(Audio)Book Talk: LOVE LIFE, by Rob Lowe

Love Life
Rob Lowe (Twitter)
Audiobook read by the author
Simon & Schuster (April 2014), Hardcover ( ISBN 1451685718 / 9781451685718)
Nonfiction: memoir/essays, 272 pages
Source: Purchased audiobook (Simon & Schuster (April 2014), Audio ISBN 9781442367340 /Audible ASIN B00HX2WBJG )

audiobook discussion: LOVE LIFE by Rob Lowe (The 3 Rs Blog)

Although I really enjoyed listening to Rob Lowe read his Stories I Only Tell My Friends, to me a couple of years ago, I wasn’t entirely sure about repeating the experience with his second book, Love Life. He’d given his life a pretty thorough going-over in his earlier outing, and I have to admit the title of this one made me a little nervous. While Lowe has been married for over twenty years (and happily so, by his own account, which is the only one that really matters), he’d been around the block quite a few times before that; I wasn’t sure that was precisely what the title of this book was referencing, but if it was, I actually don’t read celebrity memoir for those stories.

So let’s get it out of the way right now: Love Life is not the story of Rob Lowe’s love life. It’s not so much a story, actually—not in the sense that Stories I Only Tell My Friends was, at least. That was a primarily chronological accounting of Lowe’s life and adventures from childhood to the present, as as such was appropriately subtitled “An Autobiography.” Love Life is more of a collection of essays and reflections; it lacks the consistent, unifying theme that would more firmly place it in the vein of memoir, but the stories Lowe tells here keep coming back to what he loves, and what defines his life: his family and his work as an actor.

Love Life has a more episodic structure than Stories…, and that seems to allow Lowe to go deeper into the stories he shares. Veering between the professional and personal arenas, he alternates tales from the trenches of life in the entertainment industry with experiences from the home front with his wife and sons. He expands on his literally life-changing experience in rehab almost a quarter-century ago, and talks frankly about some of his less-than-successful TV ventures after leaving The West Wing. His love for his family—and his awareness of his good fortune in being part of their lives—shines through every mention of them, and those whose own kids are close to leaving the nest will relate to where he and Sheryl are on the road through parenthood. The charm and self-deprecating humor he revealed in Stories… are here as well, but the insights go a little deeper in Love Life, and the storytelling may be just a little better. With over three decades’ experience (!) as an actor, Rob Lowe has long known how to tell other people’s stories, but it’s a great thing for readers that he’s also pretty good at telling his own. I’m looking forward to hearing more of them.

Rating: Book, 3.75 of 5; Audio, 4 of 5

Book description, from the publisher’s website:

When Rob Lowe’s first book was published in 2011, he received the kind of rapturous reviews that writers dream of and rocketed to the top of the bestseller list. Now, in Love Life, he expands his scope, using stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery, and sex and love. 

In Love Life, you will find stories about: 

• kissing unexpectedly
• the secrets they don’t teach you in acting school
• his great-great-great-great-great grandfather’s role in the American Revolution
• Parks and RecreationBehind the Candelabra, and Californication
• trying to coach a kids’ basketball team dominated by helicopter parents
• the hot tub at the Playboy Mansion
• starring in and producing a flop TV series
• camping at Sea World
• playing saxophone for President Bill Clinton
• the first journey to college with his son
• Warren Beatty
• the benefits of marriage 

Throughout this entertaining book, you will find yourself in the presence of a master raconteur, a multi-talented performer whose love for life is as intriguing as his love life.

(I read this as an audiobook and can’t find an online excerpt to quote from, so there’s no “Opening Lines” section in this post, but there’s a link to an audio excerpt on the publisher’s page. Go there and check it out—I’m sure you’ll enjoy having Rob read to you, too.)

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