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We plan, as the old proverb says, and God laughs. But most of us don't find it all that funny when things go wrong. Most of us want love, a nice home, good work, and happy children. Many of us grew up with parents who made these things look relatively easy and assumed we would get them, too. So what do you do if you don't? What do you do when you feel you've messed it all We plan, as the old proverb says, and God laughs. But most of us don't find it all that funny when things go wrong. Most of us want love, a nice home, good work, and happy children. Many of us grew up with parents who made these things look relatively easy and assumed we would get them, too. So what do you do if you don't? What do you do when you feel you've messed it all up and your friends seem to be doing just fine? For Christina Patterson, it was her job as a journalist that kept her going through the ups and downs of life. And then she lost that, too. Dreaming of revenge and irritated by self-help books, she decided to do the kind of interviews she had never done before. The resulting conversations are surprising, touching and often funny. There's Ken, the first person to be publicly fired from a FTSE-100 board. There's Winston, who fell through a ceiling onto a purple coffin. There's Louise, whose baby was seriously ill, but who still worried about being fat. And through it all, there's Christina, eating far too many crisps as she tries to pick up the pieces of her life. 'The Art of Not Falling Apart' is a joyous, moving and sometimes shockingly honest celebration of life as an adventure, one where you ditch your expectations, raise a glass and prepare for a rocky ride.


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We plan, as the old proverb says, and God laughs. But most of us don't find it all that funny when things go wrong. Most of us want love, a nice home, good work, and happy children. Many of us grew up with parents who made these things look relatively easy and assumed we would get them, too. So what do you do if you don't? What do you do when you feel you've messed it all We plan, as the old proverb says, and God laughs. But most of us don't find it all that funny when things go wrong. Most of us want love, a nice home, good work, and happy children. Many of us grew up with parents who made these things look relatively easy and assumed we would get them, too. So what do you do if you don't? What do you do when you feel you've messed it all up and your friends seem to be doing just fine? For Christina Patterson, it was her job as a journalist that kept her going through the ups and downs of life. And then she lost that, too. Dreaming of revenge and irritated by self-help books, she decided to do the kind of interviews she had never done before. The resulting conversations are surprising, touching and often funny. There's Ken, the first person to be publicly fired from a FTSE-100 board. There's Winston, who fell through a ceiling onto a purple coffin. There's Louise, whose baby was seriously ill, but who still worried about being fat. And through it all, there's Christina, eating far too many crisps as she tries to pick up the pieces of her life. 'The Art of Not Falling Apart' is a joyous, moving and sometimes shockingly honest celebration of life as an adventure, one where you ditch your expectations, raise a glass and prepare for a rocky ride.

30 review for The Art of Not Falling Apart

  1. 4 out of 5

    Orláith

    The Art of Not Falling Apart by Christina Patterson should be required reading for anyone tempted to do just that, to give up.  While I easily could have devoured this book in one sitting I chose to read it in chunks over the course of a few days to better make it last.  The author's style of writing is wonderful. I've found a lot of books proclaiming to be similar to TAoNFA tend toward the pompous but when reading this book I felt the author talking to me. In reading her words we became friends.  The Art of Not Falling Apart by Christina Patterson should be required reading for anyone tempted to do just that, to give up.  While I easily could have devoured this book in one sitting I chose to read it in chunks over the course of a few days to better make it last.  The author's style of writing is wonderful. I've found a lot of books proclaiming to be similar to TAoNFA tend toward the pompous but when reading this book I felt the author talking to me. In reading her words we became friends.  While not every passage was relevant to me, I enjoyed each and every one of them.  I can honestly see this book being picked up again and again, just to remind myself of the art of holding on, of not giving up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    B.

