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Monday, January 18, 2021

Review: Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

by Matthew McConaughey,
narrated by himself

Publisher: Random House Audio
Publish Date: October 20, 2020
6 hours 42 minutes
Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir, Inspirational

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. 

My Review:

I bought this book and watched McConaughey's interview with Dwayne Johnson on his virtual book tour.  Everyone asked if I would be listening to the audiobook because "OMG, he's narrating it himself!"  I typically am not an audiobook person but recently popped that cherry and then, of course, immediately downloaded this. And I'm SO glad that I did.  Listening to him tell stories from his childhood, how his career started, his family - past, present and combined, knowing how lucky and easy some things were for him and embarking on discovery trips to find himself... well, it's everything you would've expected from this actor who moves to the beat of his own very unique drum.

Now, if you've watched and/or listened to any of the interviews McConaughey has done throughout his career, then you're used to the stories he tells and how well he tells them, in his trademark lilt and fire.  So you also know that at times it seems almost preachy.  Not gonna lie, in certain moments, I felt like I was going to become Rachel Green, after reading an inspirational book with Monica and Phoebe, yelling at Ross, "How am I supposed to GROW, if you won't let me BLOW?" ...... Mostly I felt like I was sitting in a smoky bar, smoking cigarette after cigarette and ordering whiskey after whiskey while he trapped me with his stories.  I was happily stuck.

I may have to listen to this one again at some point.  Not just because of that gorgeous voice with that cadence we all recognize immediately and swoon over, though that is a bonus, but because despite my semi-joke about wind blowing moments, there is a lot of wisdom in these words and I love this outlook on life.  It's not a typical memoir and I enjoyed the entire format. 

Cheers to the actor/author/father who chased his dreams, even the wet ones.

"It's tiime to get relative."


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