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Stories I Only Tell My Friends

An Autobiography
Written by: Rob Lowe
Narrated by: Rob Lowe
Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Audible Editor Reviews

Prepare to be amazed by the many ways this book and its author are better than you thought they would be. Everybody knows that Rob Lowe is very handsome, and that he spent a long time being a Hollywood wild child. Now in his 40s, Lowe’s reflections on his life thus far demonstrate a remarkably responsible perspective and a refreshingly self-deprecating look at how he ended up in the better state of mind he inhabits today. While the headlines and high notes may come and go, Lowe remains a devoted husband and proud father.

This listen is a small miracle for many reasons. It’s not simply the fact that Lowe reveals himself as capable of compelling writing, which he certainly does. It’s also not merely the path of the narrative that’s intriguing, though that’s definitely the case. Whether he is spending several chapters thoroughly reminiscing about the many lessons he learned during The Outsiders or sharing a quick anecdote about trying to meet Liza Minnelli when he was a little kid, Lowe indeed offers up a terrific set of insights about both life and stardom. He proves himself as a generous spirit, with strong thanks for Martin Sheen and solid praise for Patrick Swayze.

His narration is clearly heartfelt, and never comes across as phony or acted. This listen feels like a casual dinner conversation, minus the slick descent into rumor-mongering that usually rears its ugly head in memoirs of this variety. Lowe manages to steer clear of the blame game when analyzing the simultaneous blessing and curse of the Brat Pack label or his decision to leave The West Wing, and even finds some gracious adjectives for Tom Cruise. Be on the lookout for eerily spot-on impersonations of many stars, including a particularly good Christopher Walken and Matt Dillon.

In the end, it’s hard to put a finger on what makes this book so utterly fascinating. There isn’t anything shocking in the subject matter; there isn’t any mud-flinging in the tone; there is very little that stands out as an exclamation point. Yet the total package undeniably and irresistibly triumphs at being genuinely charming. This is ironic, because the book then actually sort of mirrors Lowe’s career. He’s spent the last two decades trying to upend the idea that he is simply a pretty face. The book succeeds in that endeavor, just as his several iconic film roles have done, and yet the shallow type-casting of Rob Lowe somehow too frequently persists. It’s true that he is a very dreamy guy, but this memoir absolutely proves that he is also intelligent, worldly, witty, and political. It’s an excellent listen that ought to once and for all put an end to the notion the Rob Lowe’s charisma is only skin deep. —Megan Volpert

Publisher's Summary

A wryly funny and surprisingly moving account of an extraordinary life lived almost entirely in the public eye. A teen idol at 15, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at 20, and one of Hollywood's top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor in Ohio who was uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-70s Malibu, where he embarked on his unrelenting pursuit of a career in Hollywood. The Outsiders placed Lowe at the birth of the modern youth movement in the entertainment industry. During his time on The West Wing, he witnessed the surreal nexus of show business and politics, both on the set and in the actual White House. And in between are deft and humorous stories of the wild excesses that marked the 80s, leading to his quest for family and sobriety.

Never mean-spirited or salacious, Lowe delivers unexpected glimpses into his successes, disappointments, relationships, and one-of-a-kind encounters with people who shaped our world over the last 25 years. These stories are as entertaining as they are unforgettable.

©2011 Robert Lowe (P)2011 Macmillan Audio

What the critics say

"[Lowe] writes viscerally and insightfully...He looks back at the aberrant highs of his heart-throb days, the changing nature of stardom in Hollywood, the trade-off he has made between high life and home life, and the step-by-step effort behind his show business survival. He looked like the callowest kid in the "Outsiders" crew. Now he looks like the sturdiest of them all" ( The New York Times)
"A fresh pop-culture history of Hollywood in the ’70s and ’80s from the point of view of the man who lived it…[Lowe] is as funny as he is thoughtful. This is the best type of celeb memoir, because its author is as interested in the world as the world is interested in him." ( People Magazine)
"A lovely autobiography, equal parts dish and pathos.” ( Vanity Fair)

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Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Surprised how good this is,

I’ve been a fan of Rob Lowe for years, especially in his early career as many of us young girls were. I found this book to be so well written, I was actually pleasantly surprised at his skill as a writer! His presentation is funny and poignant easy to follow and very telling of how life for a young star moulded him into who he is today. I loved it!

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New Perspective

I listened to this book after recently finishing a few other biographies - David Space, Arnold Schwarzenegger etc. While I felt either unchanged or to have lost respect for those individuals after getting through their books, I feel as though I have a greater level of respect for Rob after finishing this one. There is some honesty, realness, truth and insight in this book which helps appreciate the life he's lived, his understanding of his place in the industry, and how a life of success can have drawbacks. Also great that he read the book himself as well.

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  • Val
  • 2018-09-19

I could not put it down!

I always love books that are read by the author. Rob Lowe is very entertaining. His stories of the struggles of an actor and his personal growth experience are very heart warming and relatable. This book is easy listening and very entertaining. #Audible1

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Well read and well written

Having an author read his own words makes for a gripping story. Rob is honest and has years of experience in the film industry, all of which make a fine tale worth listening to. #Audible1

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Well that was revealing.

Growing up through the Rob Lowe years we certainly were given a different perspective of this man. I’m so happy to hear his side.

