8 Completely Unexpected Real Life Stories Turned Into Books

Real life stories can be shocking, heart-warming, terrifying, eye-opening and sometimes all of those at once. One thing is for certain, however, they do make gripping reading. In our true story books, there are loads of amazing and unusual accounts of extraordinary lives and experiences that will have you laughing or crying in disbelief. All of these books in our picks of 8 true life stories that are completely unexpected will have you shocked and moved by the strange world around you.

Alt Text

1. Five Minutes of Amazing

Chris Graham with Wendy Holden

After being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at 34, Chris Graham decided he wanted to raise awareness about early-onset Alzheimer's by cycling 16,000 miles around America. Despite the disease causing him to forget much-needed pieces of information, such as his left and right, he managed to complete his cycle and make it back home. Chris's eye-opening story is a truly emotional and inspiring read.

Alt Text

2. Colder

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

This illustrated autobiography takes you across Antarctica with Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE, the greatest polar explorer in Britain. Featuring a mix of diary notes, photography and maps, this visual memoir shows you the many adventures Ranulph has had in the coldest temperatures. Shocking and fascinating, this book will open your eyes to the incredible dangers faced by this amazing individual.

Alt Text

3. Bilbo the Lifeguard Dog

Steven Jamieson

Lifeguard Steven Jamieson has written his surprising story of how he took on a rather unlikely apprentice, a Newfoundland dog called Bilbo. Steven initially had no idea how great Bilbo would become at his job and after saving three lives he became a celebrity around the world. This moving story all about the incredible things man's best friend can do is a great real life story for when you're feeling down.

Alt Text

4. Six Little Miracles

Janet Walton


After Janet Walton and her husband, Graham, were told they couldn't have children, they were shocked to learn that Janet was pregnant with sextuplets. Not only that, but Janet became the only mother in the world to have all-female sextuplets. Now that all the girls are grown adults, Janet tells the story of how she raised her 6 cheeky but wonderful children and how they've all grown. This funny and emotional book will put a smile on the face of anyone who's had the joy of raising children.

Alt Text

5. Hillsborough Voices

Kevin Sampson

Kevin Sampson was in the stands at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield the day 96 people were killed and 766 injured in one of the most horrific disasters in recent years. This book, written in association with the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, tells the stories of those who were affected by and lost loved ones in the disaster. This heart-breaking book will open your eyes to one of the most shocking events in recent times.

Alt Text

6. It's on the Meter

Paul Archer and Johno Ellison

Paul, Johno and Leigh had no idea of the adventures they were to have when they drunkenly bought a London taxi. This purchase prompted them to make the decision to travel the world, and in amongst the crazy and terrifying experiences they had, they broke two World Records, encountered the Taliban and were stopped by the Iranian Secret Police! This hilarious and unusual book will delight anyone with an adventurous streak.

Alt Text

7. Breaking the Silence

Jo Milne

Jo Milne underwent cochlear implant surgery in 2014 which allowed her to hear for the first time in her life. Her first hearing moments were filmed and garnered a staggering amount of views on Youtube as millions around the world were moved by her experience. However, as Jo has regained her hearing she is sadly losing her sight due to her Usher Syndrome. Jo's inspiring story will move you in this surprising memoir about what it is like to hear your mother's voice for the first time at 39 years old.

Alt Text

8. The Tree Climber's Guide

Jack Cooke

Jack Cooke has an odd hobby. He loves climbing the trees of London and sightseeing from up in the air. In this bizarre real life story Jack considers the beauty of nature and gives you a guide to exploring London from up high so you can have a go at being a tree-top tourist too.

Alt Text

If you want more riveting and revealing real true story books, then check out our full selection of real life stories.

  • BLLD
    Steven Jamieson
    (2)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £9.99
    • Save £6.00
    A story of friendship and heroism, this real-life read finds Cornish lifeguard Steven Jamieson revealing all about the bond he shared with a Newfoundland dog called Bilbo.

    When the two first met, Steven was not expecting Bilbo to change his life forever. He was happy enough just living in his bijou home overlooking Land's End and the Atlantic ocean and doing his job. When he spotted Bilbo's webbed paws and thick, double layer of fur, he realised this dog might just be an excellent swimmer...

    Promoted to honorary lifeguard, Bilbo managed to save three lives and earned fans from all over the world. As the pair became closer, they had to find their way through some very dark days. It was their close relationship that got them through these huge life obstacles...

    Warm, heartfelt and moving, this is an inspiring read for anyone who loves animals.
  • CLDR
    Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Bt OBE
    (1)
    • £4.99
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £20.01
    Sir Ranulph Fiennes is Britain's greatest living polar explorer and this book provides a visual guide to the trials and tribulations he has gone through while on his expeditions.

    Fully illustrated, the book (with some adventures that were previously published in the narrative memoir, Cold) has maps, diary notes and personal photography from Fiennes' expeditions including the Transglobal Expedition and his unsupported crossings of Antarctica.

