I read Rob Lowe’s first book Stories I Only Tell My Friends back in 2012 for Cannonball Read 4. I remember enjoying it quite a bit, so much so that when I became aware of his second memoir, Love Life I immediately added it to my to read list.
Where Stories I Only Tell My Friends had a somewhat linear structure, Love Life does not. Rather, it reflects the things left over from his previous outing. Lowe focuses on his time on West Wing, the years and series that followed, and his family life. When Lowe hits his storytelling stride, there are fantastic chapters – I suggest this book to you for the chapter containing the story about scaring his sons and nephews with Bigfoot – but when he doesn’t this reader was left with the feeling of “haven’t you already told me this, not five minutes ago?”
There can also feel like there is no real narrative arc, no toehold that ties this stories together. By the time you get further into the book the idea that these are all ideas framed around the idea of loving your own life, even when it is difficult or leaving you sad starts to come together. And perhaps about being brave, and making memories, because that’s all we really have. But, sometimes it rings a little hollow, and other times its all very true.
I had a tough time getting into this work, because I am not a parent, and I’m not yet in my middle years. The first third of the book revolves around Lowe’s feelings about his children leaving the nest, particularly his eldest son heading off to college. I had a tough time sinking into these insights and stories, because so little of it felt relevant, and Lowe didn’t do the work to make it so. It also felt very meandering. Things did tighten up as the book went on.
I would suggest this to you if you are a Rob Lowe fanatic, or love a Hollywood memoir. And if you do pick it up, I suggest audio format so you can hear Lowe’s Bigfoot impersonation. It’s worth the price of admission.
This book was read and reviewed as part of the charitable Cannonball Read.