Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guilty Pleasure

There are three reasons why I decided to read Rob Lowe’s autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. 
1)      Another avid reading recommended it.
2)      Curiosity
3)      I am a West Wing junkie and especially loved his character, Sam Seaborn.  (I own all 7 seasons, could kick some serious butt at West Wing trivia and have a daughter named Ainsley…though in my defense my husband suggested the name first).
The West Wing aside, I was not overly familiar with Rob Lowe or his body of work.  I was too young during his “brat pack” days to appreciate St. Elmo’s Fire or About Last Night, though, after reading his book, I think that I might have to fire up the Netflix and watch those two classics.  I have seen him in the Austin Power’s movies and know that he has been in some TV movies.  Other than that, my knowledge is zip, zilch, zero. 

I have to say Stories was actually a pretty interesting book.  While at times I found myself skimming more than reading, Lowe was always able to pull me back in to his story.  The early part of his life was spent in Dayton, Ohio (interesting enough, also where West Wing cast mate Martin Sheen originates), and this is where his love of acting first developed.  After two failed marriages and some (continuing) mental health issues, his mother decided to move the family to Malibu, California…enter the interesting cast of characters that helped shape Lowe’s life and career.  It was here that Lowe became friends with some eventual big name stars.  Long before they were famous, Lowe hung around with Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheet and Sean Penn.  Class clown Robert Downey Jr. shared a high school history class with Lowe.  Then nobody Tom Cruise hung out with Estevez and Lowe as they all worked to break into the business.  To think, those were his childhood friends.  Along the way, Lowe crossed paths with other now household names.  While filming a movie in Chicago, Lowe shared Thanksgiving with a wealthy family and a beautiful teenage girl dressed as a fairy princess.  Not long after this, Daryl Hannah entered the acting world when she starred in the hit movie Splash.  Lots of partying, drinking and sex later, Lowe makes his way through rehab and turns his life around.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Rob Lowe’s life experiences.  Overall, I would have to say that this was an enjoyable, easy read…just be forewarned…if your political leaning are more towards the conservative side (not that there is anything wrong with that), you might want to skim past his political views and participation in various campaigns.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two For One Special

Where does the time go?  Each morning I wake up with great intentions for my day, which seem to always vanish with the blink of an eye.  I honestly think that summers at home with my children are more exhausting than working full-time during the school year!  Well, I have finished two books since my last that was OK and one that provided a great escape.  Maybe one of them will work for your next read. 

Rachel Simon’s Story of a Beautiful Girl has been getting a lot of buzz, but I can’t say that I was in love with this book.  I liked the premise behind the story, but have to admit that at times it really dragged.  The book starts in 1968, when Lynnie and #42 (Homan) escape from a state institution and end up on Martha’s doorstep with a brand new baby girl.  Neither can speak, and thus are unable to communicate the ordeal they have endured to get them to this point.  The stories of these four people, Homan, Lynnie, Martha and the baby, diverge when the officials from the institution find the escapees. As she is being led away, Lynnie speaks volumes to Martha when she utters one word, “hide.”  With that, none of their lives will ever be the same.  The story embarks from here, following the paths taken by each.  Simon takes the reader on a journey that spans thirty years, while also traveling back in time to see how each character ended up needing what only the others can offer.  Overall, this was not an awful book, but it wasn’t one of my favorites either.  It was missing something that made it hard for me to truly connect with any of the characters.

Now and again we all find ourselves needing a little escape, and that is exactly what Emilie RichardsSunset Bridge offers.  Since I was not going to be making it to the beach this year, I decided I would at least travel to the Florida Gulf Coast through the pages of a good book.  What I did not realize when I picked this one up, is that it is actually the third in a series.  While I found it somewhat annoying that  I did not know all the background to these characters’ lives, I didn’t find it annoying to the point that I stopped reading, though at some point I will probably go back and read the previous two books (Happiness Key and Fortunate Harbor).  Sunset Bridge looks at the lives of Tracy, Wanda, Janya, Alice and Maggie.  At the heart of this book the five women are all at a different place in life and facing their own struggle.  Tracy finally has a handle on her new life when she finds herself unexpectedly expecting her first child.  Maggie has walked away from everything important in her life, and doesn’t know what to do with her future.  Janya has been praying for a baby, and suddenly finds herself with two on her doorstep.  Wanda is trying to balance her worries over daughter Maggie with an offer that she never saw coming, and Alice is facing the daunting task of raising a ‘tween granddaughter while also enjoying her golden years.   I am not going to lie, the book is total chick-lit fluff, but none the less is an enjoyable summertime read.