American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot (Review)

Book cover for "American on Purpose" by Craig Ferguson.Title: American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot

Author/Narrator: Craig Ferguson

Publication Year: 2009

Pages: 288 (audio length: 7 hours 24 minutes)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Source: Audiobook version purchased from

From the cover:

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.

As far as celebrity memoirs goes, this one isn’t bad. Ferguson’s definitely led an interesting life, at least as far as addiction is concerned. That was really the most interesting part of the book, for me. Ferguson did a terrific job of describing, in harrowing detail, the kinds of things that alcohol and drugs led him to do early in his life, both in Scotland and after moving to the United States. He does this while telling the story of how he came to be on television and, most importantly in his opinion, an American citizen.

If you’re not really all that interested in Ferguson, though, I’d honestly tell you to just skip the memoir. It’s an interesting enough read, and even made me laugh at times, but American on Purpose is not really all that spectacular. It’s just fine, something which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of something you’re going to spend hours on.


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