Kirkus Reviews, founded in 1933, is a venerable institution in the media world, serving as the industry bible for bookstore buyers, librarians, and ordinary readers alike for more than 75 years. As part of the Kirkus Book Bloggers Network, a rotating crew of your favorite Popdose writers will grace the virtual pages of Kirkus Reviews Online, taking on the best — and sometimes the worst — in pop-culture and celebrity books. From coffee-table studies to quickie unauthorized bios, if it’s about show biz, it’s fair game.
There are a lot of surprising things about Rob Lowe’s autobiography, but for those who keep an eye open at their local bookseller for the latest celebrity tell-all, one of the most notable things about Stories I Only Tell My Friends is that it’s one of the first times a member of the so-called Brat Pack has dared to put pen to paper—metaphorically speaking anyway—and write the story of their life.
Indeed, only Molly Ringwald has preceded Lowe as an author, and even then, Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick is less a backward glance at her part in the pop culture zeitgeist than a self-help book inspired by her personal experiences as a teenager burgeoning into adulthood.
Lowe, however, looks back and not only fully embraces his place in the Pack but also provides some entertaining and often titillating tales of his life and loves during the ’80s.
After kicking off the proceedings with a discussion of his affinity with and empathy toward JFK Jr., the structure of Stories is chronologically straightforward. For those who think of Lowe’s career as starting with films like The Outsiders, Class and Oxford Blues, the early chapters of the book may prove surprising, as the actor discusses his experiences in television, working on the short-lived sitcom A New Kind of Family and in a couple of Afterschool Specials. It’s the former project where he first finds himself being viewed as a teen idol, most notably during a personal appearance at the fairgrounds in Riverside, Calif. “I don’t know it yet,” Lowe writes of the event, “but I will come to learn that being charged on the African savannah by a rhino is only fractionally more dangerous than being bull-rushed by a gang of fourteen-year-old girls whipped into a lather by hormones, group think, and an overdose of Tiger Beat magazine.”
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