James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My L… (2024)

Jessie The Librarian

1,521 reviews75 followers

November 28, 2022

**ARC Review Published May 19**

This is a one star read and I didn’t want to boost his ego by giving him a sole star but even he admits that his book was an ego booster. I wanted to rate it two but the more I think on it the more I hope no one ever picks this book up.

Look, a lot of people know I feel mixed on Patterson, & this book only pushes that further. I appreciated his open honesty about his life, & there were a few moments that felt genuine and interesting. Perhaps my lack of enjoyment could’ve just been the fact that each story was only around 1-3 pages long. It also could be the fact that his stories rubbed me the wrong way.

*Revised Portion Published September 17th*

For example, one of the earlier stories discussed his first crush during his time at catholic school, and how he later found out she was dead while visiting the cemetery one of his family members resided in. The story felt entirely out of place, and he was very quick in summarizing how it made him feel. It felt odd to have such a presumably vulnerable story in a random spot, and to gloss over it in the mannerisms he did.

Or it could be the fact that his stories lacked empathy and showed his true selfish nature. The next story that bothered me involved Mr. Stephen King. Now let me fully clarify, I am not a fan of Stephen King, as I have only read one of his works and found it alright. But I still felt entirely sick when reading Patterson's short story about how he wasn't able to publish one of his book shots because it was about Stephen King being the hero while his family is threatened by fans and a similar event had just occurred. Rather than being concerned, or worried for King, a fellow author, Patterson instead moaned and complained by saying, well if he was so concerned, he should have quit writing. This coming from a man who admits he doesn't write most of his own novels outside of an outline. I honestly do not think Patterson thought for one second to even mentally place himself in Stephen King's shoes. Had Patterson been threatened by fans, I doubt he would have stopped writing.

Additionally, there's the story of Kurt Vonnegut. While it seemed like he genuinely had a relationship with Kurt, he was not afraid to call him fat, and discuss Vonnegut's attempted su**ide. He even states that he was unsure if he knew the real Kurt Vonnegut wondering if he was really just a character written by him (Vonnegut).

Oh, and let's not forget his recent cancel culture fame.

Overall, I feel weird leaving my usual overall comment ~But I'll end by saying this, I plan on never reading another book by James Patterson.

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Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

2,366 reviews678 followers

June 5, 2022

I have been reading James Patterson books for as long as I can remember. In fact, his Alex Cross books are some of the first grown up books that I remember reading. Needless to say, I am a big fan and I urge every crime book lover to read his books. When I heard that this book was coming out I just had to read it. It is always fascinating to learn more about the people that you admire, and James has had a very interesting life.

This is a book of stories, in not particular order really. He jumps around his life, telling stories of what he has done, people he has met and how he became the world best selling writer. I enjoyed reading about his time as an advertising executive, his school days, his experience at Woodstock and his lack of confidence at becoming a fiction writer. He talks about his friendship with former President, Bill Clinton and their writing collaboration. It was written in his usual conversational style, with short chapters which makes it a very fast read - just like his fiction novels.

I look forward to my physical copy arriving so that I can see the photos to go along with the stories.

This is a must read for fans of the great man's books. Absolutely recommend. All the stars

Thanks to Random House UK and Netgalley for my advanced copy of this book to read..

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Jesse Keljo

152 reviews4 followers

June 16, 2022

I told anyone who would listen that, if I were to read one James Patterson book, it would be this one because I wanted to hear what he has to say for himself. I’m a librarian who orders multiple copies of his 5-6 (or more) adult titles per year, and it wrecks my budget in a way that makes it hard to afford to try new authors. I guess I hoped for something more than, “what can I say? I like money!” Of course, he does like having money, but, thankfully, he seems to genuinely love putting stories out into the world to get people reading. He wants all people of all ages to read as much as they can, and I appreciate his tireless advocacy for literacy.

