American on Purpose - Craig Ferguson

A few years ago, I was addicted to The Drew Carey Show. I loved all the characters, but Craig Ferguson playing Drew Carey's hilariously mean boss really caught me. I tuned in just to see him. After he took over The Late, Late Show, I have to admit that I didn't start watching. A few months ago, I happened to turn on the TV and his show was on and again, I was immediately addicted. He was so funny, but in a real way--not the yuk yuk, gimmicky comedy that Jay Leno does on The Tonight Show. Don't get me wrong, Ferguson does do some gimmicky things (puppet shows, musical numbers, Sean Connery skits, and "What did we learn on the show tonight, Craig"), but they seem to be born out of his boyish humor and are actually funny. I liked the interaction he had with his guests where rather than interviewing them, they just seemed to be hanging out. So, when Ferguson started promoting his book on the show, I knew it was something I just had to read.

American on Purpose is Ferguson's memoir of growing up in the tough city of Glasgow and his desire to move to America to become an really, he even wrote NASA as a boy because he wanted to be a space man! There were a few things that got in his way--namely alcohol and drugs, a fear of his own success. We know how the story ends. Ferguson did come to the States, is a successful comic (with musical talent as well--I love his theme song on his show) and has been sober for almost 20 years. I loved how he chronicled his journey and his descent into madness when he began drinking. It was very eye opening how he explained his alcoholism and what he was feeling when he finally realized that he was an alcoholic. His description was just as out of control and confusing as his life was and I appreciated the honesty (with a little humor thrown in) with which he wrote. I like that through adversity, Ferguson never lost his sense of humor and his will to live. While writing about his successes, he took ownership of his flaws and shared a vulnerable part of himself in the process.

As an American, I also liked how he spoke about his desire to come to the States and explained why he thought America was the place to be. It was a true depiction of what it is like to immigrate to the country with the hopes and desires of the promise of the success that the nation is known for. I've never read an immigrant's story--only learned about it in school, and I really appreciated his words with my own family having immigrated to the United States in the last 100 or so years. 

As a fan of his late night show, the story of how he got the job and how he has made his show into the success that it is really impressed me. Ferguson explains how the elements of his show evolved and it was great fun reading about how he came to do the very things I appreciate so much about his program. I thought the book was really honest and well done which made me like Craig Ferguson all the more!
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