Although Matthew McConaughey put some captivating life material in this book, it is hardly its strong point. I’ll waste no words on the introduction and say it upfront – “Greenlights” is beautifully written.
McConaughey is a wizard of words. Some phrases are pure poetry. I came back to them repeatedly.
A beautiful choice of words, some McConaughey invented, is leading the reader through the story at a steady but warm pace. You can get a sense of the atmosphere listening to a sample of the book’s audible format with the voice of the author himself. The calm, warm Texan voice of McConaughey and you are sold from the very minute of it.
Not sure what the world expected of it, but “Greenlights” is not the Hollywood celebrity bio revealing spicy stuff on themselves and…others. It’s a journey both of the inner and the outer self. It’s a story of a boy becoming a man then a family man while starting a film career and getting it to stardom.
Most of it is cinematic, perhaps not a coincidence considering McConaughey’s first intention was to direct and went to school for that.
Now that I have just turned its last page, I feel that I found a writer, not only an author. There is a difference. I was blown away by the heartbreaking story of how he related to his father’s death. Expressing the loss, talking about it as a “rite of passage.” That piece of writing is so powerful, and it’s not all the story itself but also the way McConaughey put it on paper. Powerful.
“All the mortal things that I had been revering in my life, everything I was looking up to in awe, suddenly came down to eye level in front of me. All the mortal things that I looked down upon and patronized in my life, suddenly rose up to eye level.
Now, the world was flat, and I was looking it in the eye.
It was time to trade in any red sport cars I still had.
It was time to stop dreaming and start dealing.
It was time for me to take care of Mom.
It was time for me to take care of myself.
It was time to sober up from boyhood whimsy.
It was time for me to get real courage.
It was time for me to become a man.” (Matthew McConaughey, “Greenlights”)
There was a lot of buzz about this book: an Instagram beauty contest with people posting photos of its cover in various places. Matthew McConaughey embarked on a conference like a tour de force (due to Covid) on tv, podcasts. He was everywhere. I had no choice but to read it. And I am happy I did.
“Greenlights” is a splendid piece of writing.