    The detailed maps showcase his routes across the various arctic landscapes he has traversed and there are captions that provide analysis of exactly what he has achieved. The book is not only full of stunning scenery, but also shows how Fiennes has pushed the boundaries of the human body in cold conditions.
  • BRSL
    Jo Milne
    (1)
    • £4.99
    • RRP £16.99
    • Save £12.00
    With the moment an operation enabled her to hear for the first time in almost 40 years being named by Google as one of the most inspiring moments of 2014 and hitting millions of views on YouTube, Jo Milne's memoir Breaking the Silence tells a truly remarkable and uplifting story about how her world changed in incredible ways...

    Deaf from birth, Jo lived in a world of silence for 39 years. Battling deep depression and the difficulties her lack of hearing threw at her, Jo was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Usher Syndrome, an affliction that will one day rob her of her sight too, before she turned 30. Determined to live her life to the full, in 2014 Jo made the decision to undergo a cochlear implant surgery which would allow her to hear for the first time in her life. Every day since then has become a journey of discovery...

    From hearing the Beatles and Rolling Stones for the first time to finally being able to put a voice to the familiar sight of her own mother, Jo Milne's Breaking the Silence is a beautifully written, heart-warming real-life story about an unbelievably brave woman who always lives life with a smile on her face.
  • FMOA
    Chris Graham
    • £4.99
    • RRP £18.99
    • Save £14.00
    When Chris Graham was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at the age of just 34, he made the decision to live life to the fullest and enjoy incredible adventures and the best of what the world has to offer.

    This poignant memoir finds Chris looking back at a life that took him from a trouble childhood into the British Army. Alzheimer's has already claimed the life of his father at 42 and saw his brother in a nursing home at 43. To make the most of life, Chris decided to embark on an awareness-raising 16,000-mile solo cycle around North America...

    Armed only with his bike, a sense of humour and British determination, Chris left his loyal wife Vicky and his son Dexter at home as he undertook this amazing challenge - despite the fact he could forget the different between left and right at any point. Of course, he made it home in time for Christmas... this is an inspiring, moving and heart-rending book.
  • HLVC
    Kevin Sampson
    • £4.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £8.00
    On 15 April 1989, the world witnessed one of the worst football disasters occur at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. 96 people were crushed to death and another 766 injured in a tragedy that was later admitted to have been exacerbated by police failures.

    Written by Kevin Sampson - a man who was actually in the stands on that fateful day and who has close connections with the Justice campaign - this book contains exhaustive and exclusive interviews with people who have become familiar public figures and many who are telling their heart-rending stories for the first time.

    From the tragic events of the day itself to the shocking aftermath that has taken years to resolve, this book interweaves the views of the people who were there with the families and friends of those who died, along with the observations of the people who played key roles in the long search for the truth.
  • TREE
    Jack Cooke
    • £5.99
    • RRP £14.99
    • Save £9.00
    Jack Cooke loves nothing more than climbing trees. Especially those trees that line the streets of London.

    In this witty and personal memoir, he talks about exploring England's capital city through the treetops. Part-guidebook and part-meditation on the joys of nature, this is a thoroughly entertaining read that finds Jack climbing all sorts of trees and scurrying up a Scots pine to get views that very few have seen.

    From London's parks, canals and rivers to the secret gardens he spots sometimes just 10 foot above street level, this is an oddball celebration of viewing things from a different angle. It might inspire you to go outside and climb a tree - but please be careful among the bark and branches!
  • IOTM
    Paul Archer
    • £3.99
    • RRP £9.99
    • Save £6.00
    Taxi! This hardback book tells the astonishing story of three mates, the taxi they drunkenly purchased and a 43,000 mile-round trip of global misadventure.

    Like many, Paul, Johno and Leigh had plans to travel the world. Little did they know that when they bought themselves a London cab, they'd end up embarking on a journey that took them off the beaten track to some of the most fascinating, dangerous and deadly places on Earth.

    From altercations with the Iranian Secret Police to a terrifying experience with the Taliban, the trio had all kinds of experiences on their fantastic, thrilling and dangerous journey. They even managed to break two World Records along the way!

    With its crazy premise and some colourful language, this highly entertaining and quirky memoir will delight fans of Dave Gorman and Danny Wallace.
  • Six Little Miracles - Hardback - 9781785031113 - Janet Walton
    SIXL
    Janet Walton
    • £4.49
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £8.50
    A wonderfully heart-warming and uplifting read, Six Little Miracles is the true story of Janet Walton, the mother of the world's first and only all-female sextuplets.

    Janet and her husband, Graham, were told that they could never have children, so you can imagine their joy and surprise when they found out that Janet was pregnant. But the news didn't stop there. Janet wasn't pregnant with just one baby, she was pregnant with six!

    On 18 November 1983, Janet gave birth to Hannah, Luci, Ruth, Sarah, Kate and Jennie, and her life changed forever... From learning to bottle-feed six new-born infants to an unfathomable school run, boy trouble, teenage tantrums and everything in-between, Janet has watched her little girls blossom into confident young women - and loved every minute of it!

    Now 30, Janet's daughters have grown up and flown the nest. For the very first time, in this book Janet tells the moving, humorous and honest story of what it was like to raise her six girls and how they changed her life for the better.