There is enough interesting here to give this 3.5 stars for sure, but the book is scattered in a way that’s frustrating to read, which is surprising from an author who seems to be famous for straightforward storytelling if nothing else. The name-dropping goes back and forth from insufferable to interesting, but I appreciate that there is that oscillation at least. He also drops some pearls of wisdom that I really liked and appreciated. Patterson himself handles the narration of the audiobook and does a fine job of it.

Dana

781 reviews9 followers

June 10, 2022

I very much enjoyed my hours reading James Pattersons thoughts. The short chapters were absolutely perfect!!

Here are my takeaways from the book...

Thirty or so manuscripts at any given time!?! Mind blowing!!

I found it so interesting that Patterson hasn't been happy with his book adaptations on the big screen. I often wonder what authors think seeing their work in action.

The tooth and pliers story - I may have turned a little green reading that, ha ha!

The Woodstock story - HILARIOUS!!!!

I can't say I've ever heard of someone getting slammed in the head by an elevator. WAA HAA HAA! I almost spit out my water picturing that!

The woman that stole the book! I can't believe he was there to witness that! Soooo funny!!!

I wonder if there are still copies of The Murder Of Stephen King kicking around?

Hugs definitely ARE important! I completely agree! :)

The fortune cookies!!!! I was howling!

"You played Patterson on Castle" HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

This was such an enjoyable read! Thank you so much to Hachette US and Little, Brown for my gifted copy!!

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Alex

231 reviews27 followers

June 14, 2022

Update, I'm dropping the rating after some comments made by the author over the weekend: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/james-...

Okay so I’m going to start off with I’ve only read one James Patterson book. It was the 1st Maximum Ride book and I read it a long time ago. I was interested to read about James Patterson’s life and his take on writing. Some of the things I already knew from reading interviews and working in a library setting.

There were some genuine parts of the book, including when he talked about his first wife Jane and his second wife Sue and their son Jack. This book just had too much name dropping, celebrity encounters, major ego boosting (mentioning that he is a bestselling author and that he is the world’s bestselling writer currently). Also he talked way too much about being rich and all of the things his money has gotten him. He even had multiple sections on his co-writers and how that whole process works. A direct quote from the two page section on critics: “Surprisingly, Patterson’s autobiography isn’t half bad. I just wonder who wrote it for him.” He basically says in the next section, where he had his co-writers sing his praises, that he outlines the novel and then calls in his co-writers to help flesh out the story. The other section I really liked was the one about Dolly Parton. Now I am excited to read that book if only because Dolly had a hand in writing it.

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Jayne

718 reviews433 followers

July 18, 2022

TRUE CONFESSION:
I stopped reading James Patterson's books ten years ago.

Patterson had been spitting out mystery thrillers faster than the speed of light; causing the quality and "sizzle factor" of his books to suffer. Plots had become formulaic with shallow characterizations.

Kudos to Patterson for restoring my faith and penning a witty, entertaining, and endearing "from rags to riches" memoir.

In the book's first chapter, Patterson tells readers that his memoir is most likely his finest mystery and he's correct.

THE MYSTERY?
How a working-class boy from small-town Newburgh, New York (with no connections!) transformed himself into a world-renowned author with over 400 million books sold.

And like most compelling mysteries, Patterson reminds readers that his "memoir/mystery" features plenty of dead bodies.

James Patterson Fun Facts:
He writes all of his books with a #2 pencil.
Before even writing his first paragraph. he writes outlines, outlines, and more outlines.

Omitted from the book was Patterson's decision to use his own advertising prowess and out-of-pocket funds to market his first round of books.

This decision disrupted traditional book marketing and significantly upped his book sales and that was why I was surprised that it wasn't mentioned.

I always love it when authors read their own memoirs and James Patterson did an outstanding job with the narration.

A very strong 5 stars!

Victoria

50 reviews24 followers

January 8, 2023

This was a good book to listen to while I was getting a few things done. It was interesting to hear about James’ life and how he got his start writing his famous novels. The best part of the good is he actual made my chuckle a few times. This is an interesting memoir and quite enjoyable.

