Title: The Time of My Life - audiobook
Author: Patrick Swayze & Lisa Niemi
Read by: Patrick Swayze & Lisa Niemi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster audio
(I checked this one out from the library.)
Listening to this, it was hard for me to believe that he was actually gone. I loved the movies Red Dawn, Dirty Dancing and Ghost - and can actually remember where I saw them and who I was with. Red Dawn was the summer after I graduated high school and I saw it with my best friend Pam in Des Moines. Dirty Dancing was the fall after I got married the first time and we were living in San Diego. My husband and I were young and stupid and actually walked downtown to see the midnight showing of this one. We were so lucky that nothing happened to us! Ghost I also saw in San Diego, but it was while my husband was deployed during the Gulf War and I saw it with another Navy wife, Polly, who was living with me while our husbands were gone. So was I, am I, a fan of Patrick Swayze? Absolutely.
This narrative starts right after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and then takes us back to the beginning, when he was a football player in high school. His football career ended when he took a hit from two opposing players and tore all the ligaments in his knee. When that dream ended, he pursued gymnastics and was set to go to the junior Olympics. That also fell through when he landed wrong during warm ups on the low rings and blew his knee out again.
Since he had danced from a young age at his mom's studio, he started to concentrate on ballet. He was able to get a scholarship to go to New York to study ballet for Harkness. He had met Lisa when she was 15 and she came in to his mom's studio for dance lessons. She was one of the few girls who wasn't affected by Patrick's looks and charms. Somehow the two of them became friends, and one thing led to another. They married in the mid 1970's after Lisa had also moved to New York on a scholarship to Harkness also. Even though ballet continued to make his knee swell, he refused to give up on this career. After a near mishap on a motorcycle, he realized that his previous dreams had ended when something had happened physically to him making him unable to pursue them. He felt he was setting himself up for the same failure in ballet and that maybe he should expand his horizons. He turned down an offer to dance with Mikhail Baryshnikov and they moved to L.A.
Patrick suffered from low self-esteem throughout his entire life and career. He never felt he was good enough, which pushed him to work harder and longer to get roles that he wanted. He had to convince the directors of both Dirty Dancing and Ghost to cast him, as neither one saw him in the role. Can any of you picture someone different as Johnny Castle or Sam Wheat? I know I can't.
He goes on to tell about his different roles in his movies, some of which I had forgotten (City of Joy), some of which I had not heard of (Letters from a Killer, Green Dragon) and some that I did not know he was in (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar)- but hope to see them now. He tells a hilarious story about his transformation into a woman for To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. He learns too late not to let his costars, Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo dress him in tight pantsuits for his role as Vida Boheme.
I probably listened to this audio book quicker than any other, and remembered it better when it was done. I am not sure if it would have impacted me as much had I read the book. It made a difference to me to actually hear about his life in his own voice, and in Lisa's. I highly recommend the audio version of this book.