Making it So – A Memoir
Written by Patrick Stewart
Published by Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook
Patrick Stewart’s memoir Making It So is not a Star Trek book, and that’s a good thing. This rich, 443-page memoir takes you through the extraordinary life of an extraordinary man with delightful turns of phrase and stories that will break your heart as well as elevate you.
From his rough beginnings in West Yorkshire to his life as a knighted Hollywood star, Stewart’s life is full of surprising turns—and unsurprisingly, he’s a wonderfully engaging writer. He spent years as a working-class actor, happy to get a steady job in the theater after growing up in a blue-collar town where such aspirations seemed impossible. The objective takeaway from his story is that—much like in Star Trek itself—the potential to be more than we can imagine is always there. Hope prevails.
Readers might be astonished by the vulnerability he’s willing to reveal along the way; Sir Patrick has taken the trip through his past as an opportunity to explore his feelings as much as tell the stories themselves. And oh, the stories! Stewart can make light of his own lower-class upbringing, regaling Conan O’Brien with stories of sucking dirty, soapy water through a hose to empty the tub in a home without indoor plumbing, but the harshness of growing up with a father who drank and beat his wife is inescapable. Stewart admits his own participation in childhood bullying and is frank about his failed marriages (taking full responsibility for his betrayals) and complicated relationship with his children, as well as his resentment towards people who treated him poorly. Readers take a journey through those lows as well as the highs of his triumphs: getting the roles on the stage he longed for, the film and TV career he wanted, his legendary status as a certain starship captain, and the joy of falling in love with his wife, Sunny Ozell.
Star Trek fans hoping for a deep dive into his years on TNG and in the movies might find themselves disappointed by the fact that it takes 300 pages to get to his taking on the role of Jean-Luc Picard in 1987, but this is not the history of Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Picard. They’re both in there, amongst the stories of being assistant manager of small theaters, getting to drive Paul McCartney’s car, sitting next to Vivien Leigh in awe, sitting next to Sting in ignorance, being treated like dirt by a pompous director, working as a salesman (and having to keep the customers’ lavatory “tidy and inoffensive”), getting bad reviews, and facing love, life, and death just like the rest of us. He doesn’t shy away from emotional truths or hardship, but you’ll feel the joys as keenly as the tragedies, taken there by a beautifully woven story of a life well lived and a sense of adventure. I laughed out loud at some sections, cried at others, and when I was done, felt richer for having read it.
You can see a clip of Stewart narrating the book below…
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