The Lowe Down: One More Celebrity Memoir
So I’ve finished Rob Lowe’s Stories I Only Tell My Friends, and for the most part I liked it.
I’ve never been a huge Rob Lowe fan–I’ve liked his more recent work on The West Wing and Parks & Recreation, but one of the things that struck me as I read this book was how many movies he’s made–and how few of them I’ve seen.
Lowe has some funny celebrity stories (is there such a thing as a bad Christoper Walken story?), and his encounter with John Belushi, while brief, seems incredibly sad. The real strength of the book, as far as I was concerned, was two-fold. First, his years growing up in Malibu seem to have given him incredible insight into how privilege and a lack of consequences can lead to truly disastrous outcomes for teens. Second, he really conveyed his lifelong drive to act.
Toward the end, though, the book lost power. I think he knew that there were two things he had to deal with: the sex scandal, and his decision to leave The West Wing. But it really felt like he was reluctant to really open up about either. I didn’t have the sense that he was trying to put himself in an unrealistically good light–more that these are things that are still painful to him. And I can get that, but it’s kind of the point of writing a memoir.
Since I read this on the heels of Melissa Gilbert’s Prairie Tale, it was also interesting to contrast how the two of them talked about their relationship. For Melissa Gilbert, it was clearly one of the defining romances of her life. For Rob Lowe? He barely mentions her name. I get the sense that his approach to talking about his personal life–which is actually quite gentlemanly–is driven by his respect for his wife. But I did kind of feel bad for Melissa Gilbert when I read Lowe’s book.
But it was definitely worth a read. Lowe’s journey to sobriety seems to have led to self-awareness that is less self-absorbed than I had expected. I don’t think you can be Rob Lowe and truly be humble and self-effacing, but he’s clearly aware that there is a real world, and that there are real problems.
And it was a whole lot better than Melissa Anderson‘s book.