Amanda Krutsick

452 reviews11 followers

July 1, 2022

At the beginning of his book, Patterson says, “I got infamous writing mysteries, so here’s the big mystery plot for this book. How did the shy, introspective kid from a struggling upstate New York river town, who didn’t have a lot of guidance or role models, go on to become, at 38, CEO of the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson North America? How did this same person become the best selling writer in the world?” Mr. Patterson, I have no f*cking clue.

This was the book form of a gish-gallop. I barely know where to start this review because of the sheer number of topics covered quite nonsensically. Patterson sets out to “just tell stories” and ends up talking in uninteresting circles, all the while name dropping to the heavens, boosting his overinflated ego, and getting defensive about the co-authoring allegation while completely straw-manning the actual arguments against him.

He also sets that his intention for this book, and the takeaway, should be surrounding the art of storytelling and that, "I don't want the person to get up until I'm finished with the story." Let me be clear that there was no art here, storytelling or otherwise, and listening to this in one sitting felt like being held hostage to the stream of consciousness of a senile old man.

There was no organization to this whatsoever. There is no clear through-line to follow his life story from beginning to end and there are stories strewn about like he didn’t put any thought into grouping them thematically. He tells random one-offs about sports, music, politics, golf, writing, advertising, family, Catholicism, and love, but cuts each and every single one short to jump to the next random thought. There are multiple sections wholly lacking in empathy, including but not limited to his time working at a mental institution which he continues to reference as the "loony bin," the three separate occasions he brings up Stephen King, and the trashing of the people that have made his books into movies and TV shows. He shows a stunning cognitive dissonance when talking about how he "likes to stay out of politics" and then spends multiple chapters talking about presidents, free speech, and other political topics.

In the middle of his book, while defending his tendency to co-write, he says that the skeptical reviewer can use the line, “surprisingly, Patterson’s autobiography isn’t half bad, I just wonder who wrote it for him.” It’s become clear through reading this monstrosity of a book that the actual line he should have offered is “Patterson’s incoherent autobiography is proof that co-authoring is the only path for him, because no one would publish this sh*t otherwise.” The only thing I gained from the pages he devoted to co-authoring is a step-by-step of exactly how his process works, which was largely a mystery before this.

This might be better if read one (extremely short and pointless) story per day, kinda like a devotional, but Patterson himself says at the beginning of his book is that his goal is to tell stories that make people want to keep listening, and he says to not skim. And what good is a devotional if there are no takeaways?

For a man that claims he so meticulously outlines everything he writes, he certainly didn’t outline this. It could have used an editor, or *gasp* a co-writer. This book does more to bolster the allegations that James Patterson cannot write than any number of slanderous news articles. Save yourself and don't spend your hard-earned money on this giant ego stroke.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Youtube video to follow this review, and I will link it here when it's finished. And know that if I could give this book zero stars, I would.

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Felicity

141 reviews6 followers

February 7, 2024

To summarize: Name dropping. That's it. That's the whole book.

Books

525 reviews44 followers

June 6, 2022

The master of the Thriller/Mystery genre has written an autobiography. Opening up this book feels like sitting in James Patterson’s office across from his desk and he casually tells you the story of his life. There’s such a comfortable style to his writing of his own autobiography that makes it truly enjoyable to read.

James Patterson, the man, is a very complex and interesting man. The man is has #1 bestsellers every time you turn around is really an every day man and is a person just like the rest of us. It’s easy to put people that we enjoy reading on a pedestal and forget that they are just like us. That’s exactly why this book was so enjoyable,

I highly recommend this book. It was pleasure to spend some time with the man himself.

Thank you to #netgalley and #littlebrownandcompany for allowing me to read the eARC of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

Zach Denton

57 reviews1 follower

Read

August 28, 2022

I'm not gonna lie; I stopped caring after 25 pages.

