What do you do when you feel you've messed it all up and your friends seem to be doing just fine?
If you want to make God laugh, Woody Allen once said, tell God your plans. But most of us don't find it all that funny when things go wrong. Most of us want love. Most of us want a nice job, healthy children and a comfortable home. Many of us grew up with parents who made these things look relatively easy and assumed we would manage it, too. So what do you do if you don't? Or if you had some of these things and lost them? What do you do when you feel you've messed it all up and your friends seem to be doing just fine?
For the journalist Christina Patterson, it was her work as a writer and columnist on a national newspaper that kept her going through the ups and downs of life, health and mid-life dating. And then she lost that, too. Dreaming of revenge and irritated by self-help books, she decided to do the kind of interviews she'd never done before. After years of talking to famous people about their successes, she started to talk to people about their losses and disappointments and try to find out what had got them through.
The resulting conversations are surprising, touching and often funny. There's Ken, the first person to be publicly fired from the board of a FTSE-100 company. There's Winston, who fell through a ceiling and on to a purple coffin. There's Louise, whose baby died, 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.
Christina Patterson is a journalist and broadcaster. A former columnist at The Independent and Director of the Poetry Society, she now writes mostly for The Sunday Times and The Guardian.
Health & Fitness
Health & personal development