    I choose this book, I will admit, purely based on the title. I felt like falling apart when I did not get the job I prepared for over two months for (failing the interview score by one stupid point) and did not get the flat I wanted because it turned out not to be as splendid as I thought and could have been a potential waste of money. So the new life I was wrapping up for this new year came all crumbling down within the first month. I was tired, I was hurt, I needed something to cheer me up, to I choose this book, I will admit, purely based on the title. I felt like falling apart when I did not get the job I prepared for over two months for (failing the interview score by one stupid point) and did not get the flat I wanted because it turned out not to be as splendid as I thought and could have been a potential waste of money. So the new life I was wrapping up for this new year came all crumbling down within the first month. I was tired, I was hurt, I needed something to cheer me up, to help me see things from another perspective. I wanted a self book that wasn't a self book. So thank you Christina Patterson because your book did exactly what I needed. Thank you for sharing your story and your friend's stories and for giving them a voice on how they managed to get through all the crap life decided to threw at them. This book definitely put a smile on my face, made me teary eyed a couple of times and help me realised that what I do is enough. "Almost every night of my life, I have gone to bed asking myself what I've achieved and concluding that it isn't enough. I'm beginning to learn that it is sometimes OK just to say: I had a nice day."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Syazwanie Winston Abdullah

    Disclaimer : I received this copy from Pansing in exchange for my honest review. I have never liked reading autobiographies or memoirs. And this book reinstated my believe 😂 It started out great. The first few chapters were funny, quirky and witty. I felt connected with Christina. But past those chapters, she was just rambling on. Reminiscing about the good old days. What has been, what could be and what ifs. The only thing that kept my attention were the books and authors she mentioned. An insight Disclaimer : I received this copy from Pansing in exchange for my honest review. I have never liked reading autobiographies or memoirs. And this book reinstated my believe 😂 It started out great. The first few chapters were funny, quirky and witty. I felt connected with Christina. But past those chapters, she was just rambling on. Reminiscing about the good old days. What has been, what could be and what ifs. The only thing that kept my attention were the books and authors she mentioned. An insight on the authors life we rarely know. Apart from that, I do not see this book fulfilling the promise of its title. These were her own personal experiences (yes, it's her memoir indeed) but heck, it started out so good but somewhere, somehow, the writing got lost in the author's own fascination with her words. To quote Stephen King from his book "On Writing" which goes "In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it 'got boring,' the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling." unquote.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emilie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. CP writes about wonderful people and their ordinary/extraordinary life stories of hardship and pain and Human Nature, but the format doesn't work for me. Had to stop after the 43th occurrence of 'I was sitting in my beautiful, successful and resilient friend Dora or Maura or Nora's massive kitchen in her Islington/Stoke Newington/Highgate converted-church flat, eating crisps. "Poetry is hard", she told me.' CP writes about wonderful people and their ordinary/extraordinary life stories of hardship and pain and Human Nature, but the format doesn't work for me. Had to stop after the 43th occurrence of 'I was sitting in my beautiful, successful and resilient friend Dora or Maura or Nora's massive kitchen in her Islington/Stoke Newington/Highgate converted-church flat, eating crisps. "Poetry is hard", she told me.'

