I love biographies and I love cinema, so when I found out that Matthew McConaughey had written a memoir, I immediately added it to my reading list.
Greenlights is a chronological account of his life, sprinkled with thoughts, poems, and philosophies. McConaughey based it on the journals that he’s been keeping since he was 14 years old.
I liked the biographical aspects of it. It was interesting to learn about McConaughey’s journey and his adventures along the way: an exchange year in Australia, how he fell into acting, or the intensity with which he prepares for a role (he lost 20kg to portray Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club, for example).
The audiobook was great. McConaughey narrates it himself, with his legendary voice and Texan accent. It’s personal and funny, and feels kind of like a friend telling you about their crazy youth (except of course, this friend is a multimillionaire celebrity).
About the life philosophies, I’m not so sure. There is so much disparate advice that I often lost the thread, and none of them really hit home for me.
At the end of the day, I tend to agree with the Washington Post’s review:
“Greenlights” is stuffed with vaporous, circular proverbs for would-be McConaugheys: “All Prodigals once Pharisee, All Pharisees once Prodigal,” “I am good at what I love, I don’t love all that I’m good at,” “the arrow doesn’t seek the target, the target draws the arrow,” “I was remembered by being forgotten.”
A fortune cookie might have written much of “Greenlights,” if a fortune cookie had starred in “Interstellar.”
So, on a scale of “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” to “True Detective,” I figure “Greenlights” is a solid “Magic Mike” — simply structured, a little flashy, but not as insightful as it wants you to think it is.