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Anything Goes Hardcover – April 28, 2008

80 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Told with real heart . . . a wonderful tale."  —Philadelphia Gay News

About the Author

Carol Barrowman, John’s sister, is a professor of English at Alverno College, Wisconsin, and a journalist.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Michael O'Mara (April 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843172895
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843172895
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Michele Briere on April 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful and charming book! I was laughing from page one. John talks about his family (I think the insanity is genetic), his coming out to his parents, singing as a little boy in Scotland and moving to the US when he was a child. Lots of stories of how he dealt with school bullies and even college bullies. Behind the curtains, insider secrets such as why it's bad luck to speak of the "that Scottish play" on a stage, and John's own superstitious phobias.

I think what I liked best was that he was open and honest about himself, right down to humiliating moments. There was no catty gossip about other people, only a great love of his family, his partner, friends, and life itself. The pictures are great, too.

It's a quick read, so spend a few hours with Barrowman. It'll make you feel good.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By N. Wolfson on April 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A FANTASTICALLY fun read! It would be worth it for the hilarious footnotes and pictures alone, but his stories of a life well lived are what make you want to hear more. I highly recommend the audiobook as well, even though it is abridged. After hearing him tell his own story, it just makes the unabriged book that much more enjoyable!

Yes, Mr. Barrowman has an ego, and rightfully so. Why shouldn't he? He won the gene pool lottery hands down! He's an exceptional entertainer, which by definition requires a larger than life personality and he's boldly breaking all the stereotypes. The whole point of an autobiography is to give the reader the unvarnished truth and this book accomplishes that with great warmth and humor.

Like he says. . . his ending is not yet written. I'm most definitely staying in my seat for the second act!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard Derus on March 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Book Report: The life and times of fabulous Captain Jack Harkness, I mean I mean JOHN BARROWMAN of course I do, silly me to get the two confused, he of the TV show Torchwood, in all his dimpled and smiling glory. With butt shots. Two.

My Review: One knows what one is getting with celebrity memoirs, right? Whitewash, excuses, justifications, and a little catty score-settling. It takes a pretty damned big ego to write an "autobiography" (which this ain't, it's a memoir) in the first place; to do it before the age of sixty is, well, it's a bit uppish.

Yeah, so what, pretty people get to do what they want. And Barrowman is nothing if not pretty. Very pretty. Very very pretty. That he is also a talented actor, a fine musical-theatre singer, and a high-maintenance mess of a man makes it all the more fun that he didn't wait to write the book (with his sister, Carole). He takes it upon himself to tell us the tale of what brought Clan Barrowman from Glasgow to Illinois, what made the clan tick, and what happened as a result of this daring and quite unsettling move, made in the Malaise Years of the middle 1970s.

Wait. Make that, he tells us the tale of what happened to John of the Clan Barrowman. This is a book that relentlessly focuses on John Barrowman, contextualizing his life with the necessary information, but skimping on the lives and times of the other people in his orbit. Quite forgivable in a memoir; less so in an autobiography, which is more about the life-and-times, less about the lifestyle.

He's not forthcoming with details of his personal life, eg what his feelings were, what his thoughts were, around his coming out.
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Bubba on June 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I first read others' comments about this book (as I waited...and waited...and waited for Amazon to send it) I just figured the negative ones came from a bunch of John and/or gay haters. I now have to concede that they had some valid points. At times, I wonder if the John I've seen in interviews is the same guy as the one in this book! I'd already listened to the audio version, and there were times when he came off as a bit of a d*** in it, but hearing the anecdotes in his own voice softened the bite. In print, he does not come off well. He comes off as a brat. Where's the guy who helped those two ladies after one of his shows? (A cute anecdote about some fans who were stranded after a thief nabbed a purse.) Where's the guy who got so irritated at the protesters at London Pride that he told the crowd that "THEY'RE the ones who need saving, not me"? THAT man has more passion and integrity than the one I've seen so far here. Save your money - watch and buy some Torchwood and Who instead. And watch his interview from Heaven and Earth. I think you'll see Another - and better - Side of John.
All that said, some of the photos are absolutely gorgeous!!!!!!!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By F. Cansler on April 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who likes Captain Jack or John Barrowman in any of his many theater roles will enjoy his distinctive biography. This book is funny, offbeat, and well worth the price. Don't expect the typical chronological biography, however; this book has its own unique organizing system that adds to the enticing and cheerful humor that abounds throughout the book. John Barrowman and his sister have done an outstanding job in telling his life's story in a distinctive and appealing way. The photos are revealing and engaging, tell their own narrative, and add to the story line in a way that doesn't disrupt the flow. Great job guys!
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