Review: “Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. Crown Books. 304 pages.

Part of the reason I asked for this book was because I really like many of the movies that Matthew McConaughey is known for. Part of the reason is because he is born and bred here in Texas, and me having lived here for 23 years, it’s always interesting to hear about the experiences of people who grew up here. And part of the reason I bought this is because the rumor keeps circulating that Matthew McConaughey is considering running for governor of Texas.

Well, I am still unconvinced that he will make a good governor. Winning an Oscar and being popular doesn’t make you a good governor. Was Arnold Schwarzenegger a good governor in California? I imagine it depends on who you ask. The same can be said for Ronald Reagan. But there are precedents if he does decide to run, that’s for sure. And from the perspective of many democrats in Texas, you could go a lot worse than McConaughey. In fact, we might already be worse.

But all politics aside, this is a decent book. It is written on the occasion of McConaughey turning 50, winning the Best Actor category for the Academy Award, and deciding that he needed to leave some sort of legacy. It is based on 35 years of notes about his life, the events in it, as well as a lot of musings about philosophy, God, and what is important. He’s brutally honest in his telling, sometimes embarrassingly so, even though some of his stories make me wonder if they are more tall Texan tales than true. Such as telling when at age 11 or so how he stole lumber from a lumber mill at night to build a 13-story treehouse that rose 100 feet off the ground in Longview, Texas. But all the stories are fun and entertaining.

The book is interspersed with images of his poetry, notes, and photography from the years past, and I found myself skipping over those. In all, I think the book has some ideas that McConaughey shares that are worthwhile, but nothing majorly profound. As I told my wife, if he wasn’t a famous person, I doubt very much that this book would be picked up at all.

It’s entertaining reading. I had hoped to get the audiobook, since I’d love to hear him read it. But I got the hardback.

I give it three and a half stars out of five.