Making It So: A Memoir by Patrick Stewart

Very demandingly, she inquired of me, “Are you anybody?”

What a curious question. I had never before been asked it. But given the circumstances, I knew exactly what she meant. Smiling, I shook my head. The crowd immediately parted and let me through.

Was I disappointed? Yes. A little hurt? Yes. But as I drove home that night, still smiling, I realized something: That girl had given me a gift. She had pressed the ambition button.

…And then it dawned on me how I should have replied to her question: Not yet. But watch this space.

Fair warning to the sci-fi and comic book fans – this book is not about any of that.

Sure, it touches on the iconic sci-fi TV show of the late 80s and 90s (the cast is, as the youths would call it, “friendship goals”). And he does talk about his other famous sci-fi foray (though only giving a short nod to the best one, Logan).

It is also not about the usual disclosures of adversity and vice that often saturate a celebrity memoir; yes, there is trauma (charging yourself with protecting your mother from domestic violence amid a “Dickensian” childhood), and yes, there is vice (admissions to indulging, at times, to excess alcohol to manage emotion and thought), but these are minor players, and they are all handled with the gentle thoughtfulness and humour that we’ve learned to be a part of his stardom.

No, instead of fluff and fame from the Captain of the Starship Enterprise and the Leader of the X-Men, the heart of Patrick Stewart’s memoir is craftmanship.

As consumers of theatre and film, we can easily forget the work that takes place before the final product is produced. But Stewart engages with description of his motivations in making choices – for parts (not unlike many of our own lives, it came down to consistent hard work, taking some jobs because one needs to support themselves and family, and a measure of being in the right place at the right time) and within parts (his deep devotion to an art form that requires analysis and interpretation of tone and form). It was intriguing to learn about the cerebral considerations involved in building a character each night or every episode, in such a way that it remains fresh but also true to the material.

Lightly underpainting his recount is – perhaps unsurprising for a man of 83 years – is age. But it has always been in the wings: from lying about his age to join older children in local theatre troupes and training, to getting the big break at 46 years old in Star Trek, after acting professionally for 20+ years, to finding new work and love in his 70s. It really is just a number.

When you read a memoir of anyone as iconic as Stewart, you can’t help but wonder if it will be candy or critical. Instead, it was a warm cup of tea, both comforting and inspiring.

(Just not Earl Grey; he prefers Yorkshire Gold.)

About the Author

Sir Patrick Stewart is a distinguished stage and screen actor whose illustrious career spans six decades. A classically trained theater artist who got his start at England’s Royal Shakespeare Company, Stewart’s legendary performances have garnered him three Olivier Awards, Emmy and Tony Award nominations, and a Grammy Award, among countless honors. His beloved screen work, known to audiences worldwide, includes his iconic portrayals of Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard and X-Men’s Professor Charles Xavier. Follow him on social media at @SirPatStew.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication Date: October 3, 2023
  • Language: English (480 pages)
  • ISBN: 978-1-98216-773-8 (Hardcover)
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Bryn Robinson lives in Quispamsis, NB, although she still, and always will, consider herself a Saint Johner. She uses her BA in psychology and French, and her PhD in experimental psychology, from the University of New Brunswick, to help her support health research in the province. She prefers contemporary fiction, narrative non-fiction, graphic novels and poetry - and if they are humorous, all the better. When not reading, she's exploring the New Brunswick forests and seascapes, camera in hand.