Wim Oosterlinck

Author2 books1,160 followers

Read

May 22, 2024

James Patterson is de meest succesvolle schrijver van de planeet. Succesvoller dan J.K. Rowling, en dat wil wat zeggen. Patterson schrijft thrillers, véél thrillers, én kinderverhalen. Hij heeft enkele jaren geleden een boek over zijn eigen leven en carrière geschreven, dat ik vorige zomer oppikte in een giga vestiging van Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles.

In James Patterson by James Patterson vertelt hij hoe hij als baas van een reclamebureau besliste om schrijver te worden. Over zijn book tours, zijn familie, zijn collega’s, zijn discipline, zijn samenwerking met Bill Clinton.

Bekend is dat Patterson met een team van schrijvers werkt. Hij schrijft naar eigen zeggen een outline voor een boek, en iemand anders gaat ermee aan de slag om het uit te schrijven. Zo kan hij een enorme productie aanhouden. Behalve met Bill Clinton maakte hij ook een boek met zangeres Dolly Parton.

De belangrijkste schrijftip in dit boek: werk met zo’n outline. Schrijf op voorhand alles op wat er in het verhaal moet gebeuren. Maak met andere woorden een ultieme structuur waarin eigenlijk alles al staat wat belangrijk is voor het boek.

James Patterson by James Patterson geeft een inkijk in de geest en het leven van een uiterst succesvolle thrillerschrijver, in korte hoofdstukjes en in zijn zeer rechttoe-rechtaan stijl zonder franjes. Die stijl ‘voel’ je wel na 300 bladzijden. Je voelt waarom sommige mensen kritiek hebben (kritiek die voor hemzelf compleet overruled wordt door zijn megasucces).

Dit boek is zoals de andere boeken van James Patterson: topentertainment. Misschien moet ik nu eens een echt boek van hem lezen? Een thriller?

Volledig leesverslag: https://wimoosterlinck.wpcomstaging.c...

Daniel J Cullinane

1 review

June 27, 2022

Somewhat interesting…..JP applauds himself too often, too much name dropping, and Amazon isn’t the problem that half of school age children don’t have the capacity to read at the appropriate level. Disappointed in the book and also that I forked over 15.99 for it.

Mac

384 reviews23 followers

June 13, 2022

“Call the FTC.”

That was my thought as I read James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life. I was thinking the Federal Trade Commission might investigate for misleading business practices. My claims against the book are threefold.

Claim #1: Shouldn’t the title be “Anecdotes of My Life”? Generally, stories have structure. A story’s narrative builds to reveal meaning and perhaps an emotional insight; a narrative arc is particularly important in a memoir, which typically intends to reveal character or insights into a person’s life.

Instead of stories, Patterson deploys a series of anecdotes, brief episodes scattered about but only occasionally creating complete narratives. More broadly, the book’s larger story lacks coherence, vacillating in organization between chronological, topical, and scattershot. Stream-of-consciousness seems to define the work, or perhaps it’s just a first draft unedited. (To be fair, Patterson does tell some stories amid the anecdotes.)

For comparison, check out John le Carre’s The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life for complete narratives that build and ultimately mean something. Le Carre’s title alone shows imagination, insight, and depth of thought compared to Patterson’s literal title.

Claim #2: Where’s the beef? I kept mumbling this old marketing line as I read Patterson’s The Stories of My Life. Each time a chapter became interesting, Patterson flipped the page to a new subject. His trademark micro-chapters built drama but interrupted when I wanted more information and insight.

Consider just one subject, the craft of writing. I wanted more on Patterson’s writing process beyond “…write every day…first write an outline…tell good stories…” How about more on collaboration with other authors beyond “We wrote chapters and exchanged notes.” How much editing does he typically do of his own first drafts? How much do his editors change his submissions? What were some of his rejected plot lines (or who were rejected collaborators)? How does he keep straight the various narratives when he is working on several novels at once? To summarize, just when I sensed a tasty meal, a nothing burger left me unfulfilled.

For comparison, Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir provides more insights. Her book includes depth of thought and specificity (perhaps too much). Whether you agree with her or not, she clearly has thought about her subject. In discussing the importance of revision, she cites an idea, "...remember that your best friend is the waste-paper basket..." I ask does James Patterson even own a waste-paper basket.

Claim #3: Are there limits on marketing promises? Of course, book blurbs exaggerate, but here, they are over-the-top. For instance: “The most entertaining book I have read in the past fifty years.” Or “James Patterson by James Patterson brings to mind Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.” And “I felt I was interviewing James Patterson under the highest permissible dose of sodium pentothal, the truth serum.” Actually, you won’t find brutal honesty here, drug induced or otherwise. Patterson often pulls his punches, softens his assessment, or leaves the person discussed protected in anonymity. And overall, you won’t find a book that lives up to the marketing hype.

For comparison, consider Frank Langella’s Dropped Names for candor and insight. When considering other actors, Langella mentions their successes and failures, their strengths and insecurities, their acting abilities and stage/screen shortcomings, their drinking, and particularly their dissolution in old age. I’m not suggesting Patterson should dish on others or belittle his peers; I am asking him to deliver on the marketing hype with specificity, insight, and careful consideration of his subjects.

Confession: If someone wants to counter my critique, that counter could be valid. The Stories of My Life is very readable, a page-turner like Patterson’s novels. I read with enthusiasm and interest, and there are some engrossing stories/anecdotes here. So I confess I enjoyed “The Stories of My Life.” But I also was often disappointed with a book that is anecdotal, not storytelling...that lacks beef…and that over promises and underdelivers. As I say, the FTC ought to investigate.

Kat (Katlovesbooks) Dietrich

1,295 reviews167 followers

June 4, 2022


James Patterson (The Stories of My Life) by James Patterson is the autobiography of a storyteller.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Little, Brown and Company and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My Synopsis and Opinions:
James Patterson is a really prolific author, and although I have been reading his books since I was a teenager, sometimes I need a break. I am behind on two of my favorite series (Alex Cross and The Women's Murder Club mysteries), mainly because he writes non-stop, but I will have to make more of an effort. I have stayed away from his YA/middleschool novels. I learned that he actually writes quite a bit of non-fiction.

So, about this book, which I felt I had to read. He has become one of the most successful and prolific writers of our time, or maybe any time. He is a household name. Yet, other than the fact that he writes, and has his own charity, I really didn't know much about him.

I should be up-front about this. Sometimes he really annoys me....all those collaborations don't sit well with me -- is he actually writing any of them? As well, how does he have time for his wife and son if he is pushing out book after book. Some of my questions were answered in this book.

Okay, some of the basics. He was born in Newburgh New York, and has 3 sisters. He was an altar boy, attended a Catholic school in Newburgh and a Catholic college in the Bronx (full scholarship). None of those were his choice. He got a scholarship to Vanderbilt, but only stayed a year. He was a weed-smoking hippy, and almost a monk. He was hired as a junior copywriter at a major advertising agency, moved to writing television ads, and continued to rise. I think there was a little too much on his advertising career in this book.

Okay, more. He has problems with authority figures. He is a sports fan and a movie addict. He loves music. During school, he worked as an usher at a concert venue, and attended Woodstock. At 19, he worked summers as a psych aide at McLean Psychiatric Hospital in Massachusetts, which is really where he started writing short stories. He knows a lot of famous people.

Okay, so above are "facts"....but it is the stories behind those facts that are told in this book, and they are simply wonderful.

I think the only thing that disappointed me was the lack of personal stories about Sue and Jack. This was a "business" book more than a personal life book....although he did a lot of name dropping of "friends".

I admit that I enjoyed this book a whole lot more than most of the autobiographies I have read. A lot had to do with the writing style. Patterson writes his books in short, concise chapters, and that is how he wrote his autobiography. He told his life in short stories, a chapter per story. It was a very fast and entertaining read, with a good amount of humor. It did jump around a little, and I felt he often got side-tracked, but that was okay.

Here's hoping your next read is 5 stars !!!


