The Time of My Life – Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi

Patrick Swayze was a very likeable screen presence, big screen or little.  His acting ability is up for debate but he was certainly a commanding presence in some very good movies.

It saddened me when he died of pancreatic cancer at 57 earlier this year.  So I couldn’t resist his autobiography, just to see what was behind the athletic soul I’d seen on screen so many times.

This book was either written in a huge hurry (understandable) or Swayze and his wife of 30+ years simply weren’t very good with prose because it reads as if it was written by a child.  Swayze’s life was certainly filled with disappointments and some of the dramatic human moments that can make a memoir compelling but it all reads like a flatline on a graph instead of having peaks and valleys. There’s no emotional component to the experience of reading it, despite there being several deeply emotional situations.  It’s all surface skimming with no depth.  On the upside, it can be consumed at a lightening-fast clip.

Patrick Swayze did have an interesting life and he tells a few revealing insider stories about the filming of Dirty Dancing and Ghost.  He also reveals a couple of surprising personal tidbits that were somehow kept secret, despite the tabloid frenzy around him.  I’m glad I read it.  But it’s like cotton candy melting in your mouth, which is fine, unless you’re expecting to chew on a satisfying steak dinner.