Greenlights (2020) by Matthew McConaughey 

Genre: Memoir  

Pages: 304

Summary: There has always been something so cool about Matthew McConaughey. It is in the way he talks and presents himself in interviews, it’s an aurora about him that I have always found attractive – a persona of confidence that never seems forced. 

In his memoir, Greenlights, McConaughey writes about life, about “livin”, as he describes it. McConaughey balances the movie and Hollywood lessons with rich stories from his life. He honors his father and the monumental person this figure meant to him in his life. He describes his brothers and his mother and how they grew up in Texas and his life prior to becoming famous. 

One of the many mantras in the book that McConaughey lives by is to “never half-ass anything.” It something that is so simple but so true. Why do anything if you aren’t going to put everything you got in it? 

“How do we know when we cross a truth or a truth crosses us? I believe the truth is all around us all the time. The anonymous angels, the butterflies, the answers, are always right there, but we don’t always identify, grasp, hear, see, or access them — because we’re not in the right place to. We have to make a plan.”

My favorite moment in the book is McConaughey’s description about his most monumental movie: Dazed and Confused. It was his first acting gig, the first time he said lines on screens. It now is likely one of his most recognized lines: “Alright, alright, alright.”  McConaughey captures this moment so beautifully – its that feeling that we hopefully have all felt at one moment in our life – the stars aligning, the puzzle piece fitting perfect. Something just made complete sense. This movie set him on a trajectory for his acting career and began the rest of his life. 

“Now, twenty-eight years later, those words follow me everywhere. People say them . Peoples teal them. People wear them on their hats and T-shirts. People have them tattooed on their arms and inner thighs. And I love it. It’s an honor. Because those three words are the very first words I said on the very first night of a job I had that I thought might be nothing but a hobby, but turned into a career.” 

Technical Overview: While it is a memoir, McConaughey utilizes the structure of his book to make it even more personable for the reader. While he narrates the audiobook, the physical copy is filled with pictures of notes and journals, stylized for the structure of the book. These writings flow through decades of McConaughey’s life and show his growth spiritually, personally, and his career as an actor and creator. 

If you have ever seen McConaughey give a speech or speaking in an interview, he has a cadence that is incredibly recognizable. It’s smooth and lyrical and that style bursts from the pages of his memoir. It flows easily, smoothly. I read the entire thing in his distinct voice. 

Author: Matthew McConaughey is an actor and Oscar winner for Best Actor as his role of Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey and his wife Camile founded the j.k. livin Foundation after-school curriculum, which helps at-risk kids in over fifty-two Title I high schools across the nation make healthier mind, body, and spirits choices. McConaughey is now a professor at the University of Austin and the Minister of Culture for the city of Austin and University of Texas. 

Buy a copy at Amazon or The Raven Book Store.

Book Review nonfiction

marisabayless View All →

Lover of the written word.

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