  5. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hepworth

    Freud referred to love and work as “the cornerstones of our humanness” and although Christina Patterson’s search for love was leaving something to be desired, at least she felt that her love of her job was keeping her going through life’s ups and downs. However, when the editor of The Independent, the paper she had worked for for ten years, informed her that he had decided to “freshen the pages up” and was making her redundant, she was suddenly faced with the loss of one of those cornerstones, o Freud referred to love and work as “the cornerstones of our humanness” and although Christina Patterson’s search for love was leaving something to be desired, at least she felt that her love of her job was keeping her going through life’s ups and downs. However, when the editor of The Independent, the paper she had worked for for ten years, informed her that he had decided to “freshen the pages up” and was making her redundant, she was suddenly faced with the loss of one of those cornerstones, one she had spent her whole working life building up. Fearful about what her future held, struggling with the profoundly undermining nature of rejection, she nevertheless found the inner resources to embark on this book. It is a story which intertwines the experiences of others with her own as she explores the nature of loss, disappointment and resilience, in their many varied forms, and examines the various ways in which people find it possible to move forward from personal crises. This searingly honest and moving book comprises a series of conversations Christina had with people in her life who had faced hardship in one form or another. It soon becomes very clear that one of the reasons people were enabled to open up to her with such honesty was because of the perceptive empathy she demonstrated in her interactions with them. I was a subscriber to The Independent during the period when Christina was writing her columns and was always eager to read her thought-provoking, sensitive and, at their very heart deeply humane, reflections on a wide range of topics. When those columns ended so abruptly I felt a real sense of loss, as well as a belief that the paper had lost someone, and something, essentially important. However, whilst reading this book, I became aware that the author, however painful and upsetting her brutal dismissal, has lost none of her skills in getting to the heart of the matter in her writing. She manages to convey a belief that the troughs of life’s experiences can be climbed out of, however bleak it may feel when down in their depths – nevertheless, whilst you are in them it’s some comfort to discover that friends, food, crisps and wine can make the troughs feel infinitely more tolerable and survivable! She achieves this without any sense of dismissing the pain of difficult experiences but rather with the supportive message that it really is worth hanging on to hope. What a roller-coaster of a ride this book took me and my emotions on: one moment I was laughing out loud at some of the hilarious situations described, then I’d find myself suddenly moved to tears by the poignant, heart-breaking nature of some of the life-stories which emerged. I also found myself feeling angry about the lack of humanity shown by so many organisations when it comes to making people redundant. “Streamlining” may well make sense in economic and efficiency terms, but all too often takes no account of the level of human misery, even despair, which can result – I think that if The Independent still existed in print form, having read this powerful and moving book, I would have been cancelling my subscription! However, I do believe that the author has demonstrated that she has emerged stronger than ever and that, to paraphrase part of her Frieda Hughes quote, she has absolutely “done her best with the tools she had to hand.” It was a joy to be reminded of just how perceptive, incisive and sensitive a writer Christina Patterson is, and how elegant and engaging her prose always is. This is not a “preachy self-help” book but it is one which will make anyone struggling with loss, stress, a sense of failure and lack of self-worth feel rather less isolated, able to start to believe that there can be a better future. My thanks to Real Readers and Atlantic Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Helen Elgin

    Wow. Just wow. An utterly unflinching and powerful book. Lol’d and wept. Thank you, Christina Patterson.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Purple

    'I have never had a heart attack, but I think I now have some idea what it’s like. For days after I walked out of that office on Kensington High Street, I felt as if I had something crouching on my chest.' Christina Patterson's wonderful book starts its first chapter, entitled 'Kafka, eat your heart out' with the loss of her job. Christina Patterson is one of my dearest friends - that's the disclaimer. It's not the reason I loved this book and read it in one sitting. She's an excellent writer and 'I have never had a heart attack, but I think I now have some idea what it’s like. For days after I walked out of that office on Kensington High Street, I felt as if I had something crouching on my chest.' Christina Patterson's wonderful book starts its first chapter, entitled 'Kafka, eat your heart out' with the loss of her job. Christina Patterson is one of my dearest friends - that's the disclaimer. It's not the reason I loved this book and read it in one sitting. She's an excellent writer and her book is gripping and searingly honest. It covers a couple of years in the life of Christina and it weaves in other people's stories with her own on dealing with disappointment - and yes, on one level it's about resilience in the face of loss but it's really about the human condition and how to live life. It's original and funny and poignant and clever. It's somehow more than the sum of its parts - the different stories and approaches. I feel enriched to have read it. Later in the book Christina writes 'Books have taught me that you are never in a place that someone hasn't been in before.' This book did that for me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amie Sutcliffe

