Tag: Memoir

Audiobook Review: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Author: Matthew McConaughey

Narrator: Matthew McConaughey
Published: October 20, 2020
Audiobook: 6 hours 42 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To:  June 21-23, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Audiobook Description:

From the Academy Award®–winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.

I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.

Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges – how to get relative with the inevitable – you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”

So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.

Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.

It’s a love letter. To life.

It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights – and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.

Good luck.

Jessica’s Review:

This is a memoir to enjoy! Greenlight!

I have always been a Matthew McConaughey fan and have been meaning to read this one forever! And I went with the audiobook and it gets a perfect 5 stars from me! Greenlight!

McConaughey tells us his life story up to his first 50 years of life, and for the audiobook he tells it himself.  And it wasn’t just him reading the book he wrote, listening to it  was an experience! He tells his story with such expression and puts everything into his narration, I don’t think I could have possibly enjoyed this memoir any more than I did! Greenlight!

McConaughey seems totally down to earth and tells his story where you feel that you get to know him as a person. Everything before, during, and after Hollywood! And things you think you know (aka the bongo drum incident) we actually learn even more about. 

Did you know that McConaughey was an exchange student to Australia?  I didn’t and he definitely had an interesting experience! He tells us about his childhood and he also traveled through Europe on a motorcycle with a few other actors, and he even floated down the Amazon.

McConaughey seems like a down to earth man and did you know all he ever wanted in life was to be a father?  We even get a part of the man’s spirituality.

We get his career in Hollywood, and I forgot he was in Angels in the Outfield!  We get his start with Dazed and Confused I was most interested in his time working on A Time to Kill, and why he doesn’t do rom coms anymore. I learned about a few of his films I did not know about but now want to see: Mud and Dallas Buyers Club. We see him meet his future wife and mother of his three children. Greenlight!

If you are a Matthew McConaughey fan you must read this book! I would say listen to it to hear the literal words come out of his mouth himself.  This is the kind of memoir I love, one where you feel that you really get to know the person.  The last memoir I listened to and felt that way was Jessica Simpson’s memoir Open Book.  If you are looking for any dirt and gossip you will be disappointed. He didn’t kiss and tell on relationships other than his wife.  Listening to this memoir I really feel like I got to know the man, yet he also kept some things private.   Greenlight!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audiobook Review: Pageboy by Elliot Page

Pageboy: A Memoir
Author: Elliot Page

Narrator: Elliot Page
Published: June 6, 2023
Audiobook: 8 hours 24 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 6-9, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Pageboy is a groundbreaking coming-of-age memoir from the Academy Award-nominated actor Elliot Page. A generation-defining actor and one of the most famous trans advocates of our time, Elliot will now be known as an uncommon literary talent, as he shares never-before-heard details and intimate interrogations on gender, love, mental health, relationships, and Hollywood.

Jessica’s Review:

Memoirs are a hard thing to rate and review.  It is someone’s life and they are telling their story in their way. And with Pageboy Elliot Page tells his story.  I just didn’t really feel I learned much listening to him actually tell his story. And he does actually tell his story to the listener as he is the narrator for the audiobook. 

The memoir is nonlinear so we are going back and forth through time throughout.  It was at times a bit confusing and didn’t really seem to go where it was meaning to.  Page does show how child actors are treated in Hollywood and it really isn’t something that kids should go through.  Page even had a stalker at a young age. When he talked about that it was scary to hear, as it was early in the internet days where this stalker came from. And the things this stalker said to a young person are just scary!

Most of the memoir dealt with Page being a closeted lesbian to the public, but those in Hollywood knew.  Page came out in 2014 as a lesbian with a speech that Ellen at the time made.  Page does a lot of ‘kissing and telling’ with intimate details with many partners but there are two actresses that he names. I would assume he got permission to tell those tales/names.  One relationship was mentioned more in depth. It also seems like Page may love the idea of being in love with all the details he shares over all the many ‘relationships’ he had. 

Page makes it clear early on in life he knew that he was not a girl but a boy and dressing in ‘girl clothes’ didn’t work for him. That even went into acting jobs in Hollywood that he had.  Page knew he was different from others when he was younger.  Several times he asks others if they think he is trans when he was still Ellen.  Maybe he was looking for support and acceptance from others.

We also see the bigotry and more that Page experienced before and after he was out as Ellen and a lesbian.  We see the anger that Page had with his reactions to those which could make those situations worse.  

There are some stories that Page starts that really don’t get finished and the last part of the memoir dealt with his top surgery. I was wanting to hear more of his transformation process, but it was just skimmed over.  It just seemed like he was telling a lot of different stories that he may or may not have finished. He didn’t really seem to know where he was going with this memoir.

I do applaud Page for telling his story in the way he wanted even if it was not really for me. But I am also not the targeted demographic for this memoir being a heterosexual CIS female. I am sure there are those who are closer to the target demographic that will fully enjoy the memoir. Page was brave by coming out not once, but twice in his still young life and I hope he continues to be an example to others and increase awareness in the LGBTQ community.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK



Audible Original: I Choose Darkness: A Holiday Essay by Jenny Lawson

I Choose Darkness: A Holiday Essay
Author: Jenny Lawson

Narrator: Jenny Lawson
Published: September 29, 2022
Audiobook: 38 minutes

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Listened To: October 22, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars     

Book Description:

From cheap costumes to creepy dolls to questionable candy, number one New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson weaves a hauntingly hilarious account of her ongoing—sometimes outrageous—Halloween life.

The holly-jolly holidays aren’t for everyone, least of all when you look back on that one Christmas when there were two definitely haunted dolls waiting for you and your sister under the tree. You have to assume that’s where it all started.

And so it was for Jenny Lawson. Now, she lives in the land of eternal Halloween, as evidenced by her interior decor and general state of darkness. (Although, if you ask her, her taxidermy zoo is less dark, more delightful. But not everyone has taste, so what are you going to do?)

This essay takes Jenny back to where it all started, from her humble beginnings as a trick-or-treater in the 1980s, on high alert for (logistically improbable) candy laced with razor blades and the (allegedly) ever-present threat of satanists on the loose. From there, she has risen from the candy-wrapper ashes of her childhood to claim her rightful lifestyle as the queen of Halloween.

Jessica’s Review:

This very short self-described essay popped up for free on my Audible, so I got it. I had no idea who Jenny Lawson is, so I didn’t know what I was in for but was very pleasantly surprised! Halloween is Jenny’s favorite holiday of the year and she reminisces and her childhood Halloween’s.  And we must be close to the same age, babies of the 1980’s, because I have so many similar memories as her! From the hideous costumes offered to the fear of razor blades being put in candy: and yes, I remember my parents taking my sister and I to the hospital and our candy being x-rayed!  I had a plastic orange pumpkin container that my candy was in.  It was most likely done at the hospital that my mom worked at.

I really enjoyed this essay of Jenny’s Halloween memories and she even narrated! She tells it like it is, foul language and all! I am going to have to look up some of her other books she has written and even listen to the audio if she narrates those! She definitely seems to have a new fan to look at her blog!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK