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Anything Goes: The Autobiography - John Barrowman with Carole E. Barrowman

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Genre: Biography / Author: John Barrowman with Carole E. Barrowman / Hardcover / 256 Pages / Book is published 2008-01-24 by Michael O'Mara Books

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    7 Reviews
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      01.02.2010 13:33
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      Honest, funny, entertaining look back at his life and his career - no holds barred!

      I have to say that although I have always been a fan of John Barrowman, both of his talent and of his looks, I have always assumed he was a little up himself.

      Reading his autobiography completely changed that opinion for me. He is a lovely, down to earth person, who obviously cares greatly for his partner and for his family. Even now, despite his television filming schedule, his West End appearences and other day to day jobs, his love and commitment for his family shines through everything else and he still takes time out to visit them.

      His family history and his childhood are just brilliant with stories of families which anyone can identify with. He is amazingly un-selfish and takes the time to mention the people who helped him and who continue to help him.

      Don't expect a chronological story, each chapter focuses on something else and it darts around, but you do get a clear picture of how he started off and where he got to today. Overall, it's a very very funny read and has certainly made me think twice about him.

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      29.12.2009 21:11
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      Worth reading if you're a fan

      I only really became aware of John Barrowman after seeing him in Doctor Who. He was a good actor, and fairly attractive, and from there my love for him grew. My parents being fully aware of this, bought both 'Anything Goes' and his latest book 'I Am What I Am' for me for Christmas.

      'Anything Goes' is Barrowman's first autobiography, taking a look into his past, rather than the present. The book is split into 19 different chapters, each with a title of a song that Barrowman felt related to his life.

      The reason I love this book so much is it is not done in chronological order. The book darts around, having little childhood stories link onto things which happened years later. The way it's written makes it feel more like you're sitting having a conversation with him, rather than reading his book. Despite the mixture of stories, it isn't at all difficult to follow, and all the stories link together in different ways.

      Taking a look into the different parts of Barrowman's life was genuinely interesting. He delves into different parts of his career, covering the theatre, his solo albums and of course his success on television. Each with little funny stories about the different parts of his life.

      We get introduced to his family, and take a look at his friendships and relationships, each with a lot more honest open writing than would have been expected. Many emotions are portrayed through this book, as happy and sad moments are recalled in the perfect amount of detail. Having read a fair few autobiographies in the past, this is definitely my favourite so far. The way it is written keeps you captivated, and I finished this book within two days.

      In the back of the book is a chronological list of the different points of his career. From this list, and a brief mention of it in the book, I found that he performed in 'Beauty and the Beast' which I saw many years ago, causing me to look in the programme I bought from that show. It turns out I saw him perform as the Beast when I watched it and although I didn't know who he was when I saw it, it makes me happy to think I've seen him perform in something live!

      There are footnotes featured throughout the book, explaining extra things (such as Scottish words which you may not have heard of) and sometimes giving short explanations of things or reassuring you that some things will later be explained. These footnotes once again make it feel less like a book and more like having a conversation with someone, as they give extra details or humorous comments which you would not expect in a book.

      The book has been put together by Carole Barrowman, his sister, meaning that the writing is not solely John's, although you can hear his sense of humour and honesty in most of it. The pictures which are featured in the middle of the book are fun to look at, showing John from when he was little to the near-present day. The pictures add to some of the stories which are in the book, sometimes giving evidence that the things written about did actually happen.

      Overall, I love this book. I've found it easy to read, and interesting. Despite all the things that Barrowman has achieved in his life, he doesn't take any of it for granted and you can see from the rest of the book how he has worked hard for everything he has. Although I loved him before I read this book, I like him even more now, and I would recommend this book for any fan of his! Now I'm off to read the next one!

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        15.11.2008 10:46
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        Brilliant read to take you on a whorlwind journey in just a few pages

        Well where do I start? I've always been a ''Johnite'' for a long time. I bought this book when it came out and read it in one night flat! The book has been beautifully crafted by John and his sister (she knows him extremely well) and tells his life events. And what a life he's had!

        There were so many emotions in this book - I went through happy, sad, constant giggles, smiling, feeling annoyed and many more I can't think to list. No matter what your prefered genre of books, this covers them all.

        Now, before reading this book I thought I knew everything there was to know about John. However there is so much more. So even if you think you are the die-hard Mr Barrowman fan, you don't know everything about him until you have read his autobiography.

        There are many, many photographs and images in the book which really help you imagine what life was (and is) really like for John.

        So why don't you buy this book, relax and let yourself becoming the all-singing, all-dancing, all-hosting, all-acting (etc!) Mr John Barrowman. I can assume you, you won't regret it.

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          15.08.2008 12:52
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          A really good, entertaining book.

          Anything goes. And in the case of John Barrowman, this is certainly the truth. From being relatively unknown just a few short years ago, John has quickly risen to being a popular celebrity, being on many prime time television shows, such as Doctor Who, Torchwood, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I'd Do Anything.

          I first noticed John when I caught an episode of Torchwood. I was never a fan of Doctor Who so I didn't expect to like Torchwood, but as there was nothing else on TV that I fancied, I thought I'd give it a go. And I've been hooked to Torchwood and John Barrowman every since.

          This book documents John's life, from being born in Glasgow, to his family emigrating to America, his schooling, friends, career, and love. Unlike most autobiographies that are somewhat dry and lack any real feeling, this book is full of life, and the writing style makes it feel like you are having a conversation with John, it's so easy to read that it is hard to put down.

          I don't want to go into much detail about his life as it ruins the point in reading the book, but no aspect to his life is left untouched, sensitive moments such as coming out to his family are included in as much detail as his first theatre show.

          I never realised that John's career was so successful or wide-ranging until I read this book. John started in theatres, doing both plays and musicals, has had a number of successful albums released, and is obviously a big name on TV in Britain at the moment.

          I found the passages about his relationship with his partner Scott Gill very touching. It was refreshing to read of a celebrity that is so relaxed and open about his sexuality, and doesn't try to hide it, even on TV.

          Carole E Barrowman, John's younger sister, has a great writing style, and has put the book together from notes, drafts and tapes made by John as well as some of her own memories of growing up together, and those of other family members.

          The use of footnotes throughout the book is quite a useful technique in drawing the reader in, giving short, humorous explanations and comments, although some of these do verge on being toilet humour, but no more so than he is on TV.

          Various sections of the book contain photographs of John growing up, at school, his career and his civil partnership to Scott.

          There are points that you will laugh out loud and points you may feel like crying, so this isn't a great book for reading in public.

          At the end of the book is a timeline of his career, starting in 1989 up to early 2008, followed by a thorough index of the book.

          Love him or loathe him, Anything Goes is an excellent book by a multi talented all round entertainer. It's so refreshing to read about a celebrity that doesn't need drink or drugs to be successful.

          John Barrowman: Anything Goes
          By Carole E Barrowman
          Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84317-289-5
          256 Pages

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            13.07.2008 18:43
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            A brilliant book that really lets John's character shine through

            I love John Barrowman. I think he is a very true and warm person as well as being a fantastic entertainer and so when he released his autobiography "Anything Goes2 I just had to read it.

            I must say I have not laughed at a book so much in a long time and really enjoyed every single page I read.

            The book tells us John's story from his antics as a young child in Scotland to his families move to America and his struggle and school to achieve what he wanted to and finally to his break into theatre and TV. As well as this we also get a great insight into John's personnel life as well as his current projects.

            The book is written in a style that perfectly suits the stories being told and you can really see John's character shining through. Carole, John's older sister, from scribblings, chapter drafts and tapes John himself had made, compiled the book itself. There are however added footnotes on many pages, which add a further personnel and usually humorous note from John himself.

            Throughout the book we get the feeling that John is a great family man and the fondness with which he talk about his family seems genuine. He seems really close to his nieces and nephews taking them on frequent holidays and simply spending a great deal of time with them. I already liked John but reading these sections made me warm to him even further.

            Charting his rise to success also increased my admiration for him, as despite knowing he was good from a very young age he persevered with the structure of things to come and has to this day remained grounded and very aware of how he came to be in the position he is in today.

            Now I'm not particularly fond of Autobiographies and often find that they big up the writer too much but on this occasion I never once felt that this was the case. The stories told range from the outrageously funny to the subtle and the upsetting and in this way I believed what I was reading and really identified with him.

            Ok at times there is a lot of toilet humour but in my opinion, and I'm sure others will disagree, this is not excessive and merely an extension to John's character, as this is offset with some extremely straight talking sections that allow you as a reader to delve deeper into what has made John, John.

            The book also contains a mass of photographs ranging again from humorous ones of John dressed as a penguin to ones of him as a child. On top of this are photographs of John with various other stars as well as with his neices and nephews. Finally there are some fantastic photographs of John's civil partnership with Scott Gill.

            All in all I really enjoyed reading Anything Goes and found the journey I was taken on to be humorous, inspiring, heartfelt and emotional. Most of all however I found it entertaining, which is exactly what a book, written by a great entertainer should be.

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              16.03.2008 11:56
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              A fun biography about the life so far of John Barrowman

              Anything Goes is the biography written by John Barrowman with the help of his sister Carole.

              John first came to my attention when I watched him appear in Dancing on Ice, I did not know much about him before this and thought he was a very good looking fun guy so it was after seeing this that I started noticing him in more and more shows in the TV.

              THE BOOK

              The book is split into 19 chapters, each chapter has its title taken from a song which has been related to his career.

              The book is not laid out in the traditional way, starting with him as a child and progressing through his life to where he is now. He has written to book as if he was talking to you personally over a drink and started off with one thing and they it has digressed into other parts of his life. Even though it is a bit all over the place in years it is still very easy to follow.

              The back of the book has a time line so you can follow his career through the years in the order which it happened. This has been helpful when reading if you have become slightly lost as to where he is up to in what he is telling you.

              John talks openly and frank about being gay and says that he found it very easy to tell his family about it and that no body judged him. He does tell us about his first and only straight relationship and how that is how he knew he was gay. He also tells about his first gay kiss.

              He does mention a lot about his family and how his Dad was always playing jokes on them when they were growing up. He believes that is where he has got his fun side and sense of humour from.

              The book tells us about how he found the move from Scotland to America quiet easy even being so young and tells us about why he can talk both in a Scottish and American accent, the Scottish accent is used to talk to his family and the American accent to anyone else.

              There is lots mentioned about how he first got into acting and about how he came over from America with his University to study the work of Shakespeare and ended up getting a job working in the West end and therefore staying here to work and did not return to his studies.

              There are plenty of chapters talking about his work in theatre and what it is really like behind the scenes and how his family is always there on his opening night to support him.

              MY OPINION

              I loved this book from start to finish.

              I was very surprised to find that he had already had a glowing and full career before he hit the British screens in Dr Who playing Captain Jack.

              I enjoyed reading about all of the work that he had done in America to get his acting career started and how much time he put into it. He sure did get a lucky break though when he came over here with his University to study Shakespeare.

              I enjoyed reading about his family and how close they all are. He does talk about the closeness of his nieces and nephews but I did feel he talked more about his sisters children than his brothers but maybe this is due to them being older and able to visit him more and see his work.

              There are some very funny bits in the book and he talks about accidents he has had on stage, the section where he tells about his seafood accident and the white trousers made me laugh out loud.

              The way the book had been written is quite different with his sidetracking from what he is talking about to a completely different time in his life but I did find that it was still very easy to follow. He does use quite a lot of swear words in the book but this did not both me at all and they are not too bad.

              I did enjoy finding out about all the famous people that he knows and how he came to know them. He does let us in on a few secrets about people!

              The photographs in the book are fun and nice to see how he has changed through the years.

              I did learn a lot from the book, I did not know that he first worked on live and Kicking, the children's show, back in the early 1990's and since then he has also worked in a lot of shows, It just seemed to me that he came over here and was suddenly staring and appearing in everything.

              INFO

              The book was written by John with the help of his sister Carole and has been published by Michael O'Mara Books Limited.

              I purchased my copy from Amazon for £9.97 which I think is a very reasonable price for such a fun book.

              I would recommend this book to anyone who like John Barrowman or like me anyone who enjoys reading about people and being nosey as this is a very fun and full book.

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                02.02.2008 19:02
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                A great autobiography of a talented entertainer

                John Barrowman has been around longer than you think. His first role in a West End musical was almost twenty years ago and he presented Live and Kicking back in 1993. But the huge popularity he has these days probably began with his role in the first series of the new Doctor Who in 2005, when he played Captain Jack, the dashing time travelling hero who assisted the Doctor. The character was so successful, he got his own programme - Torchwood - now into its second series.

