In 1984 I watched a movie called Red Dawn starring Patrick Swayze and I developed an instant crush. Three years later came Dirty Dancing and my crush turned to full on LUST! Patrick Swayze was the sexiest man alive as far as I was concerned. I've lost count as to how many times I've seen that movie, not to mention how many times I wished I could be Jennifer Grey for five minutes! When I heard about his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, I was heartbroken. Having lost a friend to this brutal form of cancer very quickly, I understood immediately how bad this was.
I knew he and wife, Lisa Niemi were in the process of writing a book about his life and I decided when I discovered Patrick himself would be narrating the audio version, that's what I wanted. I'm not a big audiobook user, but in this case, for me, it was the only way to experience this book. And I'm so glad I did. Having Patrick narrate this book makes it a more intimate and personal experience because you feel like he's talking directly to you. Obviously, you lose the benefit of any photos in the book, but that isn't a big deal for me. Even during some really bad days while recording this book, his voice is even, strong and sexy as ever.
The start of The Time of My Life is Patrick explaining how he came to realize something was not right with his health and how it changed his life. Then, it's Lisa's turn to explain how that realization effected her. I believe, in the printed version, that is the prologue.
Patrick then starts telling his story from 1970 when he was a high school athlete, dancer and gymnast. He chronicles his career and personal accomplishments he and Lisa shared along with some really tough times in his personal life. It becomes obvious pretty early on how fierce his competitive nature was and how much he loved striving to be the best at whatever he put his mind to. But it was also clear that dancing was his first love. With a mother like Patsy Swayze, a very respected dancer, choreographer and teacher, it was inevitable he become an accomplished dancer in his own rite.
Although I've read a few reviews that felt the book is more of a rundown of his movie career than the story of his life, I feel differently. It's quite clear that for Patrick and Lisa, their movies and dancing were their life. They worked hard as a team on every endeavor they attempted and they gave each project 110 percent. This book shows that Patrick lived an extremely full life doing exactly the things he loved to do. He did have passions other than acting and dancing as well. He also loved horses and flying airplanes and therefore became an accomplished rider and pilot.
If there is one message that I will take away from this book, it is to live life to the fullest each and every day. That's what Patrick did. He wasn't afraid to tackle anything. He had incredible drive and it's that drive that enabled him to fight pancreatic cancer as hard as he did.
This book was very inspirational and interesting and I recommend it for fans of Patrick Swayze. In fact, if you get the chance to listen to the audio book, it will be even better, hearing Patrick in his own words and voice.
THE TIME OF MY LIFE (Audiobook)
Author: Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: September 29, 2009
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars