[Book Review] American on Purpose

American_on_Purpose_coverTitle: American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot
Author: Craig Ferguson
Genre: Memoir, autobiography
Published: 2009 by Harper Collins Publishers
Recommended for ages 18 and up
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Audiobook: Narrated by Craig Ferguson


Here’s a synopsis from the publisher:

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: in 1993, the washed-up Ferguson washed up in the United States. Finally sober, Ferguson landed a breakthrough part on the hit sitcom The Drew Carey Show, a success that eventually led to his role as the host of CBS’s The 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, just before his command performance for the president at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. In American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson talks a red, white, and blue streak about everything our Founding Fathers feared.


I’m not fond of autobiographical books, but I like Craig Ferguson, and I thought I’d give his memoir a go. And when I learned there was an Audiobook, that was the format I went for (to hear his lovely Scottish accent, of course). Kidding (or not kidding?) aside, I think it was a very well written book. Armed with self-deprecating humor and cleverness, he was able to relate his story in a way that was moving, witty, inspiring, funny, and honest. Hearing the author himself narrate what he’s been through in life makes it even better (it was even nominated for a Grammy). He read it with such emotion that I think whatever message and feelings  he wanted to convey got across well — sincerity, regret, sadness, desperation, love, happiness, pride, affection, hope, gratitude, second chances.

I especially liked the parts where he talked about his mother and father in the book. He wrote and narrated the stories with much affection. Around the time when his parents passed away, he took the time to share with the audience/viewers his eulogies for his parents on the The Late Late Show. They were touching and beautifully written.

I’m really glad he managed to turn his life around and got to continue to do what he enjoys doing, making us laugh along the way.


I mean, sure, I sorta looked a bit like an idiot when I occasionally let escape some giggles while listening to the funny bits of his story at the bus or train during my commute to and from work, but I enjoyed it. Thoroughly. There were no dull moments in the book. I didn’t get the feeling that he was being overly dramatic when relaying his trying experiences in life. There was genuineness in his way of writing and storytelling.

I found the book to be a very enjoyable and interesting read that was well worth my time. And I don’t mind buying my own copy of the book for my library as soon as I find it in our bookstores here. I think I would even go as far as recommend listening to the Audiobook over the book. His narration really makes quite an impact.

5 thoughts on “[Book Review] American on Purpose

  1. Pingback: Farewell, 2014. Hello, 2015! | Undercover Bookworm

Leave a Reply to Professor VJ Duke Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s