The Art of Not Falling Apart

When I lost my job, I dreamt of plunging my employers in burning oil. Instead, I wrote a book, The Art of Not Falling Apart. It’s a mix of memoir and interviews about how we cope when life goes wrong.

It was described by the Mail on Sunday as “a manual on how to survive in the 21st century” and by Robert Harris as “a kind of war reporter’s dispatches from the barricades of modern life”. It was a New Statesman Book of the Year, a Mail on Sunday Book of the Year, a Number 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in five categories and recommended self-isolation reading in The Guardian and the i. You can order it here.

Here are some other quotes about it:

“Patterson is a passionate, funny woman who refuses simply to struggle on. She believes in living,” Sunday Times 

“I’m in awe of the honesty and bravery”, Booker-prizewinner Bernardine Evaristo

“A beautifully written and uplifting memoir about love and loss – and finding the resolve to carry on,” Matthew Syed, The Times

“How does a person not fall apart when everything that matters to them is taken away? That’s the question Patterson poses in this wise, funny book. Part memoir, part psychological enquiry, she uses herself and her wide circle of friends as laboratory specimens to work out what stops people going under… Patterson invests her case histories with such intelligent passion and cracking candour that you feel as if you are listening to your cleverest, funniest and, above all, kindest friend. This is a manual on how to survive in the 21st century.” Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday

“Shames the sleek, smug lessons of the Lean In brigade by celebrating… the varied circumstances, uncertain fortunes and individual abilities that shape human effort,” TLS

“A tender, beautiful exploration of how we survive pressure, from a tender, beautiful writer,” Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections

“a surprisingly joyful book by a writer so good that the people who sacked her were clearly morons,” Allison Pearson, Sunday Telegraph

“Incredibly inspirational… a witty and beautifully written memoir,” Irish Times

“A very different kind of self-help book: witty, wise and wonderfully relatable,” The i

Watch this 3-minute film about The Art of Not Falling Apart, made by award-winning film director Randall Wright, with award-winning cinematographer Patrick Duval, and with music by the great John Harle.

The Art of Not Falling Apart is also available as an audiobook, from Whole Story Quest.

Outside, the Sky is Blue

When my brother died, very suddenly, I had to clear out his house. I had to sift through box after box of letters, papers, photos and belongings, not just of Tom’s, but of our parents and our older sister, Caroline.

Those boxes told the story of our family: of my sister’s mental illness, my brother’s struggles with anxiety and my own ups and downs, ranging from cancer to dramatic romantic failures. This makes it sound like a misery memoir, but I promise you, it isn’t! It will be out in February and has been selected by The Bookseller as their non-fiction Book of the Month. It has also been picked as a Times/Sunday Times Best Book of 2022. You can read The Bookseller‘s interview with me here and order the book here.

Here are some advance quotes:

“A memoir full of wit, wisdom, tenderness and heart. Deeply moving on the devastating impact of childhood schizophrenia on a family. Christina Patterson writes so beautifully, and with searing honesty. I loved this book.” Dr Rachel Clarke, author of Dear Life 

“She writes beautifully – crisp, yet emotional and page-turning. For me, it is something about her clarity and brutal honesty in describing both heartbreak and heart-bursting life and love. In the end it is only the love that matters. Her memoir will give hope to those that are suffering and cannot see the light.” Julia Samuel, author of Grief Works and This Too Shall Pass

“This is a joyful book. Despite the sorrows, there is a determined joy to this tale, a pattern of finding the good despite the bad, of turning to face the sun so the shadows fall behind. It’s a wonderful, heart-wrenching, compelling read.” Dr Kathryn Mannix, author of With the End in Mind

“This is a profound and beautiful memoir. Anyone who reads it will go on an extraordinary journey – you will learn about a remarkable individual, and also about our shared humanity.”  Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections

“Devastating, funny, wise, intimate and beautifully written. It’s filled with empathy and light. This is a handbook for loving and living fully. The writing shines, celebrating life without ever shying away from the sharpness of grief and pain. It’s truly life affirming, strengthening and hope filled. This book has never been more needed, it’s essential reading for us all right now.”  Daisy Buchanan, author of Insatiable

“All families have stories of mental health struggles but Christina and her family have had more than their fair share… There is a lot of death and suffering in this book yet precisely because Christina is so candid and compassionate there is hope within it too. I am sure this will be a welcome addition to the books helping to break down stigma and taboo about mental illness.” Alastair Campbell, author of Living Better

“This is a beautiful book. Heartbreaking and heartwarming, it’s an immersive family memoir that is deeply personal and yet somehow universal. Highly recommended.” Adam Hamdy, author of Black 13