    Whilst the author is a clearly skilled writer, this felt to me very much like reading a series of columns from a newspaper on “bad things that myself and people I know have survived that I will write about vaguely”. I don’t think Patterson has adopted her style well enough to translate into an enjoyable book, there is no flow and the lack of linear structure makes it difficult to see her point at times. And don’t get me started on the crisps. The best I could garner from it was that she reiterat Whilst the author is a clearly skilled writer, this felt to me very much like reading a series of columns from a newspaper on “bad things that myself and people I know have survived that I will write about vaguely”. I don’t think Patterson has adopted her style well enough to translate into an enjoyable book, there is no flow and the lack of linear structure makes it difficult to see her point at times. And don’t get me started on the crisps. The best I could garner from it was that she reiterated the ideas in life that have kept her and most people going; good friends, working hard at your own happiness, and not giving up. She has intended to write a book to help people in hard times that is not in the style of a traditional self help book; a premise which I do admire. Not the type of book I would normally read, and a story I couldn’t relate or identify to, because there was no story. I’m sure it will be someone else’s cup of tea, but I can’t help feel if she wasn’t already a famous journalist and had gone through some seriously bad life events, no one would have noticed this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Angela L

    I approached this with high expectations and, whilst there are some wonderfully moving stories within, came away slightly disppaointed. For me it was just a little too disjointed. A lot of the personal stories were referred to piecemeal in multiple chapters and that meant that, for me, they lost a little of their impact. I would have preferred a start and end to each tale without lots of “more about that later” as that would have made it a more coherent read for me. Make no mistake though, there ar I approached this with high expectations and, whilst there are some wonderfully moving stories within, came away slightly disppaointed. For me it was just a little too disjointed. A lot of the personal stories were referred to piecemeal in multiple chapters and that meant that, for me, they lost a little of their impact. I would have preferred a start and end to each tale without lots of “more about that later” as that would have made it a more coherent read for me. Make no mistake though, there are plenty of stories and examples of the kind of sh*t (challenges) that life can throw at people and some of the sheer resilience shown is pretty darned humbling. Death, disease and depression are amongst many issues tackled yet the book is overwhelmingly positive and testament to the old adage of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Woods

    Started well. Went on too long

  11. 5 out of 5

    Geraldine

    I wasn't sure about this book to start with. It starts basically with the writer being summarily sacked from her senior job on the Independent newspaper. I thought initially she would be 'Glenda Slag', smug, superior, entitled and bubble-living. But, you know what, she, and this book, were the polar opposite. She spent very little time in the book wallowing in self pity, although she did acknowledge how miserable, frightened and alone she felt. But then she spent a lot of time interviewing people I wasn't sure about this book to start with. It starts basically with the writer being summarily sacked from her senior job on the Independent newspaper. I thought initially she would be 'Glenda Slag', smug, superior, entitled and bubble-living. But, you know what, she, and this book, were the polar opposite. She spent very little time in the book wallowing in self pity, although she did acknowledge how miserable, frightened and alone she felt. But then she spent a lot of time interviewing people who had experienced and were living with setbacks, trauma and life's bad luck. A lesser writer could have made this pious and sanctimonious, and full of banal platitudes. She didn't. She also didn't quite use my philosophy that 'people are amazing the way they rise to any challenge that is thrown at them'. But she demonstrates this by vignettes and snippets from the lives of others, handled sensitively. She comes over as thoughtful, and states that she was brought up to believe that the most important thing is to consider other people. That doesn't make her a doormat: she's highly intelligent, very well read and knowledgeable, but does not feel any need to hammer this home, in the way that many (actually not so very intelligent eg Boris Johnson-type person) others do. It isn't really a self-help book, and I don't think she set put deliberately to be uplifting, but I think it does that by shining the light on the ordinary lives of ordinary people, and I think the book is strengthening and supportive. Self help without New Age wanky woo.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Janet Camilleri

