Monday, June 18, 2012

“So I came to the realization: Nothing in life is unfair. It's just life.”

4 out of 5 stars

Raw, personal and eye-opening, Stories I Only Tell My Friends is not your typical celebrity tell-all, in which the star whines and blames those around him/her for his/her current problems. Instead, Rob Lowe simply states "That's the way things were and this was how I handled them. It wasn't smart, but, hey, I didn't know any better." Although, in Rob's case, he would've been perfectly justified in whining a bit, having suffered through a childhood torn apart by divorce, leaving him with a father who was absent from his life most of the time and a mother who, well, to put it nicely, was a flake. A hypochondriac flake who couldn't be bothered to interact with her sons and instead chased fad after fad and man after man. Rob is very generous in ascribing his mother's hands-off behavior to a desire to see him succeed on his own and not the neglect it truly was. Whatever the case, though, his independent childhood served him well (for the most part), powering his drive to succeed which fueled his early, stellar career, a career that looked at though it could only go up...until it imploded in the lat 80's, making him a walking punchline for a time. Yet even in the face of an event which would've totally devastated any other actor, Lowe maintained his ferocious work ethic and sense of humor, allowing him to rise above the tabloid tattle and rebuild his career.

Rob Lowe entered Hollywood during the third Golden Age, when mavericks and innovators such as Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg were the new kids on the block, disrupting the old order and creating their own. As such, Stories I Only Tell My Friends is very much like a typical celeb autobiography in that many famous names are dropped throughout the book. However, and this is again where Lowe's books differs, the name-dropping is never gratuitous. Each person mentioned always played a key role in Lowe's career and it's clear Lowe not only admires his famous friends and acquaintances, even his rivals, he never has a bad word to say about any of them. Which makes Rob Lowe a rarity in Hollywood, an actual gentleman who would rather slog through the mud to reach his goal than sling it around to block anyone else's path.

Granted, you must always take a celebrity's word with a grain of salt. However, Lowe's book comes across as refreshingly honest and un-fake, making it highly readable and immensely enjoyable.

Read October 3-5, 2011
Originally reviewed on Goodreads October 12, 2011

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