Prepare to be amazed by the many ways this book and its author are better than you thought they would be. Everybody knows that Rob Lowe is very handsome, and that he spent a long time being a Hollywood wild child. Now in his 40s, Lowe’s reflections on his life thus far demonstrate a remarkably responsible perspective and a refreshingly self-deprecating look at how he ended up in the better state of mind he inhabits today. While the headlines and high notes may come and go, Lowe remains a devoted husband and proud father.
This listen is a small miracle for many reasons. It’s not simply the fact that Lowe reveals himself as capable of compelling writing, which he certainly does. It’s also not merely the path of the narrative that’s intriguing, though that’s definitely the case. Whether he is spending several chapters thoroughly reminiscing about the many lessons he learned during The Outsiders or sharing a quick anecdote about trying to meet Liza Minnelli when he was a little kid, Lowe indeed offers up a terrific set of insights about both life and stardom. He proves himself as a generous spirit, with strong thanks for Martin Sheen and solid praise for Patrick Swayze.
His narration is clearly heartfelt, and never comes across as phony or acted. This listen feels like a casual dinner conversation, minus the slick descent into rumor-mongering that usually rears its ugly head in memoirs of this variety. Lowe manages to steer clear of the blame game when analyzing the simultaneous blessing and curse of the Brat Pack label or his decision to leave The West Wing, and even finds some gracious adjectives for Tom Cruise. Be on the lookout for eerily spot-on impersonations of many stars, including a particularly good Christopher Walken and Matt Dillon.
In the end, it’s hard to put a finger on what makes this book so utterly fascinating. There isn’t anything shocking in the subject matter; there isn’t any mud-flinging in the tone; there is very little that stands out as an exclamation point. Yet the total package undeniably and irresistibly triumphs at being genuinely charming. This is ironic, because the book then actually sort of mirrors Lowe’s career. He’s spent the last two decades trying to upend the idea that he is simply a pretty face. The book succeeds in that endeavor, just as his several iconic film roles have done, and yet the shallow type-casting of Rob Lowe somehow too frequently persists. It’s true that he is a very dreamy guy, but this memoir absolutely proves that he is also intelligent, worldly, witty, and political. It’s an excellent listen that ought to once and for all put an end to the notion the Rob Lowe’s charisma is only skin deep. Megan Volpert
A wryly funny and surprisingly moving account of an extraordinary life lived almost entirely in the public eye. A teen idol at 15, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at 20, and one of Hollywood's top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor in Ohio who was uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-70s 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 80s, 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 25 years. These stories are as entertaining as they are unforgettable.
©2011 Robert Lowe (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
"[Lowe] writes viscerally and insightfully...He looks back at the aberrant highs of his heart-throb days, the changing nature of stardom in Hollywood, the trade-off he has made between high life and home life, and the step-by-step effort behind his show business survival. He looked like the callowest kid in the "Outsiders" crew. Now he looks like the sturdiest of them all" (The New York Times)
"A fresh pop-culture history of Hollywood in the ’70s and ’80s from the point of view of the man who lived it…[Lowe] is as funny as he is thoughtful. This is the best type of celeb memoir, because its author is as interested in the world as the world is interested in him." (People Magazine)
"A lovely autobiography, equal parts dish and pathos.” (Vanity Fair)
Brag, brag and more brag. Terrible, self centered listening torture with clear evidence of limited awareness that a good story is more than name dropping. It must be difficult to view oneself as the center of the world. It certainly was difficult to hear about it. My suggestion is to give this book a pass. Wish I had returned this mega dud.
It's okay - "People" is okay for 15 minutes in the dentist's office, and that's about how interesting this book is. I'll keep it and listen like I do to podcasts, but "Bossypants" is a much better book in this category.
Pretentious and name dropping from the start from a second rate actor trying to be a bigger deal than he really is..
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. Rob Lowe either had a talented ghost writer working with him or he is a very entertaining author. I think he actually wrote it himself. One of the things that made this most enjoyable was I listened to it on audiobook and Rob Lowe narrated it himself. He is an excellent narrator. He does gloss over a couple of events and circumstances that I wish he spent more time on, but all in all, the book was very satisfying. And he does a great impression of several of his contemporaries.