    How do people cope and keep going when life throws them a curve ball? Christina begins by talking about the pain of being made redundant from a job she loved - before going on to share her own story of "losing her religion" - both topics I personally identified with. Throughout the book she talks about chronic pain, illness, disability, divorce, singleness, abuse, serious accidents, death, infertility, poverty, and the million and one other things that bring us down - and how she, and the others How do people cope and keep going when life throws them a curve ball? Christina begins by talking about the pain of being made redundant from a job she loved - before going on to share her own story of "losing her religion" - both topics I personally identified with. Throughout the book she talks about chronic pain, illness, disability, divorce, singleness, abuse, serious accidents, death, infertility, poverty, and the million and one other things that bring us down - and how she, and the others she spoke to, managed to get through each day and even remain positive, warm people. We've all been through "stuff"; it's reassuring to know we are not alone, and to learn how others have not just survived, but thrived.

  13. 5 out of 5

    David Thomas

    A fabulous, gently moving, calmly uplifting pantheon to life. I cried softly throughout. The author acknowledges that awful things are indeed awful, and offers no promises of quick fixes or complete solutions. Just a small nudge in the direction of understanding. Good things exist, amongst the wreckage, and our wreckage isn't that uncommon, or that extreme. A very personal, warm memoir filled with vignettes of other's lives too, this book is startling in its sustained ability to make my eyes moi A fabulous, gently moving, calmly uplifting pantheon to life. I cried softly throughout. The author acknowledges that awful things are indeed awful, and offers no promises of quick fixes or complete solutions. Just a small nudge in the direction of understanding. Good things exist, amongst the wreckage, and our wreckage isn't that uncommon, or that extreme. A very personal, warm memoir filled with vignettes of other's lives too, this book is startling in its sustained ability to make my eyes moist, without noticing, or always knowing why exactly. I loved it. I cried for the awful trials people face, and I cried for how they faced them, I cried when they somehow managed, and cried when they couldn't. I cried when others stepped in to help lift the burden, I cried at the good times that come through, too. I will never see the word 'typist' again, without a lump in my throat, and I will always pause to notice and savour the small but precious glory of the first sip of the first coffee every single day. Thank you Christina Patterson for this special book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rhio

    I have read lots of books and this is one book that kept me hooked until the end. There are a number of reasons why I could not put it down: first, I could relate to the emotions that surrounded each situation the author narrated; second, the way the author told her pieces was so engaging; and lastly, the tales are real and so honest. Patterson articulated truth about life, death, family, women, career and love in a very realistic way, and subtly gave advice on how not to fall apart in difficult I have read lots of books and this is one book that kept me hooked until the end. There are a number of reasons why I could not put it down: first, I could relate to the emotions that surrounded each situation the author narrated; second, the way the author told her pieces was so engaging; and lastly, the tales are real and so honest. Patterson articulated truth about life, death, family, women, career and love in a very realistic way, and subtly gave advice on how not to fall apart in difficult moments. Needless to say, this book brought back memories of lovely London, a place with a special spot in my heart. 🥰

  15. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Burt

    3.5 stars I picked this up completely on a whim whilst browsing in the library. I don't agree with everything she says, but it is well written and an easy read if a bit depressing at times. It is not just about her losing her job and having to make her way in the world of freelance journalism. She deals with the subject of keeping it together when life throws you a curveball either from illness, bereavement or other more mundane sources. She gives examples from her own life, her friends and other 3.5 stars I picked this up completely on a whim whilst browsing in the library. I don't agree with everything she says, but it is well written and an easy read if a bit depressing at times. It is not just about her losing her job and having to make her way in the world of freelance journalism. She deals with the subject of keeping it together when life throws you a curveball either from illness, bereavement or other more mundane sources. She gives examples from her own life, her friends and other folks she has interviewed over the years.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    This was written really nicely, it was easy to follow. It had some valuable points but some of it was a bit boring. "People don't talk all that much about quiet courage. They don't think that navigating the world on your own needs courage." This was written really nicely, it was easy to follow. It had some valuable points but some of it was a bit boring. "People don't talk all that much about quiet courage. They don't think that navigating the world on your own needs courage."

