Monday, January 30, 2012

Stories I Only Tell My Friends (Rob Lowe)

If there was one book that I was truly skeptical to read, it would be Stories I Only Tell My Friends. I don’t think any person in America would consider the person who starred in St. Elmo’s Fire, About Last Night, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me to be some literary genius. Well, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Herman Melville Lowe is not. However, you do get the surprise read of 2011…a very well-written, wildly entertaining, and completely honest assessment of his life thus far.

Lowe is honest but never hurtful and gossipy. He name drops like crazy, from John F. Kennedy, Jr. to Demi Moore to the father/sons trio of Martin Sheen, Charlie Sheen, and Emilio Estevez. How cool must it have been to go to school with those brothers and Sean Penn? The auditioning for and making of the classic The Outsiders is, by far, the highlight of the book. Lowe provides incredibly surprising details, especially regarding the finished film. My heart ached to read about the late Patrick Swayze, also in The Outsiders, as I had just read Lisa Niemi Swayze’s memoir. This film started the careers of Lowe, Estevez, Swayze, The Karate Kid himself Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, and someone else you may have heard of by the name of Tom Cruise.

You get the sense that Lowe is much, much more than what he has been portrayed in the media. Yes, he is a “pretty boy”, but he also is a sensitive and intelligent soul. We are very lucky that he considers us “friends” to tell these stories to, and lucky for us, he is a darn good writer!


I don't know why I've been so gung ho for memoirs and biographies lately, but there's no end in sight. Coming soon: books about the Obamas and Queen Elizabeth!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Worth Fighting For (Lisa Niemi Swayze)

Patrick Swayze. For my generation, he was Johnny Castle who was angry that Baby was in the corner. He was the oldest brother in The Outsiders, which started the career of so many actors of our time. He competed with Chris Farley in the Chippendale dance off on Saturday Night Live. He was larger than life, a darn good actor, and from what we could see, an all-around great guy.

Lisa Niemi and Patrick Swayze were married for thirty-four years. This was a lifetime considering that nowadays more than 50% of marriages end in divorce. 34 years in Hollywood? Practically unheard of. But this unlikely pairing of two dancers, one painfully shy and one a cocky hunk, made it...through good times and bad, through sickness and health. Patrick's life, as we all know, was cut far too short from pancreatic cancer. Worth Fighting For: Love, Loss, and Moving Forward, by Lisa Niemi Swayze, is their story of this journey through the unknown.

There is a blurb on the cover from Barbara Walters. It reads, "You will be the better for reading this book." There is something about Ms. Swayze's writing that reads so utterly honest. At times, she is laugh-out-loud funny and at other times she is heartbreakingly raw. At no time does she mince words. You will marvel at their strength, admire their courage, and revel in their love story.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Bossypants (Tina Fey)

I am ridiculously stringent on how I read a book. For example, I must read the inside of the book jacket, the back of the jacket, and the that order!! Sometimes I even read the acknowledgments, having no clue who the people are! I'm so glad I followed my routine for this book, however, because the blurbs on the back let you know exactly what you're getting into. There are no blurbs of praise from Picoult, Grisham, or Patterson in Bossypants. Instead, Don Fey, father of TF, writes "I hope that's not the cover. That's really going to hurt sales." Tina Fey...she of Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock fame...has written one of the most hilarious books I've read in a heck of a long time.

There really is no rhyme and reason to this book. Each chapter features Fey's thoughts and harps on some aspect of her life...growing up, her family, marriage, motherhood, and her TV jobs. I love how she includes photos of herself from awkward phases of her life (come on...we all have pictures with bowl cuts and '80s bangs). Some chapters are quite long, and one is three sentences. It really doesn't matter. Fey is laugh-out-loud funny in all of them.

I realized that what I like best about Tina Fey is the fact that she doesn't take herself too seriously. She clearly admits to many faults, such as her fear of confrontation (of which I totally relate as I cannot even watch Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity when people yell at each other). I found her hilarious as Palin and was thrilled to find out in Bossypants that she wrote my all-time favorite SNL commercial ("Mom" jeans)! This is a great read to take some stress out of your life (believe me...Fey has enough stress for everyone) and just laugh. Because in the end, what's life without laughter?