When you would think of wrestlers who should have written a book but were highly unlikely to do so, Pat Patterson topped the list. A legend in all aspects of the wrestling business, the man himself always seemed rather guarded and rarely, if ever, did real world or "shoot" interviews. His inclusion in many of the WWE Legends of Wrestling roundtable shows was somewhat of a surprise in itself. When Patterson opened up his life a bit more during the run of the WWE Network program "Legends House," the possibility of a book seemed like it just may happen one day. Here we are in 2016 and "Accepted" has hit the shelves.
Those who only know Pat Patterson as one of Vince McMahon's "stooges" in the Attitude Era are in for a shock, if any such fans with that limitation on their knowledge of the man truly exist. Patterson's story reaches back decades in the wrestling business, to a time when dreams really could be attained by someone with just a few dollars in their pocket and little-to-no real direction. Pat, born Pierre Clermont in Montreal, went from star wrestler to one of the most creative behind-the-scenes minds that the wrestling business had ever seen. But how did he get there? How did he make the jump? Where did all of the knowledge and creativity come from?
I classify most books written by wrestlers into two different categories: "wrestling books" or "books by a wrestler." Patterson's story is definitely the latter. While you're going to get the stories and tales that made up Pat's life in the ring, this is his
story and how wrestling fit in, not the other way around. If you're looking to get a true glimpse at the man that is telling the story, this is the way that it should be done. Most Patterson fans will know this going in. Listening to Patterson speak on "Legends House," you can tell that while the man loves the wrestling business, he tried to never let it define him. He may identify more with "Pat Patterson" than "Pierre Clermont," but that does not mean that wrestling consumed him.
Joining Pat in telling the tale is someone who was perfect in bringing out the wrestling history aspect. Bertrand Hebert was co-author (with Pat Laprade) of the critically acclaimed "Mad Dogs, Midgets, and Screw Jobs" which told the complete story of wrestling in Montreal. Seeing as that Patterson is a native of the city and was influenced by that particular wrestling product, it was a perfect fit. Hebert also manages to avoid one of my biggest pet peeves in autobiographies: adding in long rehashes of history unrelated to the star. While it is needed in some instances in order to set up a particular scene or story, in many books it gets tiresome and is written in a way that completely distances you from the voice of the author. In "Accepted," rarely did I feel that the words written weren't coming direct from Patterson.
There are plenty of stories from the wrestling business, some of which you may have heard before, but plenty that will be new to you. Pat's work side-by-side with McMahon does not get quite as in-depth as JJ Dillon's book did, but you still get a good look at the inner workings of the golden era of the World Wrestling Federation. Even with all of the wrestling books produced in the past 17 years, this is till relatively uncharted territory. Patterson's emotions for many of wrestling's most powerful moments come through, and that is also when his love for the business shines most.
Again, wrestling does not define Patterson the most. I would say instead that it is his yearning for love and acceptance (hence the title), and maybe not completely in the ways that you may be expecting from your previous knowledge of the man. Patterson's interesting family situation from growing up also played a pivotal role throughout his life. How that actually led into his journey in the wrestling business is another story that is told here for the first time.
I definitely want more from Patterson. You know that he is full of stories that could have doubled or tripled the size of the book. Will they ever be told in a public forum such as this? Probably not. Patterson is very loyal to friends in the business as well as the McMahon family who he is accepted as a member of. I feel very lucky that Patterson has chosen to tell this much after all this time. I was also pleased with the number of photos included. Not only is there a large color section in the middle, but there are also black and white photos throughout.
"Accepted" is one of the books that comes along that I can't put down. As I mentioned earlier, it definitely left me wanting more, but what we received was excellent. I do classify it as a "book by a wrestler" rather than a "wrestling book," but fans of wrestling's past won't be disappointed. Ray Stevens, the WWF, Canadian wrestling, the territories, Sgt. Slaughter, Killer Kowalski, and the Royal Rumble are just a few of the wrestling aspects of Pat's story. With a list like that, how can you go wrong?