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Note to listeners: This is an unofficial summary and analysis of Matthew McConaughey’s book designed to enrich your reading/listening experience.
Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights is a book about finding oneself by a process of elimination. Unlike many other autobiographies, the anecdotes he chooses to tell are not picked to generate headlines, but to give an insight into how he has become the man he is. There may be moments of strife, but he has been very careful not to elaborate on events that could otherwise detract from the theme of his book, namely how his approach to life has evolved.
What is clear from the beginning is that Matthew McConaughey loves language and loves playing with language. It is telling that he has chosen to format his book in a way that allows him to experiment with poetic form rather than a strictly chronological memoir. The book is like a poem, with the repeated refrain "greenlight" when something positive happens in his life.
What is also very clear is McConaughey’s voice. Anyone who has seen him in films or interviews will recognize the turns of phrases that are particular to him, and it is interesting to note just how much freedom he has had in his career to improvise his lines. His is not a voice restrained by academic form, and the result is that he achieves a certain lightness, even when he is describing less pleasant events in his life.
This is very far from a "tell-all" memoir. Those seeking insights into his co-stars, seedy gossip on his previous relationships, or stories of personal drama will be very disappointed. Much of his focus is on his family and people who populate his life outside of the film industry.