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thoroughly enjoyed it

excellent read. very well spoken. well worth buying. loved to hear about all the starts he met in his life. very surprised

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Natalie J. Belle MD
  • 2011-04-30

Great Book and Great Story

Rob Lowe can add "superb storyteller" to his resume with this book. He keeps your attention, in many instances, he leaves you astonished at the twists and turns of his life. You may find yourself asking, "how was he there in that place?" For someone under the age of 50, he has been close to events and people who have made a significant and lasting impact on our times and culture essentially by being a good-looking actor who has taken on astonishing roles that were not "lost" on him. He gives a great accounting of his life at many vantage points from his 5-year-old childhood impressions to his "brat pack" celebrity and into the clarity of adulthood. This is a very interesting and absorbing read from a most unexpected source.

46 of 57 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris - Audible
  • 2012-04-17

Believe the hype

Would you listen to Stories I Only Tell My Friends again? Why?

It's unlikely I would listen again, but not because there is anything wrong with this book or this narration. Lowe's memoir is phenomenal and his narration is near-perfect. There are just so many other books out there I haven't yet listened to, I don't see myself doing a re-listen.

What does Rob Lowe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His voice adds a lot. To hear him tell his stories in his tone, at his pace, with his inflections, makes the entire thing much more relatable. After listening, I felt like we were buddies.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I had the time, I would have tried. It went very quickly, and I was sad when it was over.

Any additional comments?

I now want to watch The West Wing start-to-finish on DVD because of Rob Lowe.

35 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • UWSMusic
  • 2011-05-17

Who would think? The best audiobook of 2011

I wasn't expecting this, but this was my best listen is a long, long time. Rob Lowe has great stories, shows great heart and his narration is as good as it gets. Highly, highly recommended.

34 of 44 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathy
  • 2011-05-04

Amazing Story Teller

I'm 32 yrs old so I kind of missed the whole "Brat Pack" craziness at its peak but I've been a fan of many movies these labeled actors have starred in, but Rob Lowe wasn't one of those actors I really followed. I am actually a bigger fan of his brother Chad (who in my teens was a star on the TV show Life Goes On and a accomplished director now) but after seeing Rob on Oprah I was curious about his book.

Intriguing, captivating, fascinating are some of the words I use to describe his story telling. You really feel like your at a dinner party with him as he's telling amazing story after story. He narrates the book himself and I had no idea he is so good at impersonations (his Matt Dillion, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, & Christopher Walken are dead on). He dishes a bit about the celebs he worked with and hung out with. He is honest about his perceptions of these people without ever being disrespectful. You do learn a TINY bit about Charlie Sheen and get a glimpse that the guy we know about today has always been there. In addition to the hollywood stories are some really good lessons to be learned about celebriety & notoriety as well as coming to peace with who you are and not who others perceive you as.

I am now a Rob Lowe fan!

24 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Mel
  • 2012-03-17

"Zeitgeist"--Not Just a Smashing Pumpkins Album

Polite, mildly entertaining, smartly written story of not only a "pretty" boy, but an intelligent and matured survivor--surprisingly free of self-importance and handled with class. I remember that video scandal--much more of a career derailer than touched on in this book--and admire the fact that Lowe realized, that in spite of the hubris-fueled "zeitgeist" of today, no one needed another lurid star tell-all....spewing raunchy details of sexual encounters, fun-with-drugs, or degrading name dropping and outting of colleagues. It is clear that Lowe doesn't relish those "good old days", but rather has gained enough wisdom to appreciate that he survived them, and that he values his life, opportunities, friends, and family.
Lowe shows real talent as a writer and does a nice job of narrating his work. He admittedly walked a hair-line tightrope between destruction and peace; it's not always about the journey--sometimes it is the destination, and he seems to finally be in a very very good place.

22 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Happily Retired
  • 2019-01-25

Who knew?

I’ve always enjoyed his acting, but what a pleasant surprise to learn that he is not just a talented actor, but also a man with a remarkable depth of passion for his art, his family and his friends. His narration is top notch.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Shelly Dee
  • 2019-01-21

Fascinating

Fascinating inside telling of not so much gossip but what goes on behind the scenes and what it takes to create a movie / TV series. Lots of Lowe's life, of course, and his amazing route to get to where he is today. Incredible but not gossipy anecdotes about other actors and ancillary staff/agent(s). Glad I bought this Audible book 1/21/19.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mary e
  • 2018-09-08

Fun read

A little self-serving in parts, but what do you expect when it's a book about yourself? I liked hearing his stories and now I can impress my friends with deep cut fun facts about Rob Lowe.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eco-Emancipator
  • 2012-11-02

Surprisingly awesome

Which character – as performed by Rob Lowe – was your favorite?

This is a hard one... maybe Bill Clinton.

Any additional comments?

I've never been much of a Rob Lowe fangirl, despite being the right age, but I did like him in Californication, and the reviews here were good, so I thought I would check it out, and I'm glad I did. As everyone said, his impersonations were spot on, but more importantly, Stories I Only Tell My Friends has heart. Rob was funny, smart, thoughtful, and also respectful and kind when it came to pretty much everyone he has worked with. What's not to like? He may have just won me over.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • TurtlesRMe
  • 2011-05-07

Funny, insightful, & breautifully written!

I hate to admit it, but I was very surprised to find the writing by Mr. Lowe to be so deep. The account of his interesting life would be an entertaining read. However, his thoughtful, near-philosophical written analysis of his path to maturity is beautiful. Several times, I thought, "The writer of this book could easily have been a very successful writer!" His choice of words is almost poetic at times. Who knew Mr. Lowe had these hidden talents! Listening to the audio adds depth...his own emphasis and emotion about his own life! GREAT READ!

19 of 28 people found this review helpful