Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Stay Gold, Sodapop

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe
Reviewed by Diane K. M.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This was a surprisingly enjoyable read. I generally avoid celebrity memoirs, but I saw a nice excerpt from Rob Lowe's latest one, "Love Life," about how emotional he was when his son went away to college, and decided to give his first autobiography a chance.

I am a child of the 80s, so I grew up with Lowe's movies and those of the so-called Brat Pack. The Outsiders was popular when I was a kid, and I also liked St. Elmo's Fire and About Last Night. Lowe's book had good behind-the-scenes stories about those movies and others, and he was frank about his womanizing and drinking problem back then. One sobering story occurred when Rob was about 14 and he met John Belushi at a party. When Belushi heard that Rob wanted to be an actor, Belushi said, "Stay out of the clubs." Rob wrote, "I should have listened. Instead, I got my first agent."

Lowe also describes how he got his start in acting, and his early friendships with Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, C. Thomas Howell, and every other 80s movie star you can think of. One of my favorite chapters was about making The Outsiders, in which Rob played Sodapop, and how close the cast became during a long shoot in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Unfortunately, a lot of Rob's scenes were cut from the 1983 movie, but 20 years later, Francis Ford Coppola made a director's cut that restored a lot of that footage, and was more faithful to the S. E. Hinton novel.

Rob admits he had a reputation for partying in the 80s, but his redemptive moment came after he met Sheryl, the woman who has been his wife since 1991. He went to rehab and maintained his sobriety, and he has continued to do good work in movies and TV. (I thought he was great on The West Wing and Parks & Recreation.) 

Overall, this was a nice, diverting read -- an excellent start to summer.

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