This is a well written and very interesting autobiography, which is also a thoughtful exploration of the pitfalls of early and rapid fame and the associated difficulties with staying grounded. The title of this book is appropriate because it often reads like a collection of entertaining stories, but it's pulled together so well that it never feels disjointed.
Rob Lowe emerges as a kind of Forrest Gump character, with connections to many famous people or events over the past thirty years. He gives JFK Jnr the encouragement that he needs to get married, visits the set of an eccentric movie that he thinks has promise (the first Star Wars), hangs out with Presidential candidates, even sits next to the 9/11 hijackers on their rehearsal flight.
The book is crammed with amusing anecdotes and recollections of a massive array of stars. Tom Cruise impresses Rob early with his robotic, intense but friendly personality. Bill Murray randomly invites him to hang out in his hotel room. Daryl Hannah shows up as a nineteen year old virgin who is saving herself for Jackson Browne (a man she has never met). John Belushi warns him to keep out of nightclubs. A youthful Charlie Sheen is a conspiracy-theory freak who sometimes wears a bulletproof vest under his clothes to school. There are even walk ons by Hollywood legends like Cary Grant - who plies Rob with aftershave - and Frank Sinatra.
Rob is selective with what he discloses and if you're looking for smutty revelations you will be largely disappointed. While he certainly doesn't hide the fact that he well and truly indulged in women, alcohol and drugs, nor does he spill any graphic details. Towards the end when he talks about his time on The West Wing, you also feel that he's holding back a lot about how things really went down.
So many of Lowe's early co-stars went on to become huge stars: Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze. Rob talks about the difficulties in plotting a Hollywood career, the roles he missed out on and the mistakes that he made along the way, in a way that's both honest and lacking in self-pity. It's clear that while he's never commanded the respect that he so yearned for, that he has found peace with where he's now at. At one point he wryly comments, "no one is likely to take a nineteen year old as pretty as I was seriously".
I found this book highly readable but also surprisingly thought provoking. I recommend it.
on 8 June 2011
If you have got as far as checking reviews for this book I assume you're something of a Rob Lowe fan and know much of the life story. So am I. I don't usually read autobiographies, as I tend to be disappointed that they don't live up to my (perhaps unreasonable!) expectations of that person. In this case, the book surpassed them.
As an 80s teen with the St Elmo's "sax poster" on my wall, I had a crush on Rob Lowe. On reading this book, I found myself feeling an echo of the same symptoms again(!), but for different reasons. His honest, highly intelligent, self-deprecating account of his life reads like it is written by a man who knows he has been exceptionally fortunate in many respects and values this and his family above all. I won't pull any spoilers, but will say that the book is a charmingly candid account of a sometimes difficult life and up-and-down career, and feels relatively free of the legal gagging you sometimes get a sense of in autobiographies.
At times, it reads like a roll-call of Hollywood's finest from the 80s but in an engaging rather than arrogant way. At others, there is stark honesty, for example about alcohol issues and dealing with fame and all its pros and cons at such a young age. If I have any criticism, it is that the most recent years of his life are given less focus and in some ways skimmed over (being in the UK I would like to have had more than a short paragraph on his stint here in theatre, perhaps), but that is relatively minor.
In short, it is a riveting read and highly recommended. And I can't help thinking there are a few more stories that couldn't be included that would be fascinating to hear...
on 27 May 2011
Rob Lowe's many fans won't need encouraging to buy this memoir: they'll find it cleverly well written, pacey and entertaining. Lowe's unflinching emotional honesty and his readiness to throw a real (verbal) punch, not a stage one, might come as more of a surprise. This isn't a sentimental self-advertisement from a vain film star. Far from it, it's an engaging and uplifting account of one man's discovery of a 'right way' to live, and deserves to reach a much wider audience than his fan base. For those interested in language, it's also a fascinating opportunity to see the gap that's opening up between 'English' English and this, the colloquial English of a very articulate educated American.
In the final chapters of his book, Rob Lowe looks forward to a future with more acting and wider challenges, including writing; not for the first time, I recognise an uncanny parallel between Lowe and his distinguished predecessor, Dirk Bogarde, who also 'graduated' as an author of great distinction. On this evidence, we may hope for good things to come.
Rob Lowe's newest book, 'Love Life' was the first book of his I have read. I was surprised by the intelligent, insightful writing, and thought it an excellent book. I have just finished his first book, 'Stories I Only Tell My a Friends', and while it was good, his second book is far superior.
Rob Lowe started life in Ohio. He had a wonderful life until his father and mother divorced, and life became difficult. There was always enough food and clothes, but his mother became involved in a lifestyle of ultra cleanliness and strange health precautions. She married three times, and after the second marriage failed,she moved her sons to Malibu, California. This was the land of independence for Rob. At age 15, he had his first role as an actor, his best friends were the Sheen boys. As he grew older, his career took off, and we move along with him.
Rob talks about his career, his roles in films and television. We hear about the masters where he learned his craft of acting. We also hear about his love life, and what a life. Many girls, including Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Melissa Gilbert, and so many others. We also meet the true love of Rob's life, his wife, Sheryl. We hear about their romance and marriage, and then their two sons, Matthew and John Owen. One of the most interesting of stories is his life while acting in 'The West Wing'. It sounds like he got a bad deal, but he enjoyed his time while there.