About a year before I read this book I read Robert Wagner's autobiography, You Must Remember This and after I finished Lowe's book I felt like they were bookends. I know Rob Lowe played a young Robert Wagner in the Austin Powers movies, but there are so many similarities to me, that it was almost like reading the same story, 30 years later.
I think Lowe is under-utilized in Hollywood. If he ever gets frustrated enough, he can always quit acting and write full time. He seems to have the talent to do so. I am looking forward to reading Lowe's second book. It is in my tbr stack.
It's not that this book is bad or boring...it's just kinda...middle of the road. And dare i say...pretentious? Lowe talks a lot about what a good guy he is and what an artist he considers himself, but glosses over his alcoholism and the underage sex scandal that was a huge black mark on his career. He paints himself as an "aw shucks", Hollywood innocent when he began his career, with only the occasional admission of hard partying and girls. Seems suspect, especially because I'm old enough to remember the 80s rat pack phenomenon.In any case, the best parts are when he talks about the "wild west of hollywood" back in the day, when he first arrived, and the auditioning process--the other not-yet celebrities he was friends and competitors with and how they were just kids having a good time in Malibu. It seems like such different kind of celebrity than what we are bombarded with today. Kinda interesting. I wish he had talked about his career after West Wing, which he devoted a sizable chunk to. I think my issue with the book is that I didn't get a real sense of who he is after it was all done. It kind ends abruptly after he leaves The West Wing and so seems a little dated, too. What about Parks and Rec and Brothers and Sisters? With that said, he's an excellent narrator. It is his own story, after all, but he doesn't over do it and he knows when to act out the other characters and does so convincingly.
Maybe I just thought he was a funnier guy. Is he interesting? I guess. Is he self-absorbed? Absolutely. A little more Number Two, Mike Meyers, SNL and a little less Poor me - my parents divorced, I was scared, I like politics would have been easier to listen to. I forced myself through this audio because I kept hoping it would pay off. No dice.
Who knew Rob Lowe could write? Who knew he could mimic just about any accent? Who knew he genuinely has a lot to say? This is one of those rare audiobooks thats grabs you at the first sentence and just keeps delivering.
What this book has that most celeb bios do not is heart and context. He shares the parts of his life that have meaning and weaves them into a cohesive whole. This makes for a much more engaging tale that a string of career highlights.
He clearly thought this book through before he wrote a word. It's a delight.
Lastly, while Rob Lowe is an actor of my generation, I would never consider myself a fan...so this review is not influenced by a previous crush.
Coming from the Brat Pack Era myself it was fascinating to hear 'behind the scene' stories from all those great 80's movies - from Outsiders to St. Elmo's Fire - and as I took the advise of a previous reviewer, I need to re-state that having Rob read his life story with all the WONDERFUL impersonations he does really made this book more memorable.
He is a great writer and narrator. I loved hearing the journey of his life and his growth. His stories are all from my generation. So many of his stories made me stop and think..."I know where I was when that happened." Many interesting inside stories. Love how he changes his voice for the different characters! Now I want to go back and watch all his shows again.
I always try to choose autobiographies read by the author so as to enjoy hearing the book how the author intended, and no one epitomizes this more than Rob Lowe. When you want to hear the intended inflection, the emotion, the exact level of a terse word, Rob Lowe performs the best of any narrator you are going to find.
Martin Sheen & Emilio Estevez "Along The Way". Both books focus on the making of a particular film in detail while also covering years of the actors lives. That is the comparison. The contrast is that Stories I Only Tell My Friends was much, much better and more enjoyable both in material, writing, and narration. And when you can beat Martin Sheen in narration, you have accomplished something!
Rob brings you to tears more than once in this book, which is extremely rare for me when listening to a book. But this is more than a memoir. This is Rob taking you into the highs and lows of his life and truly allowing you to share in the moment. He doesn't tell you the story. He brings you into it. And in that, your emotions can become as raw as his. That is rare, but so is this book. A great listen.
If you are a Rob Lowe fan, a Francis Ford Coppola fan, a fan of The Outsiders, or a movie fan in general, you should treat yourself to a tour of Hollywood you simply cannot get in any other way.
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