Tragic Sandwich

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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.


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12 thoughts on “The Lowe Down: One More Celebrity Memoir

  1. You know, I don’t think I’ve seen him in very much, either. He was pretty great in Wayne’s World, but other than that, I can’t think of very much.

    • Um, I say that, but St Elmo’s Fire is in my instant queue, as yet unwatched.

      • You know, I didn’t see St. Elmo’s Fire in its entirety until just a few years ago. I remember bits of Rob Lowe’s role, but what mostly struck me at the time was that Demi Moore seemed typecast for that stage of her life. (I’m not a big fan of hers, either, although I did really like her in A Few Good Men.)

  2. michelle @ this little light on said:

    I was never a big fan of Rob Lowe until West Wing. Absolutely loved him in that!

    I’m stunned that Melissa Sue Anderson wrote a book! Wow.

    On another note, HAPPY SITS DAY!

  3. Sounds like this might be a good beach read for me. I read an excerpt of it in Vanity Fair – and really liked how he talked about getting his role in The Outsiders and his interaction with other up and coming actors.

    I’m not a huge fan of memoirs – since most of the subjects try to re-write their history, shutting out or down the things (like Lowe’s sex scandal) that they don’t want people to remember. I much prefer biographies because I feel when those taboo subjects are discussed, I’m a little more sympathetic to their plight – maybe a better understanding of their mindset at the time and why they did what they did and how it impacted their lives or actions from that moment on.\

  4. I’d be interested to read this. And Prairie Tale. I’m a big fan of Little House.

    Happy SITS Day to you!

  5. Congratulations on your SITS day. I hope it’s a fabulous day for you.

    What an interesting thing, to read this back to back with the other one. I liked him on West Wing. Haven’t seen much else.

  6. How interesting that you read Lowe’s and Gilbert’s books back-to-back, that would create an interesting comparison. I read an excerpt of this book and while it didn’t make me rush out to buy it, I did find it was better written than I expected. I agree with the other commenter… Melissa Sue Anderson wrote a book?? ;-). One I’ve heard is very good is Alison Arngrim’s… Nellie Olsen!

  7. I read the two West Wing chapters in a bookstore, but hadn’t read the rest of the book. Glad to hear it was well written and a good story. I thought the chapters I did read were interesting and the writing was good.

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