  17. 5 out of 5

    S D

    I really enjoyed hearing about different people's obstacles and experiences. Quite uplifting and well worth a look. Nicely written. I really enjoyed hearing about different people's obstacles and experiences. Quite uplifting and well worth a look. Nicely written.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Isla Scott

    I found this to be an insightful read. It was both sobering and quite amusing at different times. I could relate to the authors enthusiasm for journalism, as its a line of work thats interested me personally, although with me having social anxiety I accept its not likely to be my calling but I felt I could imagine myself in the authors shoes somewhat. The book covers themes which are quite relatable to a number of people I'd imagine - mainly failure and also stress (which seems especially prevale I found this to be an insightful read. It was both sobering and quite amusing at different times. I could relate to the authors enthusiasm for journalism, as its a line of work thats interested me personally, although with me having social anxiety I accept its not likely to be my calling but I felt I could imagine myself in the authors shoes somewhat. The book covers themes which are quite relatable to a number of people I'd imagine - mainly failure and also stress (which seems especially prevalent in the journalism industry), plus more generally mental health and talk of how women who are childless are regarded in society, to name but a few. In that sense, it had a feel to me of being a book of its time. I liked the informal writing style - it sounds a bit like a friend talking you through everything. Parts of it read a bit like a long conversation and I enjoyed picturing said conversations with some people, both some relatively well known people but also colleagues and acquaintances of the author. As I read on, I found it to be quite touching and poignant. I expected it to focus a bit more specifically on the journalism side of the authors life, which it isn't entirely focussed on but the more I learnt about her and heard of both her and her relatives issues and backgrounds, the more I warmed to them and felt intrigued to keep reading and see what we (as the reader) would find out next. I'd say its fairly thought provoking at times, although some people may be a bit put off by the fact that it perhaps doesn't have an entirely clear plot direction as such, or whatever the non-fiction version of plot direction is!. It flows quite well and I managed to read just short of half of the book within one days worth of reading on and off, so it shouldn't take you too long to work your way through it. My only criticisms that I can think to note here would be that personally I would have liked a little more detail about the authors journalism career - its given in a sort of a drip drip fashion and also that perhaps a little more in the way of an obvious structure would have been nice, although there are specific chapter titles, which are a bit cryptic in terms of how their titled but once you've read them, they make sense. Also, on ocassion it did sound a little bit like the author was bragging, which was a bit off putting, although I feel it only fair to be clear that the author has clearly had a fair number of lows as well as a few semi-extravagant highs. Overall, I couldn't say it wasn't an interesting read that I didn't enjoy. I found it a fairly engrossing read and I'd recommend it on that basis.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dee

    An uplifting but not an 'aren't I wonderful' mini-memoir on coping with the things that life throws at you. Christina is one of my favourite media commentators and her book reflects her getting-on-with-it attitude. Highly recommended. An uplifting but not an 'aren't I wonderful' mini-memoir on coping with the things that life throws at you. Christina is one of my favourite media commentators and her book reflects her getting-on-with-it attitude. Highly recommended.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    In daily life we always have our day to day worries. Some of these we can worry too much in terms of our lives. We end up with anxiety/ depression and stress due to juggling our lives and our work. The author talks about dealing with major life events, losing a job. Being diagnosed with cancer and how her friends help her through situations though honesty rather than pity. Through history it also examines the life we are living in from western lives with mundane worries to those of Syrian refuge In daily life we always have our day to day worries. Some of these we can worry too much in terms of our lives. We end up with anxiety/ depression and stress due to juggling our lives and our work. The author talks about dealing with major life events, losing a job. Being diagnosed with cancer and how her friends help her through situations though honesty rather than pity. Through history it also examines the life we are living in from western lives with mundane worries to those of Syrian refugees who have dealt with adversity to come to the UK and try to pursue better lives. A thought provoking book in terms of searching for happiness as well as trying to hold things together when life has a tendency of trying to punch you in the face. It is about trying to bounce back rather than giving up and clinging on to the rope.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Apoorva

