American On Purpose, by Craig Ferguson

The improbable adventures of an unlikely patriot

I have just finished listening to the first book on tape I have heard in a long while, Harry Potter probably being my last.  I don’t tend to care for books on tape as I lose interest too quickly and my attentions stray to other places.  When I heard my favorite talk show host Craig Ferguson had written an autobiography I was interested, and I don’t even like reading an autobiography.  I was determined to go down to the local library and get the book to read, but never got around to it.  It wasn’t long until I heard that Craig  had been nominated for a Grammy.  I was intrigued, as I didn’t understand how he could get a Grammy, but then I learned it was for his book.  Now I had to get it, but I decided to get the audiobook instead.  How could I pass up listening to a Grammy nominated book read by Craig Ferguson?

This book is definitely the best book on tape I have ever heard and definitely the most interesting non-fiction book I have ever dared to crack open, so you should definitely go out and get it for yourself, or at least get a copy from your library.  I started listening to it and found it very difficult to do anything else as I would listen for hours to my favorite late night comedian’s voice.

Craig does an excellent job of telling his tale, and isn’t shy about leaving out all the nasty bits.  He didn’t have the most pleasant of beginnings in a drab part of Scotland, and his childhood was tough.  That was almost to be expected though, and as his family consisted of Scottish Protestants they certainly didn’t conceive of the idea of telling their kids they loved them, instead they showed them.  To his family the best way of showing love was always through work.  If you worked hard you loved them.  That was it, no sense blabbering about it.

Craig continues on telling of his childhood fights with the neighborhood boys and especially of his memory of the landing on the moon and a subsequent trip to america with his father.  Craig wanted to be an american from this time onward and this lit a spark in him that would not go out.

Craig was soon distracted by the world of drugs, sex, and rock and roll.  He became a drummer and moved from band to band over the years doing more and more drugs and alcohol and that all caught up with him.  His first marriage was a failure because of this, and he knew it.  He had been in america for the majority of this marriage, but nothing had come from his dreams because of all of the booze and cocaine.

He decided soon after that he would have to change his life around and first to go would have to be the drinking.  He had plans to commit suicide but God, it seems had other plans for him.  He remembered the turning point in his life as one night when he asked God to either kill him there or fix him.  Well things changed, though it took a long while, and Craig decided to go through rehab.  He came out of it a sober man and has been ever since.

You just have to read this man’s story as it both touched me and excited me about who I am as an American.  Craig always seems to do this to me, after all he starts off every show with “It’s a great day for America!” and though his comedy is always at the forefront he finds a way of touching at the things that our at the heart.  In fact his biggest show ever was when he had, as a guest, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The story of a man who is “American On Purpose” inspired me.  I think that if you read this you may find some things out about yourself.  You might have a few laughs at the expense of Craig’s past as well.  I recommend this book in the highest way I can.  This is a story of a broken man just like many of us, who triumphed in hardship, and is the first to admit that he is not the best of people. So go out and read it already! (or listen to the Grammy nominated version of it if that is your cup of tea)

Oh and by the way, I would like to congratulate Craig and his wife Megan on the birth of their son Liam James Ferguson!

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