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. Buy Now from Amazon


The Art of Not Falling Apart (Atlantic Books, £14.99)

‘A moving and funny book, The Art of Not Falling Apart describes with searing honesty what it's like for a single woman in middle age to lose the one thing that was holding life together – her job.’ Alan Johnson, New Statesman, Best Books of the Year, 2018

‘When your job is the only thing holding your life together, what happens when you get fired? Journalist Christina Patterson explains how she weathered the storm in this funny, frank book.’ Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year, 2018

‘A very different kind of self-help book: witty, wise and wonderfully relatable.’ Sarah Hughes, the i

‘The Art of Not Falling Apart is required reading for all journalists past and present, and anyone else who has – at times – struggled to hold it together.’ Dominic Ponsford, Editor in Chief, Press Gazette

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

“I knew of Christina Patterson as a skilfully probing journalist on The Independent who was great fun to be interviewed by and who shared my love of Larkin. She also wrote the most insightful piece I’ve ever read about my old boss, Gordon Brown. Her moving and funny book, The Art of Not Falling Apart describes with searing honesty what it’s like for a single woman in middle age to lose the one thing that was holding her life together – her job.” Alan Johnson, former Home Secretary, New Statesman Books of the Year

"The Art of Not Falling Apart shames the sleek, smug lessons of the Lean In brigade by celebrating ...the varied circumstances, uncertain fortunes and individual abilities that shape human effort." Terri Apter, Times Literary Supplement


"The Art of Not Falling Apart... is moving, poignant and extremely funny, it's filled with wisdom and it's enormously uplifting. I'm going to keep it on my bedside table forever, in case of emergency, and buy a box of copies so that I can distribute them to the people I love when they need a boost." Daisy Buchanan, author of How to Be a Grown Up, The Pool

"After losing her opinion column at The Independent, Patterson also mislaid her sense of self. 'I have never found a book called I Feel So Awful I Don't Know What To Do,' she says wryly. Eventually, she put her marvellous empathetic talent to good use, interviewing other people whose world had collapsed. The Art of Not Falling Apart is the result, a surprisingly joyful book by a writer so good that the people who sacked her were clearly morons." Allison Pearson, Sunday Telegraph

"Patterson is a passionate, funny woman who refuses simply to struggle on. She believes in living. And throwing parties. And friendship. And sex. And buying a flat in a Tuscan watchtower from the internet on a whim. And also the power of anger. 'I do believe in anger. The kind of anger that gives you the energy to fight back.' Like all good journalists, Patterson leaves her best story until last... the final chapter is a revelation." Jackie Annesley, Sunday Times

"In this incredibly inspirational book, she reflects on the lessons she has learned since being made redundant, and highlights ways to deal with personal challenges, that range from domestic abuse and having a severely disabled child, to being publicly sacked at your employer's AGM. This is not a typical 'how to' guide that promises all the answers - readers may find some along the way, but they may also simply enjoy it as a witty and beautifully written memoir." Verena Vogt, Irish News

"What do you do when you feel you've messed it all up and your friends seem to be doing just fine? Ditch the self-help books and keep buggering on' sums up journalist and broadcaster Christina Patterson's attitude in this brilliant, poignant and also very funny memoir about picking yourself up and starting afresh." Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller (non-fiction editor's choice, May)

A New Statement Book of the Year 2018

A Mail on Sunday Book of the Year 2018

A Number 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in five categories

Recommended reading for self-isolation in The Guardian and the i

The Art of Not Falling Apart was picked as an editor’s choice in The Bookseller and there have been extracts and related features in The Sunday Times, The Observer, Woman & Home and Red. You can listen to Christina talk to Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour about her book. You can listen to her talk about her book on the Guardian books podcast here and on on the podcast, Absolutely Novel here, and also on the 21st-century Creative Podcast and on The Sacred podcast. You can read a pdf of the wonderful review in the Mail on Sunday here. and you can read an interview on Boundless here. You can order a copy from Amazon. If you like it, please leave a review! The Art of Not Falling Apart is also available as an audiobook, from Whole Story Quest.

If you would like Christina to give a talk on one of the themes in the book, you can contact her here.

People Say:

I thoroughly enjoyed it - a kind of war reporter’s dispatches from the barricades of modern life

Robert Harris bestselling author

A page turner! – insightful, sad, funny and so well written

Kirsty Wark TV presenter and novelist

brilliant, poignant, but also very funny

Caroline Sanderson non-fiction editor The Bookseller

It’s terrific – moving, wise and funny

Terence Blacker novelist

A witty and wise book … Highly recommended if you’re feeling blue. Or if you’re not.

Sarah Churchwell author and academic

Tender and funny

Sunday Post

poignant and very funny

Sunday Express

A tender, beautiful exploration of how we survive pressure, from a tender, beautiful writer

Johann Hari bestselling author

The whole book was such a gripping read... The honesty is refreshing. It is also beautifully written... Everyone who works in healthcare would benefit from reading this book.

Peter Carter Nursing Times

wise, funny… you feel as if you are listening to your cleverest, funniest and, above all, kindest friend

Kathryn Hughes Mail on Sunday

a beautifully written and uplifting memoir about love and loss – and finding the resolve to carry on

Matthew Syed The Times

If you’re 50 and feeling a failure, you must read The Art of Not Falling Apart, by Christina Patterson

Liz Jones Mail on Sunday

poignant and very funny

Sunday Express

a very different kind of self-help book: witty, wise and wonderfully relatable

Sarah Hughes the I

funny and uplifting

100 Sizzling Summer Reads Mail on Sunday

Brave, honest and readable

Wendy Cope The Week