    A very smooth book portraying life as it is, with all it's ups and downs. A humble depiction of tumbling through life and finding balance. A pleasant and refreshing read. A very smooth book portraying life as it is, with all it's ups and downs. A humble depiction of tumbling through life and finding balance. A pleasant and refreshing read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Zora

    This book caught my attention when the author was interviewed, alongside Olivia Laing, on a recent Guardian book podcast about auto fiction. Now this book is clearly not auto fiction and shares little in common with Laing’s Crudo, which is magnificent. But in its own way it is pretty special. The immensely likeable author (I know why she has lots of friends ) using her own life, and those of others (mostly good friends, plus occasional semi famous people like Frieda Hughes, daughter of Ted and S This book caught my attention when the author was interviewed, alongside Olivia Laing, on a recent Guardian book podcast about auto fiction. Now this book is clearly not auto fiction and shares little in common with Laing’s Crudo, which is magnificent. But in its own way it is pretty special. The immensely likeable author (I know why she has lots of friends ) using her own life, and those of others (mostly good friends, plus occasional semi famous people like Frieda Hughes, daughter of Ted and Sylvia) contemplates what happens when Shit Happens. Rather than erecting borders between the single and the coupled, those who have spawned and those who haven’t, those who have money and those who do not, the healthy and the ill, the author instead celebrates humanity in its diversity, while also leaving room for ugly feelings. She is a long time journo and this book reads accordingly - ie it’s a fast, easy read rather than high literature. There is some unnecessary filler too but asked to identify which bits should go I could not say. Three stars is a bit miserly given the warm feelings and good companionship this book provided for a couple of days. Not my usual bag, but I am glad it crossed my path. Excuse the mixed metaphors etc.

  23. 5 out of 5

    caturix

    This wonderful non fiction read follows our author through the misogynistic and unfair media industry as a journalist. So for Christina Patterson, a former columnist at the Independent and Director of Poetry Society who writes about society, culture, politics, books and the arts as well as being shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2013 for her campaigning work to raise standards in nursing, takes us as readers on an honest and human trip of what kept her going through the ups and downs of life. This wonderful non fiction read follows our author through the misogynistic and unfair media industry as a journalist. So for Christina Patterson, a former columnist at the Independent and Director of Poetry Society who writes about society, culture, politics, books and the arts as well as being shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2013 for her campaigning work to raise standards in nursing, takes us as readers on an honest and human trip of what kept her going through the ups and downs of life. There’s a Woody Allen quote that goes if you want to make God laugh, then tell him your plans but it’s safe to say that most of us don’t find ordinary tragedies and struggles of every day as amusing as omniscient deities. Patterson’s writing is honest, to the point yet page turning. Her story that is in first person is an honest celebration of life as an adventure and the perfect advice to when it’s time to drop high expectations, worries and woes. A must read for those at the end of the nerves with life and its unfair nature ~ The Art of Not Falling Apart is a book everyone needs in their life and bookshelf.