Rob Lowe shares a lot of his life, glosses over the negative aspects, and concentrates on the positive. The Brat Pack makes good.
on 7 July 2014
Like many young female fans, I had the 1980's Rob Lowe poster, I watched The Outsiders, loved Class and had St. Elmo's Fire on a loop. This autobiography is at its best when sharing his stories about his younger years - Lowe had an unconventional upbringing. As a kid he wants to be an actor, and so it is a strange twist of fate that brings him into contact with Hollywood. I enjoyed hearing about his teenage days - hard to believe the girls weren't flocking around him, but he explains it well enough. It is kind of sad that so many actors from The Brat Pack never got to show their talents later on in their careers, in a way that would fulfil the potential they showed. For Lowe who was as talented as he was, and is still, handsome, he found it hard to shake off that 'pretty boy' tag enough to have the career that Brad Pitt has enjoyed. I was disappointed there wasn't more detail about his TV career, and of course, the story does hint at scandal but there isn't really any here. You get the feeling that is out for respect for his wife and young sons, which is fine. We are just so used to brutal and frank. I am still a huge fan, and to me About Last Night will always be something magical. Perhaps I am better off not knowing too much.......................PS If you think Rob is handsome you have never seen his dad!
on 31 May 2011
This is a very well written book which flows well and is easy to read. If you are interested in the 80's and the phenomenon of the Brat Pack this is for you. It is also interesting to see the perpspective of one of lifes beautiful people on his own persona.
on 18 October 2012
I wasn't sure what to think of this when I bought it, but I certainly didn't expect what we get. In the first half of the book as he reccounts his completely focused journey to being an actor I was totally inspired by his drive, energy and downright refusal to believe he would be anything else. Lowe doesn't pity himself anywhere and is completely honest about the mistakes he made in his life, as a younger person wondering what I'm going to get from life I couldn't help but take note to work harder and not give up.
There are parts of the book which feel like he has held back, especially towards the end, but personally I think that even if someone is a celebrity or moviestar much of their life is really none of our business and I'm just thankful for what he has told us. Some of the stories about his shenaghians from his early life and the unknowing beginning of the 'Brat Pack' are hilarious. I especially liked the part of the book on 'The Outsiders' and I really enjoyed reading about his friendships with the other boys and their awe of an unbelieveably cool Matt Dillon and, of course, Patrick Swayze.
Lowe also tells the reader all about the world of Hollywood and film, how casting works (the casting for The Outsiders sounded horrific) as well as trying to explain how he acts and contrasting it with others. The later part about the Westwing was really interesting too and I've never even watched the TV show.
Overall this book was a brillant read, really funny in places and I was actually sad to see it end. The book itself is also written very well and I like that the actor has pretty much written it himself so it feels very authentic. Highly recommended :)
on 29 November 2014
I think I fell for the hype on this one. As a fan of biographies and someone who grew up in the 80's I thought this would be interesting. Especially reading the gushing press release on the books jacket.
'Most eagerly anticipated autobiography of the year',
'Unforgettable stories of wild excess',
'One of a kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last 25 years'
'A major publishing event'.
Sorry but this book definitely fails to live up to the hype. Luckily I only paid 1p plus P+P for it.
To be fair it is written by the man himself (I don't waste my time with unofficiated biographies) and he has had a fairly interesting life, but then again most celebrities have. And with most celebrities he seems to have fallen into the trap of believing that events which were for him life changing must also have been momentous to the rest of the world. This is something I've found with many celebrity autobiographies.
Anyway to sum it up without giving anything away its really one for the fans only. As someone who just wanted to read an interesting and entertaining life story I'm can't rate it more than 5/10.
on 5 September 2011
I read this book in around four days which is testament to its "grab" factor and prose style which is very engaging and light (a bit like Mr Lowe himself). He plays a walk on part in some of the lives of some of the most famous people on the planet at times (Cruise, Demi, the Sheens) during his rise to fame and fortune and yet we never really get to know what he thinks of any of them. He is almost 100% gracious and gallant with his stories (which are both fascinating and frustrating as he whizzes by them with a lack of detail) and thereby hangs the whole of his persona. Under that pretty boy exterior which he freely admits has hampered him in his career when it came to being taken seriously he is one of the hardest boiled business people I've ever read. He always his eye on the next big thing and ergo is careful not to burn bridges. it would have been nice to understand his friendship with the Sheens in more detail especially when Charlie (a wannabe baseball player) starts starring in mainstream Hollywood epics (glossed over) and Tom Cruise (a friend from before fame almost) becomes well, he becomes Tom Cruise. A lot of this book focuses on his single minded pursuit of his dreams and he ultimate frustration when his dream becomes his prison and leads him to alcoholism (no detail) and redemption through the love of his family (no real detail). He's witty and grandiose in his writing and the cryptic tribute to Arnold Schwarzenegger in the book jacket ( a staunch Republican and political polar opposite of Lowe's unabashed Democrat) is again a frustrating reminder (no mention at all of Arnie in 300 pages) what this book could have been, it's excellent but could have been brilliant. I grew up wanting to be Rob Lowe. I still do, but nowhere near as much.
I was torn between 3 and 4 stars on this one, but went with three because there are areas in this where Rob Lowe is obviously holding back, this is especially true of his telling of his time with West Wing where you feel much is unsaid.
But Lowe is generally frank and honest with self awareness and with strong writing ability. This is no kiss and tell, but the story of his journey and the astonishing people he meets. It does give you the impression that in Hollywood everyone knows each-other and it is like a small club. He bumps into people who are famous (or will become famous) with astonishing ease but tells his tales in an interesting rather than a name dropping style. He does cover his battles with sex addiction and booze although not in the depth he could have done.
So overall and interesting, well written autobiography, but it could have been so much more....