                John recently published his autobiography Anything Goes, chronicling his first forty years. His sister, Carole E. Barrowman helped him write it and between the two of them, the tone is perfect and you can easily hear John's voice coming through the text.

                The hardback version has a cover price of £18.99, but you can buy it for about half that if you look online. I got mine from Amazon UK for £9.49. It is around 250 pages, split into nineteen chapters. There are three sections of photos too, which are lovely!

                My particular favourite is one of John watching the first televised episode of Torchwood along with three of his fellow cast members and the current Doctor David Tennant. That's one sitting room I would have loved to have been in then! There's also a beautiful photo of John and Scott on the day of their civil partnership ceremony, surrounded by their three dogs.

                The book doesn't follow a strictly chronological order, which can occasionally be slightly confusing, but it does avoid the problem of many autobiographies - one of a fairly boring start to their story and all the action towards the end of the book. Anything Goes never becomes dull and each chapter has something interesting and shows the reader more about John's life, career, family and friends.

                He comes across just as he seems on television appearances - warm, friendly, caring, energetic, and full of life, frank, cheeky, confident and endearing. He isn't afraid of writing it how it is and is happy to laugh at his own actions. Although a couple of incidents he recalls did have me thinking 'T.M.I.' (Too Much Information), they also made me smile!

                My eldest daughter would like a career in musical theatre and whilst reading Anything Goes, I discovered there were plenty of good tips and advice for the aspiring actor or singer too. I was also fascinated reading about theatrical superstitions and their origins, as well as John's own personal collection of idiosyncratic 'must do's! Do you know why actors should be told to 'break a leg' instead of wished Good Luck? Or why whistling in a theatre is unlucky? No, I didn't either, but I do now, after reading this. (No, I'm not telling you. Read the book!)

                John's fans often worry about his workload. The poor bloke seems to work long hours every day, whether it's television acting, singing on stage, presenting, personal appearances or his upcoming concert tour. Reading this book proved to me that he has pretty much always been the same. He loves working and works hard in all areas of his career. He gives it his all and I think that's why Captain Jack was such a success - he genuinely loves the part and his enthusiasm for it spills out of the TV screen.

                He doesn't concentrate solely on his career though. As well as obviously loving his partner, he adores his parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and this book is full of anecdotes where you can really see how important they are to him. He has a lot of good friends too and I think he says a lot that most people he works with seem to socialize with him too. (I couldn't understand why Suranne Jones is called Sara though?)

                Like me, he loves dogs and the book mentions several of his current and former pets. He works for the Dogs' Trust charity and has adopted from there. He takes his dogs with him a lot and I'm sure they have the best possible life.

                For Doctor Who and Torchwood fans, there are plenty of mentions of both series and anecdotes about filming, as well as his co-stars. One thing to note here though is that recent press stories came out about how John prefers working with David Tennant, referring to Christopher Eccleston as 'angry'. The correct quote from the book is actually 'angsty' - which is much less critical than the misquote!

                I would personally have liked even more to have been written about this time, but then I've have liked another couple of hundred pages - not to mention a dinner date with the great man himself - so we can't all have everything we want!

                It is hard to fault this autobiography otherwise. Like the man himself, it's interesting, entertaining, charming and affectionate. I also love all the little footnotes, where John's sense of humour comes through really well.

                Even if you're not a fan, I would recommend the book to you - and if you are a JB fan, what are you waiting for? Buy it! You'll love it! I know I do...

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              • Product Details

                With graduation looming, the school guidance counsellor asked John what he wanted to do with his life. John replied, "I want to go into the arts." The counsellor said "Okay, but what do you want to do to fall back on." John replied, "If I have to have something to fall on, it will have to be my ass.""Anything Goes" traces the life and career of John Barrowman from his Glaswegian childhood and American adolescence to his first big break starring alongside Elaine Paige in "Anything Goes". Since then, John has made a name for himself with unmatched West End achievements, including an Olivier Award nomination, and success in the movies "The Producers" and "De-Lovely". Television success was also assured when Torchwood won a Best Drama BAFTA. John also lays bare his personal life: his emigration as a child, coming out to his family, turning down a job at Disney and his 2006 civil partnership with long-term partner Scott Gill. "Anything Goes" is revelatory and insightful, told with real heart and characteristic Barrowman charm. This is a wonderful tale of how one boy achieved his dreams.