Stories I Only Tell My Friends about My Life In Show Business
I don’t really watch the West Wing, and I can’t name anything else that Rob Lowe has been in, but I did know that his book, Stories I Only Tell My Friends was coming out. I love celebrity memoirs, and even though I am not a Dick Van Dyke fan, I recently really enjoyed his book, My Life In Show Business so I decided to give Rob Lowe a chance, too. My reviews are actually polar opposites, which is why I decided to highlight that in a DOUBLE review!
Dick Van Dyke had me by the prologue. What a charming guy! I used to watch reruns of the Dick Van Dyke show on Nick at Night when Nickelodeon would show TV Land stuff late into the evening after all the other kids had gone to sleep. Again, I am no Dick Van Dyke fan, but I tried out his memoir anyway, and it was delightful! Dick really just told his story, at times it was boring, at times exciting, but it always felt honest. He just tells the story of his good-natured self, and how he loves what he does, and really fell into show business. I learned, through this memoir, that he even struggled with alcoholism, addiction, and a failed marriage, but he is always so forth right and honest, and it never seemed like he was trying to shock you with these stories. I loved hearing about his experience on the Dick Van Dyke show, what is what like to work with Walt Disney. It was a very PG book, but I just adored it, again, a good beach read.
On to Rob Lowe…..what a pretentious prick! As with Dick Van Dyke, I have really no prior knowledge of him, but I certainly didn’t have anything against him until I started this book. From the very beginning, he sounds like an asshole, he might not actually be one, but he sounds like one. First of all, he starts off all his anecdotal stories that apparently he only tells his friends (which I don’t believe) as if he is about to recite a monologue, “I am ten years old and sitting at the dinner table with my parents. I feel the tension.” Can’t you just tell your story? It just seems to make it even more conceited.
SECONDLY, he thinks he is way cool because he has met about a million famous people (because duh, he is famous) and he wants to tell you about every single one of them. But Rob Lowe doesn’t just want to dish some good dirt with you a la Kathy Griffin, or give an honest account like Mr.Van Dyke, Rob Lowe is actually, laughably, trying to impress you just by name droppin! It is hilarious and annoying, ALL AT ONCE! Rob Lowe, I EXPECT you to know famous people, it doesn’t make you extra cool. He describes hanging out with the Penn brothers and Charlie and Emilio Estevez, and as if you haven’t already put it together, Martin Sheen is huge at this point in time. But just in case you hadn’t, Rob Lowe is going to remind you that he hung out at Martin Sheen’s house like a bagillion times. And just in case you didn’t know, Rob Lowe is also going to remind you that it was right around the time that Martin Sheen’s biggest movie came out, Apocalypse Now. Don’t you think Rob Lowe is SO much cooler now? Yeah, me neither.
He also does this REALLY annoying thing where he starts describing an encounter with someone “When I was fourteen I had a lunch scheduled by my agent with a girl my age named Sarah…” Then he goes on to talk about the lunch, and at the very last sentence he will say something like “….30 years later at the golden globes I was so happy to see my old friend Sarah winning for her role in Sex and the City.” WOWWIE WOW ROB, that whole story was about Sarah Jessica Parker? NO WAY? Puh.Lease. That may be cute as one way to name drop, but he does this, I kid you not, 5 times in the first six chapters where he saves the big reveal about how famous the person is for the last sentence. Other victims of this particular unnerving way to name drop include: LeVar Burton, Janet Jackson, and Star Wars.
To top it all off, the entire book just sounds pretentious. Who knows, maybe Rob Lowe really is a great guy in reality, but I honestly cannot picture it. He takes time out of describing an audition on a street called Melrose Place to educate his audience in parentheses, “(yeah, there really is somewhere called Melrose Place.)” Thank you, Rob Lowe. Because actually you are the only person who has ever grown up in Malibu, or been to Los Angeles, for that matter.
Basically, it is impossible for me to not compare these two men who have had an extensive career in show business, having read their books back to back. What I CAN say, is that if I were at a party with my choice to talk to either of these men, it would be Dick Van Dyke, because while Dick is a sweet old man with many a story to tell, Rob Lowe would probably try to impress me by telling me how cool he is for being at a party with Dick Van Dyke.