Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography (Review)

Book cover for "Stories I Only Tell My Friends" by Rob Lowe.Title: Stories I Only Tell My Friends

Author/Narrator: Rob Lowe

Publication Year: 2011

Pages: 320 (audio length: 9 hours 11 minutes)

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoirs

Source: Audiobook version purchased from

From the cover:

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.

Nominated in category: “Narration by the Author or Authors”

When I was a teenager, there was a period where I tried to watch The West Wing, but it didn’t last very long. I watched a few episodes, and while I really enjoyed it, I never really got into it as a regular thing. When I picked up this audiobook for the Armchair Audies, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. What else had Rob Lowe done besides The West Wing?

Yes, yes, I know … there’s more to Rob Lowe than this television show. But I didn’t really know that until I listened to this book! Maybe it’s a generational thing, or because I just never happened to see anything else with him in it, but that’s pretty much where my knowledge ended.

Anyways, even without knowing much about his work, I found it interesting listening to Stories I Only Tell My Friends. It was like stepping into the world of Hollywood actors and actresses for a few hours, listening in on their reminiscences from auditions, work, and random encounters. Most of the time, it was just interesting reading about things that went on behind the scenes, but from time to time, it was also amusing or poignant.

Having said that, I also found the way that people were mentioned to be a bit like name-dropping. Maybe that really is how things go in the kind of circles that Lowe was in even from a young age, but it just seemed too convenient at times. And even when it was stories from when he was older and more established, and thus more realistic, it sometimes still felt gratuitous. Yes, the stories were interesting, but does Lowe really not have much to say about other people in his life who aren’t famous? Or did he just not think those stories would be as interesting?

In the end, this was an interesting read and Lowe’s narration was good: well-paced and with a great voice. But it’s probably only going to be interesting for you if you’re interested in Hollywood or a behind-the-scenes look at the life of an actor (Rob Lowe in particular). If that strikes your fancy, go for it! Stories I Only Tell My Friends isn’t a literary masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s well-written and gives readers a glimpse of a life they will likely never know.


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