  24. 5 out of 5

    buzylizzie

    This put me in mind of articles I have read in women's magazines about how people have faced adversity and come out of it stronger or wiser and made changes in their lives. These articles are supposed to be motivational but on the whole I suspect most readers are not inspired to take action, but find them fascinating reading because we are so interested in other people's lives. I don't think Christina Patterson is claiming to be inspirational but she has written an interesting book about survivi This put me in mind of articles I have read in women's magazines about how people have faced adversity and come out of it stronger or wiser and made changes in their lives. These articles are supposed to be motivational but on the whole I suspect most readers are not inspired to take action, but find them fascinating reading because we are so interested in other people's lives. I don't think Christina Patterson is claiming to be inspirational but she has written an interesting book about surviving difficult times as experienced by her or friends and interviewees. There are no startling insights, though she does reinforce some familiar ideas about what is important for happiness, including good friends (reminding us that friendship needs to be worked at), appreciating small pleasures, love and kindness, and finding fulfilling work that may not be our ideal but can help finance our real passions. The author is clearly no fan of self-help books but her writing may encourage us to take stock of our own lives and try to do better.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    Well worth a read if you are struggling in your life Really enjoyed this book – was not sure what to expect when I started reading it. It is certainly a book that many might find enjoyable in different ways even though there are some very sad tales from people in the authors life. She has met a wide variety of people (some she calls good friends) and she writes with a certain amount of humour about her own trials and tribulations. I had never read any of her articles or columns in the newspapers Well worth a read if you are struggling in your life Really enjoyed this book – was not sure what to expect when I started reading it. It is certainly a book that many might find enjoyable in different ways even though there are some very sad tales from people in the authors life. She has met a wide variety of people (some she calls good friends) and she writes with a certain amount of humour about her own trials and tribulations. I had never read any of her articles or columns in the newspapers that she had written for so I was coming at this with a neutral look. It is no way a self help book and Christina mentions on more that one occasion her slight disdain for these books! This book basically says that most people have gone through a variety of traumatic experiences in their life and they have found numerous ways to cope with these events. Would be very interested to see what Christina follows this book with as she is a very accomplished author.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Henderson

    An honest story of life through all the stages and challenges we face. From love and friends to grief and those sent to challenge us. Told by a journalist after losing her job. This is a series of conversations between the author and those she has met through her lives. It seems to cover most things though as the cover suggests it focusses mostly on the bad and how we cope. Some of the stories told are utterly heart breaking and the author herself has quite the tale. It was an interesting read t An honest story of life through all the stages and challenges we face. From love and friends to grief and those sent to challenge us. Told by a journalist after losing her job. This is a series of conversations between the author and those she has met through her lives. It seems to cover most things though as the cover suggests it focusses mostly on the bad and how we cope. Some of the stories told are utterly heart breaking and the author herself has quite the tale. It was an interesting read thought struggled a little with the layout and figuring who was talking at the time but I figured it out. Christina has led quite the life and this us a very raw and honest look at her own and her friends. I loved the ending and the positivity she shows despite all that happens. It had the potential to be utterly heart breaking but it wasn't.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Thomas

    Inspirational This book I found inspirational and thought-provoking, I read it at a reflective time in my own personal life. The subjects of which Christina Patterson talks about throughout the book, many resonated with me and gave me a new perspective on looking at things that I have recently been struggling with. This book is easy to read and entertaining. Christina and her friends and family share their stories in a way that feels as if they are sharing them with you the reader personally. Aft Inspirational This book I found inspirational and thought-provoking, I read it at a reflective time in my own personal life. The subjects of which Christina Patterson talks about throughout the book, many resonated with me and gave me a new perspective on looking at things that I have recently been struggling with. This book is easy to read and entertaining. Christina and her friends and family share their stories in a way that feels as if they are sharing them with you the reader personally. After reading the first impression I wasn't quite sure what to expect but was intrigued. This book didn't disappoint. It is a book that you could sit and read all in one sitting but would also be easy to keep leaving and picking up. I will be going back to this whenever I need to refresh my own thinking.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Foster

    Really enjoyable and relatable read It was interesting to relate so strongly to a book and hear my own thoughts through the voice of another. The book allowed me to indulge some of my own (often negative) emotions and also I found it uplifting and inspiring. I have recommended it to most of my female friends.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chrys

    A really interesting read, I really liked the overall message of this - it was very inspiring to read about how other people have dealt with trauma in their lives. Finding positivity and beauty in the everyday makes the journey forward a more rewarding experience. Some great insights and eye-opening experiences.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    When Life doesn’t go according to plan, what do you do? You just get on with it. A thoroughly enjoyable and moving account of resilience in the face of illness, divorce, unemployment, death, heartbreak, and so on. And the importance of family, friends, love, laughter, celebration, and crisps. 4/5 stars.

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