamic acting as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. His debonair attitude and laid-back demeanor have charmed audiences and critics for years. This author, actor, and producer is none other than Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey uses years of detailed journal entries to share his life story and impart wisdom to readers about how to approach life in his memoir, Greenlights. I listened to the audiobook on Audible, and McConaughey narrated the reading.

In the movie industry, a greenlight occurs when a new project is permitted to move to production. In Greenlights, McConaughey describes how he navigated his career by recognizing opportunities when faced with them. Greenlights represented positive indicators, enforcing McConaughey’s dreams and steering him toward success at pinnacle moments in his life. He advises his audience to make use of their potential, identify opportunities, and follow a path to success. He tells stories of his childhood and post-fame life with zest and candor. McConaughey is, by nature, very confident and makes his choices with strength in his convictions. I felt somewhat conflicting emotions by his overtly masculine persona because I tend to approach my life very differently. He might argue that it was this exact quality that gave him the confidence to take risks in his career.

Since McConaughey is primarily known for his acting, I was pleasantly surprised by his writing and narrative skills. His stories matched all the bravado and drama of his Oscar-winning performances. Some of his stories were very funny. In one such story, he describes a wild study abroad experience in which he lived with a delusional family in Australia. This story was one of the highlights of the book. Before I started reading, I had already seen his promotional interviews. To my disappointment, he’d already shared his most noteworthy stories in interviews, so they weren’t new to me. Other chapters felt like fluff that didn’t interest me as much. Surprisingly, I found the tales from his youth to be more thrilling than those after he became a household name. Though my enjoyment of the book ebbed and flow, I felt overwhelmingly impressed with his writing skills.

Hearing McConaughey read aloud breathed life into his stories. He speaks with a distinct southern cadence, instantly recognizable to fans. In the audiobook, he would frequently laugh or make exclamatory remarks (phew‘s, whoo‘s, and shoo‘s) which elevated the story telling. He reads with the passion and spontaneity of a true raconteur. It was like he was sitting around a campfire sharing his memories with old friends. On the other hand, I eventually grew tired of his well-worn shtick. He placed a heavy emphasis on certain phrases, sometimes even yelling out excerpts he thought were particularly important. He repeated the title of the book frequently which irritated me due to its overuse. The message of his story was clear enough without him repeating the title so heavily. Even so, I think there was value in hearing him read his own memoir to audiences, and I would encourage others to try the audiobook.

My overall reading experience felt disjointed. Some of his escapades humored me, while other chapters verged on boring. Because he and I are very different individuals, I couldn’t always relate to him or find applicable uses for his advice. As a result, I decided to give this book a 3 star rating. Just like any other public figure, he is a flawed human that some love and others don’t. He has interesting insights that come with age, experience, and career success. If you are a fan of McConaughey already, then you will love this book, and you would probably love hearing him narrate the audiobook. In his audio reading, his persona and characteristic energy shine. Like any celebrity memoir, it is interesting to hear how a public figure achieved global success. You might find that his stories motivate you to find and follow the greenlights in your own life!

You can listen to McConaughey narrate Greenlights on Audible like I did. If you are more interested in buying a copy of his book, I urge you to shop local! Follow this link to purchase the book from an independent store in Philly, PA: https://www.biblio.com/book/greenlights/d/1382417548

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3 thoughts on “Mixed Feelings about a Celebrity’s Memoir”

  1. I want to read or listen to this so badly. Once I finish it, I’m intrigued to come back and read your review!

  2. I listened to this one and I think I enjoyed it more because he narrated it. I am picking up the actual book from the library this week as I want to see the photos that were included. Nice review, I felt similar things. Parts were funny, parts interesting and some a bit boring, but overall, I am glad I listened to it.

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