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)
There is nothing like listening to someone tell there story in their own voice, especially when the someone is a well-trained actor at the top of his craft.
The frank acknowledgment of the author's struggles with alchoholism and his fight to keep his Hollywood performances authentic.
Filming of the insiders.
An excellent book improved by a terrific narrator.
I loved getting to know Rob Lowe the man. I have always enjoyed him as an actor although I was never the adoring fan that rushed to see his every film. I am just a few years older than him and watched as those labeled the "Brat Pack" rose to fame. I never knew how they got the name "Brat Pack" until listening to this book, I always thought it was a spin from the famed "Rat Pack." Since it was meant to be a put down, I'm glad that it backfired on the a**hole journalist. Listening to Rob open up so honestly about the highs and lows of his life has garnered him my respect. I truly wish him much success as I think he has been shortchanged terribly by the industry and the public.
Listening to him talk about an event at a movie theater in Westwood and remembering that I was actually in that theater the night it happened. I'll never forget the whispers that made their way from one side of the theater to the other as the young girls discovered he was there. He was only a few rows behind me and I can still remember his eyes!
I found his voice to be really soothing and he talked as if you were sitting on a couch across the room from him, or maybe even sitting around a fire pit on the back patio as he entertained you with stories, shared secrets, and reflected on life's disappointments and choices he had made. It really was like he was talking to you as a friend.
I wanted to but was unable to which meant that I often went back a chapter each time I picked it up again just to review! I'll probably listen to it again when I have time to relax in my backyard this summer with a glass of wine...or two ;)
I don't usually go in for books written by celebs. I worked in the industry for 20 years and really don't buy into the poor me crap they tend to spout and I'll be dammed if I'm going to give these new reality based celebs a dime of my money or a minute of my time...they're already getting a free ride in my opinion. This book is different. I could relate to some of the situations...not because they were Hollywood industry based, but life based.
This book was excellent and well read. There were many surprises that kept it interesting. And you don't have to been a "Rob Lowe Fan" to thoroughly enjoy this book.
I didn't read the print version, but I think having Rob Lowe narrate this book made it so much better.
So many it's hard to pick. I grew up about the same time as Rob Lowe, so it's pretty neat to hear the behind the scenes of how The Outsiders was made.
Christopher Walken - cracked me up.
Rob Lowe is like Forrest Gump - LOL
I enjoyed every minute of this book, told especially well by the author. My husband and I grew up in the Midwest and are close in age to Rob, so we shared many of the same experiences from his childhood. We also love movies, so hearing about actors with whom we grew up was a delight. It was fascinating to listen to Rob's history and about the many, many interesting people he has met. I can only conclude that he was meant to be an actor... so many of his childhood experiences led him to where he is today. It's also joyous and refreshing to hear from a celebrity who is very grounded in his love of family. I started listening to the book based on reviews I'd read, then listened to it a second time with my husband because it was so interesting. I hope Rob will write again someday. He really is a wonderful storyteller with a full life from which to draw his tales. Bravo!
I do not have much time to read a book - so I listen to them during my commute to work.
The end of the book when he talked about the things he is doing now
I had no idea that someone who was labeled by the media as a "brat" is actually very eloquent and mature. If you had a prejudice against him, hopefully your opinion will change after hearing him describe his life to you through this audio. Not only do you realize how much he has experienced, but you also gain a new respect for how he handles everything he goes through. I see him in an entirely different light now and I'm really glad I gave his autobiography a chance.
Decent (if pedestrian) writing, factual errors aside. ("They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" wasn't Jane Fonda's debut, she'd already been making movies for a decade; Lucille Ball never received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar, she was a presenter on the night of Lowe's Snow White Oscar debacle, etc...)
Lowe is a great mimic, and the fact that the book comes to life when he quotes dialogue points right to the heart of the problem -- good actors don't necessarily make good narrators. All actors can handle dialogue, it's what they do. But when Lowe has to narrate his own unremarkable prose, he flatlines. (His narration put me in mind of Richard Thomas', another good actor who simply can't narrate; I had to bail on his recording of "Heart Of Darkness" after about 15 minutes.)
He has no vocal variety. Whether he's discussing loosing friends on 9/11, his mother's death from cancer, enduring a harrowing audition for Francis Ford Coppola, or finding the love of his life, he never departs from his steady, measured, uninflected, slightly melancholy tone. If it weren't for the fact that his subject matter is sprinkled with tidbits on the rich & famous, his narration would be sleep inducing. (I listened while gardening -- I didn't trust myself to drive.)
Aside from the glittering supporting cast, it's a pretty tepid affair. He enters rehab without seeming to bottom out, and addresses his sex tape scandal without much perspective, and without giving the listener any idea of his mindset at the time he made such a major misjudgment.
The dialogue sections aside, the recording feels workmanlike, and contains a number of stumbles, wrong word stresses, etc... which imply that the actor and the production team just wanted to get it done. Listening, I ultimately began to feel the same way.
He expresses an admirable lack of bitterness and self pity over his various setbacks, but when you're rich, famous, handsome and celebrated, you hardly get major points for not whining.
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