Title: Stories I Only Tell My Friends: an Autobiography
Author: Rob Lowe
Review: Rob Lowe is one of those guys who have managed to get better looking as they have got older, though to be fair he was always winning on that score. I remembered him from St. Elmo’s fire and The Outsiders, and then his resurgence with Austin Powers and Wayne’s World. Now I watch on Parks and Rec where his character is just perfect. So he is a guy I really like, or at least his characters; and I wanted to see if he would really open up.
My general rule for these celebrity biographies is whether they open up, tell stories, and they don’t try to whitewash the more sordid details that are already public (at least without too much bias). Rob Lowe managed this and was also very entertaining. This is how a celebrity biography should be done.
First of all he managed to show what being in the right place at the right time can achieve. His neighborhood friends growing up were the Penn brothers and the Sheen boys. Here was a group of teenagers filming their own home action movies with a cast that would cost you millions to get today. Plus he tells stories of his high school wherein he would interact with a variety of future stars. The talent pool was either incredibly deep in that community, or they just had the opportunity that you will not find in BFE Midwest.
He expertly takes you through the highs and lows of his career, and tells wonderful stories of all those people he met on his journey. This is not a book to get the dirt because he does not get nasty (and he genuinely comes across as a really nice guy), but he still amazes you all the same. Like the first time he met Martin Sheen, he was patrolling the neighborhood on Halloween and scaring would be pranksters/troublemakers straight, including Mr. Lowe. Or his description of a teenage Tom Cruise as intense, extremely intense. Losing a running race to Superman (a teenage Dean Cain).
Even at his darkest moment, the underage girl at the Democratic Convention, he gives his side of the story without blame or excuse. He was a famous actor and he was refused entry into the club because he did not have ID verifying his age. He had to return to his car to obtain it. Then, and only then was he allowed in. His mistake was thinking the doorman was as stringent with everyone else who he let in. His life of excess collided with his assumptions (reasonable ones) and ended with disgrace.
But at the end I came away finding Rob Lowe as a very nice guy who seems to look for the good in those he meets. Every story shared here demonstrates that character trait. This book is well worth the read. It may be my guilty pleasure, but I do feel better about Rob Lowe, and everyone he talks about, after reading this book. What more could you want?
Publisher: Henry Holt
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why Did I Read this Book: Guilty pleasure – reading biographies of people I like.
Where I Obtained the Book: My local library.
Synopsis: A wryly funny and surprisingly moving account of an extraordinary life lived almost entirely in the public eyeA teen idol at fifteen, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at twenty, and one of Hollywood's top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor in Ohio uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-seventies Malibu, where he embarked on his unrelenting pursuit of a career in Hollywood. The Outsiders placed Lowe at the birth of the modern youth movement in the entertainment industry. During his time on The West Wing, he witnessed the surreal nexus of show business and politics both on the set and in the actual White House. And in between are deft and humorous stories of the wild excesses that marked the eighties, leading to his quest for family and sobriety. Never mean-spirited or salacious, Lowe delivers unexpected glimpses into his successes, disappointments, relationships, and one-of-a-kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last twenty-five years. These stories are as entertaining as they are unforgettable.
Author Biography: Rob Lowe is an American actor. Lowe came to prominence after appearing in films such as The Outsiders, Oxford Blues, About Last Night..., and St. Elmo's Fire. On Television, Lowe is known for his role as Sam Seaborn on The West Wing and his role as Senator Robert McCallister on Brothers & Sisters. He currently appears as a main cast member of Parks and Recreation in the role of Chris Traeger.