In Love Life, Rob Lowe goes out of his way not to tread the same ground he did in his first memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, so naturally there’s a sense that much of the juiciest stuff has already been trotted out. But despite the relative lack of new Brat Pack-era scuttlebutt, this book is just as breezily enjoyable as its predecessor.
Where Stories focused on the actor’s rough-and-tumble years as a teenage and twentysomething star — which were filled with youthful indiscretions he indiscreetly related to the reader — Love Life takes as its subject his more muted second act. Like many star autobiographies, it’s constructed as a bunch of loosely connected essays, with no clear through-line. The former Parks and Recreation star writes with perspective and humorous self-effacement; even the perfunctory bits about his family and home life read as more than just rote stabs at humanization. Luckily for us, he also gets into his time in rehab, the sensation of being aboard two sinking-ship TV shows (The Lyon’s Den and Dr. Vegas), the surreal degeneracy of the Playboy Mansion, and a late-night phone call from a clearly off-the-reservation Tom Sizemore screaming about a headless torso — all the while sprinkling in interesting blind items and amusing asides he has gathered in his three-plus decades working in Tinseltown.
It’s not exactly revelatory, and Lowe once again sidesteps certain events that got major ink in the tabloids, such as the dueling lawsuits between Lowe and a former nanny. But merely by coming across as a real human being (albeit with a slightly more attractive professional life), Lowe manages to ably skip over the genre’s low bar of expectations. Plus, how could you possibly dislike a celebrity memoir that contains sentences including “I was now in a full shame spiral involving Barbra Streisand and the president of the United States” and “Pulling up to our industrial complex, there was chaos at the dildo factory”? B+
The Five Best Stories From Lowe’s Love Life
1. He bungled a hookup with Madonna by declining her invitation to dance. “ ‘Suit yourself,’ she replied as she waded beyond the velvet rope into the fray.” He didn’t see her again for 20 years.
2. He didn’t think anything of his girlfriend spending afternoons at Warren Beatty’s house until the day he finally met Beatty, who told him a story about Natalie Wood: “I asked her, ‘Hey, we’re both adults now, what exactly were you doing all those days at Sinatra’s?’ and she looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘Oh, Warren, what do you think we were doing? We were f—ing!’ Isn’t that funny?”
3. He turned down the role of Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy, choosing instead to take the starring role on Dr. Vegas because “Dr. Vegas had the potential to become something more original than a hospital soap.”
4. He met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge the day after his hair had been bleached a scraggly white to play Drew Peterson. “ ‘I can see Hollywood is treating you well,’ said the future king of England drily.”
5. At a fund-raiser for Bill Clinton, Lowe did such a great job faking a saxophone solo that the president sent him a letter congratulating him on his skill and extending “an invitation to play a duet with him on sax next time I was in DC,” Lowe writes.