For a more complete review of this book and others (including the reason I chose to read/review this book, as well as author information and contact details), please visit my blog: http://katlovesbooksblog.wordpress.com/

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Aya

843 reviews1,085 followers

June 9, 2022

This wasn't your usual deep, emotional kind of memoir. Reading this book was like spending an evening with James Patterson. He telling bits and pieces of his life and whatever that came to his mind.

He is well-known for his short, concise style of writing. He wrote this book in the same manner as he wrote his novels. It was efficient and blunt. There were many funny moments.

He explained why he collaborates and the style of his writing. Reading this book would make you want to know more because he didn't give all the details.

Hunter Ross

274 reviews186 followers

July 1, 2022

I think all those of us with a negative opinion think the same thing. I do enjoy some of his books, some not so much, but this was a borrow and I was told "how wonderful" it was, not in my opinion. With some exceptions the book is mostly rampant egotism, bumptiousness, boasting, and smugness. A vanity project, the good news is people seem to like it, that should help pay the medical bills from his broken arm (from patting himself on the back). It's not long or complicated, just pretentious.

Mary

295 reviews

August 1, 2022

I must confess that this is the first book by James Patterson that I have read. And it also will be the last.

Jennifer Brown

2,496 reviews80 followers

July 23, 2022

Interesting stories from a famed writer. I listened to this and at first thought I wouldn't like it because Patterson narrates it himself, but his way of story telling grew on me. This was actually the perfect book to listen to in my car because (in true Patterson fashion) each story was a short chapter so it didn't matter how far or how long my trip was, I could stop at a finished short story/chapter. I learned quite a bit about Jim and why he writes the way he does. I think it's nice that he helps getting other writer's names out there. He is a true book lover and one that helps others!

May

819 reviews99 followers

September 3, 2022

This was great fun! Short chapters, quick stories, easy back and forth made this a delightful insight into one of my favorite authors.
Meanwhile, I have always had mixed feelings about well-known writers using “co-writers”. I wonder how much the seasoned author is actually writing??? James Patterson answers / explains his relationship with “co-authors” quite clearly. I have enjoyed some of these partnerships, but certainly not all.
That said, Jim, and Sue, are people I think I would enjoy sharing cup of coffee with.

Laura Wonderchick

1,416 reviews157 followers

June 22, 2022

This was one of the most entertaining books I’ve read this year! So many funny anecdotes and insight into who JP is and how he came to be. Memoirs can be dry sometimes but this one wasn’t

Sean Loughran

209 reviews34 followers

June 19, 2022

When I heard of James' memoir, I was curious. As a man who takes up so much shelf space and always seems to have a book at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, I wanted to know more about him. And as a writer myself, I was hoping for some insight into Patterson's writing process. How does an author turn out so many great books in such a short amount of time?

I'm also drawn to memoirs, stories about the lives of others, especially in the celebrity category.

James starts out with tales of his time at McLean hospital — well known for housing patients like James Taylor, Robert Lowell, and Susanna Kaysen. Having read and watched Girl, Interrupted, I'm well aware of Susanna's story. I found it interesting hearing of his time at McLean, and also how he started reading while working there. He talks of the books he read on the ward, the ones that inspired his writing in his early years — Mrs. Bridge and Mr Bridge by Evan S. Connell. Also, Jerry Kosinski's Steps and The Painted Bird.

He continues to reflect on his youth and upbringing in Newburgh, which felt quite charming. He attended Manhattan College with a full scholarship. Eventually, he attended Vanderbilt and studied English before getting a copywriting gig at J. Walter Thompson in New York, an advertising agency.

James began work on his first novel early in the morning before his Man Men job. Although starting in a low position, he worked his way up to CEO at Thompson North America while continuing to work on his novels morning and late into the night.

I was surprised by how short and snappy the chapters were, each one telling a tale from some part of James' life. I found him to be very funny. He did jump around a lot, from moment to moment, year to year. It did feel a bit manic at times. He explains that his brain moves faster than his pencil.

