cover image James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life

James Patterson by James Patterson: The Stories of My Life

James Patterson. Little, Brown, $29 (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-39753-7

“This is a book of true stories the way I remember them. I’m sure I’ll get a few things wrong,” suggests the mega-bestselling novelist in this blithe blend of personal asides, fan trivia, and hot takes. The dozens of sections skim the major stages of Patterson’s life, including his childhood in Newburgh, N.Y., his early love of reading, his aspirations to become a writer, his time in the advertising industry (where he claims to have coined the slogan “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid”), and his astonishing commercial success as a novelist. As Patterson makes crystal clear, readers in search of a straightforward and detailed autobiography won’t find it here (“Robert Caro or Walter Isaacson, I’m not”)—but they’ll get the lowdown on his first kiss (name, Veronica Tabasco), insights into his craft, and colorful accounts of the many celebrities he’s crossed paths with, among them Hugh Jackman and Charlize Theron, both of whom “look amazing in real life. Also, they don’t seem full of themselves.” Occasionally, Patterson’s jocular style feels at odds with his material, as when he glibly weighs in on the U.S.’s systemic problems: “It isn’t white, Black, or brown... it’s jerks.” Still, this uncut look into the famed author’s mind is sure to intrigue his many fans—and critics.(June)