As a child of the 1980s, I am quite familiar with all the teen idols of my day.
While grocery shopping with my mom as a young teenager, I could easily be spotted trying to flip open the pages of Tiger Beat to catch a glimpse of the heartthrobs of the day: Rick Springfield, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and, of course, Rob Lowe.
S.E. Hinton's wildly popular coming of age novel "The Outsiders" (1967) was one of the most gripping books I had read at the tender age of 12. Imagine how enthralled I was when the movie was made in the same year I had actually read the book. Naturally, the film was cast with many of the most handsome, talented actors of the '80s. Rob Lowe's portrayal of Sodapop Curtis was impossible not to swoon over.
Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of "The Outsiders" launched the beginning of a long career for Lowe of mostly (if I'm honest) mediocre films: "Hotel New Hampshire," "Oxford Blues," "St. Elmo's Fire," "About Last Night," "Wayne's World" and the Austin Powers films. Lowe also starred in the critically acclaimed NBC political drama, "The West Wing," as Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn. It was well done and a favorite show of mine in the early 2000s.
As a reader, I was intrigued when Lowe wrote his autobiography, "Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography," in 2011. It received good press and favorable reviews. Recently, while browsing the Missouri River Regional Library's hoopla app, I noticed the book was available in audiobook and read by Lowe himself.
I decided to give it a listen.
I would never argue Lowe is a great actor, and, in fact, I am embarrassed to admit I find him irresistibly handsome. After listening to Lowe's life story, it's now clear to me he was often judged and dismissed as someone who had nothing to offer beyond his looks.
Don't underestimate him.
Lowe's writing is solid and interesting. His narration is great. The book is equal parts celebrity dish and personal revelation. Lowe has overcome his share of personal hardships ranging from a strange and troubled childhood to a battle with alcoholism in his 20s. Lowe is proud of his 30-year marriage and the two sons he and his wife have lovingly raised together.
The strength of character Lowe demonstrates as he navigates the life of a Hollywood star, and his ongoing search for meaning, made this nine-hour audiobook time well spent. This book's appeal is perhaps somewhat limited to those who remember the Brat Pack, and for those who do, there is plenty to ponder and enjoy.
(In case you were wondering, hoopla is a groundbreaking digital media service offered by Missouri River Regional Library that allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet or phone.)
Claudia Cook is director of the Missouri River Regional Library.