Almost right away, I took a liking to Patterson, exuding a warm and welcoming feeling from the book. His prose is quite conversational and casual. Humbling, and down to earth. I can definitely see the appeal with James' writing and why he's so popular. Whether he approaches his fiction the same way, I'm not sure. But he's a wonderful writer, and able to connect very well with the reader.

His memoir is rich with humanity, beautifully written, and is an absolute stand out from the crowd. I moved through it at a rapid speed, and with each turn of the page I felt like I was getting to know James on a deeper level. I never knew what the next page would have in store for me.

To conclude, Patterson has had an incredible amount of successes, and has so many wonderful stories to share. I loved that Norman Mailer and James Baldwin made an appearance in the book. Imagining a young twenty-six-year-old James at his first literary event attended by those two made me feel all kinds of emotions.

James has lived such a splendid life to date. I definitely recommend picking up a copy of this, another five start read from me. It was absolutely fantastic. Finishing his memoir, James closes it out with, “like a lot of things in this crazy world, I find it more than a little funny, and also a little sad, that I’m the bestselling writer in the world.”.

Avocado Diaries

Jen (Finally changed her GR pic)

2,979 reviews27 followers

September 9, 2022

This was actually quite good. Took me a bit to warm up to his voice, but it wasn’t bad after I got used to it. He has a LOT of stories and a good sense of humor. It was nice, like chilling with a friend over a beverage of choice and just talking. He’s had some life. I admit, I’m not fond of his writing, but I met him at a signing and he was SO NICE. I will sell his books any day of the week, even if I don’t like them, just because he is such a good and sweet person.

4, better than I expected it to be, stars.

My thanks to Hachette Audio and libro.fm for an audio ARC of this book to listen to and review.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.

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Zoe

1 review

June 21, 2022

bad. save yourself some time

Gail

1,485 reviews

July 2, 2022

I thought I would like this book but very boring to me.

Diana Parker

405 reviews6 followers

October 17, 2022

All of the reasons I love James Patterson came through in this book. It is a selection of stories about his life and it is perfectly written. Very fast read!!

Christine

184 reviews102 followers

April 10, 2023

Funny, insightful, and immensely profound in places.

Additional thoughts soon.

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Scott

506 reviews50 followers

July 31, 2022

Let me be honest up front. I read most of James Patterson’s books and have for several years. Some might ask why and that’s another whole discussion best saved for another day. I have really enjoyed some, liked some, and didn’t really care for others. For the most part, I treat them like mind candy and don’t consider them to be too memorable. However, once in a while I am pleasantly surprised with a gem that shines and blesses my escape from the real world time.

Now, in 2022, author of the bestselling Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, and Michael Bennett mystery series has (finally) published a non-fictional book of memoirs that reflect his love of telling stories, appropriately titled “The Stories of My Life - James Patterson”. Please be forewarned though. Although it is autobiographical, it is not your normal cohesive and chronologically shared story of his life. Told in his choice of style, it is a collection of personal stories, some connected, and others not, from key and influential moments in his life, reflecting defining moments, key experiences and relationships, and some just really interesting behind the scenes reflections from the world’s most popular author.

There were many things to like about this book, one that diverges dramatically from his usual fictional thrillers that move at breakneck speed and contain surprises throughout. What struck me most was the authentic open-book honesty that Patterson shared in revealing his personal stories, views, and values with us. As the wizard of his life, he really let us step behind the big curtain and revealed more than I thought he would. He shared his early years in high school and college that led to his wanting to be a published author, his years in the advertising industry during the Mad Men years, and becoming a successful author. I especially appreciated the stories that involved fellow writers like Robert B. Parker, John Grisham, and Stephen King. I was also deeply touched by his relationship with his first wife, Jane, and her medical challenges. Those chapters were some of his best writings ever. Ever.

