Book Review: The Time of My Life - Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi
In January 2008 Patrick Swayze received the news that what he thought had just been stomach problems were in fact advanced pancreatic cancer. For some that sort of news would have destroyed them but for Swayze it was another battle he faced having faced many in his life. And battle is what he did in the full view of the press as he continued to work whilst receiving treatment for the condition. And if battling cancer with the press covering how you looked Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi set about writing his memoir "The Time of My Life" which he completed just a couple of weeks before he lost his battle on the 14th September 2009.
Born in 1952 to dance teacher Patsy it is little surprise that during his childhood Swayze took an interest in dancing, training at his mother's dance school where in later life he would meet his future wife Lisa. But dancing was not Swayze's only interest and he was talented sportsman playing American Football for his High School. But any ambitions of a career as a professional were cut short when he suffered a serious knee injury during a game, an injury which would end up curbing his enthusiasm for gymnastics as well as dance.
But those professions' loss was our gain as it was because of the injury limiting his love of dancing and sport that Swayze entered the world of movies. Now a lot of "The Time of My Life" is dedicated to Swayze's career in front of the camera as he talks warmly about many of the movies he made as well as the people he worked with. But he is very open about his own acting ability and whilst he mentions that he faced another battle to be taken seriously as an actor rather than a dancer who acts he also knew his own limitations although didn't let them stop him from trying to improve.
As you would expect from a memoir of a movie star he also talks about those he worked with such as Jennifer Grey and director Roland Joffé and you get a sense that all those things you read in the press over the years about disagreements and issues were far from the truth. You also learn some things which take you by surprise such as Patrick and Lisa's work behind the scenes to get scripts right. You get a very different picture of Swayze and one which whilst recognizable from the characters he played also had many other layers.
Of course "The Time of My Life" is not purely about Swayze's acting career and he touches on many personal subjects from the sad loss of his father which lead to not only a bout of depression but also a drinking problem. Whilst we also hear all about Patrick and Lisa's relationship from how they first met, to their shared passion for dancing as well as the ups and downs of life together.
All of which leads to the memoirs final chapter where Swayze focuses on the cancer and how he dealt with the treatments whilst still filming the TV series "The Beast". It is kind of unsurprising when you get a sense that Swayze loved and lived life to the full and never gave in to cancer, battling it right up until the last. It makes it all the more sad that whilst he battled on and completed the memoirs he passed away before their publication.
What this all boils down to is that "The Time of My Life" is a must read for those who are fans of Patrick Swayze and his movies as it is a touching and entertaining read which opens your eyes to the various battles he faced through out his life.