However, as much as I enjoyed reading this book (and trust me I easily devoured it in on a Friday night and Saturday morning) there were some things missing that I wanted to know more about, particularly about his writing and publishing career and success. I wished that he had described more about how Alex Cross and his other major series were created. He did say that Alex started out as a female named Alexis, but that wasn’t working. I wanted to know more about how his writing style evolved, his climb up the bestseller charts, his outlining methodology, and how he and his co-writers work on character development in his various series. But that was not the focus of this book. His stories touched less on his writing, characters, and the organic process of his co-writing, and more on about his family, friends, growing up, his early advertising career, and unique experiences that come with being a popular bestselling author.

I think the best way to address the writing and publishing angle is for James Patterson to write another book – this time on writing, his publishing experience, and how each of his various series have evolved and developed over time. Just like Stephen King’s book “On Writing” Patterson could add his thoughts on writing and the lessons he’s learned during his outstanding career. It would be an awesome read and would go well with his memoirs.

Overall, this was a more personal reading experience than I expected. I felt like Patterson was sitting across the table, looking me in the eyes, and trying to help give me life advice by reflecting on important moments and experiences in his life, as well as valuable lessons he wanted to pass on. He could have held back and not fully shared as much as he did, but I give him credit for giving it his best shot. His passion for getting the younger generation to read and current concerns about the issues hurting our country were strongly delivered (as well as some milk box pontificating, but that’s okay). It was real, revealing, and left me reflecting on my own goals, accomplishments, and legacy that I am creating for myself and my family.

Thank you, James Patterson. Or as Dolly says, thank you Jimmy James!

Karschtl

2,228 reviews57 followers

November 17, 2022

I first came into contact with James Patterson in 1997 when I watched "Kiss the girls" in the cinema and soon afterwards also read the book. I was immediatly hooked, and have read several James Patterson books since then. Although not nearly all, and after seeing how many he has published over the years this seems impossible. I knew he writes and co-authors a lot of books, but I wasn't aware that there are sooo many books out with his name on the cover, and in many different genres nonetheless.

In this book James Patterson does what the titel says - he tells stories of his life. Many of them. As usual presented in short chapters or sometimes they are even only a nugget of information in a short pararaph before he skips to a different anecdote. And he really has a lot to tell. From his days as a long-haired hippie at Woodstock (!!) to his career as a mad men in 'advertising hell' (his words) to becoming on of the most bestselling authors of the last 30 years.

There are some interesting stories in there, for example how Donald Trump and Bill Clinton enjoyed playing golf and got along just fine - before Trump ran for president himself.
Or some funny ones, how he went to a book-signing, and the people from the bookstore were very excited and happy that he was there and prepared a big table with 200 books ready to sign - all of them by author Richard North Patterson. But he signed the books anyway.
But also some sad ones, for example how he lost his first life-partner to cancer.
He also explains why he always writes very short chapters, how he manages it to publish so many books year after year (one reason is because he writes about 350-360 days a year) and how his co-writing with other authors actually works.

    biography non-fiction read-in-2022

Elainedav

172 reviews12 followers

February 13, 2022

I've read many books by James Patterson over the years and thought his autobiography or memoir would be fascinating. It is, but I also thought it was a little bit short. It's written in his usual style of short paragraphs which appear almost to be spoken. I really enjoy this style in his novels as you can fit in a chapter here and there even if you're short of time. But I think it works less well in a memoir - I wanted more detail!

The whole book is interesting. I had no idea about his early years or the fact that he originally worked in marketing. But what I liked best were all the pieces about reading and writing. He explains his process and format and how he collaborates with other authors. He talks throughout about the importance of reading and his frustration about poor literacy levels in the USA. My most favourite chapter of all is one where he lists the books which have been most important to him (I love this) and he sums it up by saying:
'...I read alot, and I really like books. But especially the ones that are dog-eared, beat-up and look well loved and well read.'
I couldn't agree more and how wonderful to perceive a writer as a reader - to me this is something which many people keep private and do not share.

Highly recommended. I wish it was longer - I am sure there was more to say on all the good charity work and work to encourage children's literacy that he has done over the years both at home and internationally.

Thank you to NetGalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My L… (2024)
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