Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography” as Want to Read:
Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  66,983 ratings  ·  5,489 reviews
A wryly funny and surprisingly moving account of an extraordinary life lived almost entirely in the public eye

A teen idol at fifteen, an international icon and founder of the Brat Pack at twenty, and one of Hollywood's top stars to this day, Rob Lowe chronicles his experiences as a painfully misunderstood child actor in Ohio uprooted to the wild counterculture of mid-seven
Paperback, 308 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 15th 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Stories I Only Tell My Friends, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Lindsey He can probably spell "know" though... …moreHe can probably spell "know" though... (less)
Carolyn what a perfect choice! His truth really rings clear here. He is an excellent writer, a very perceptive human being and the stories are captivating. I'…morewhat a perfect choice! His truth really rings clear here. He is an excellent writer, a very perceptive human being and the stories are captivating. I'm so glad he shared his POV. As for topics-- any artistic angle works, (I am a playwright, actor and painter so his drive for his craft is very inspiring to me); taking on new adventures or following someone through these particular years is a wonderful journey also anyone who has any interest in recovery (every one should actually because addiction recovery is important in every community)(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  66,983 ratings  ·  5,489 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography
Sarah Wilsman
Okay, I have to say that I met Rob in Arizona in the early 90's...and I was very surprised then at how charming, self-deprecating and intelligent he was...and, yes, beautiful...This memoir reveals all of that, although thanks to SNL and West Wing, his wit and intelligence have already been revealed. The best review that I read of this book said that it was a love letter to his wife...and it is. He has matured and I very much enjoyed his look back at the journey thus far.

I also listened to the au
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If there's one thing I dislike about celebrity autobiographies, it's the amount of affectation and pretension that exist within the pages. While Rob Lowe's memoir certainly contains a lot of name dropping, I couldn't really hold that against him — after all, if you're telling the story of how you worked your way up in Hollywood, it'd be hard not to mention the names of other famous people you met along the way.

I haven't seen much of Lowe's work. I've probably seen two or three of his movies, and
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Raising my rating to five stars after this second read because of my enjoyment and the fact that I have I thought of this book quite frequently in the years since I first read it. Rob Lowe is a wonderful storyteller and his life makes for interesting reading!

He has obviously lived a very interesting life, but he is also very good at telling the stories. He manages to share a lot without being gossipy or undermining those around him, which I appreciate. His encounter with Liza Minnelli was partic
Tracy Miller
Just brought this one home yesterday. Yes, I have 4 papers due Monday. Yes, I have a full-time job and two children with many end-of-year activities. But I also have a weakness for celebrity biographies - the trashier the better - and come on. It's ROB LOWE. I'm thinking he's got some stories to tell. Plus, the back cover photo is...well...inspiring. Pure eye candy and the reading is pure mind candy. Awesome.

Well, I'm finished. Rob, what can I say? You dished...sort of. Although the celebrity st
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hollywood, memoirs
This was a surprisingly enjoyable read. I generally avoid celebrity memoirs, but I saw a nice excerpt from Rob Lowe's latest one, "Love Life," about how emotional he was when his son went away to college, and decided to give his first autobiography a chance.

I am a child of the 80s, so I grew up with Lowe's movies and those of the so-called Brat Pack. The Outsiders was popular when I was a kid, ("Stay gold, Ponyboy") and I also loved St. Elmo's Fire and About Last Night. Lowe's book had good behi
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ladies of the 80s
Before I read this book, this was my entire conception of Rob Lowe:

so I was definitely surprised to run across an excerpt of this book in Vanity Fair and realize that Rob Lowe used to be a bona fide star in the 80s. WHAT.

This book is downright hilarious for any number of reasons, but it is also surprisingly fun to read. The section on the making of Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders takes up about 1/4 of the book, and it's absolutely fascinating. If you aren't interested in reading this wh
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe, born in 1964, writes about his personal life and career in this memoir. It's not only an engaging story, it's a good primer for aspiring young actors. The takeaway: be bold, work hard, and avoid scandals.

Lowe has been a devoted husband and father for nearly three decades, but Rob's 'bad boy' antics as a young man almost derailed his career. At the age of 24 Rob made a sex tape with a 16-year-old girl. The videotape went public when Rob's movie 'Bad Influence' was opening and Lo
Apr 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, audio
Color me surprised! This autobiography kept my attention and brought me to the edge of tears on at least three occasions. There was an air of nostalgia to it with talk of growing up in the seventies and so many eighties movies I had long since forgotten about, but it was also genuinely interesting and surprisingly well-written. Rob Lowe, an actor worth $30 million, comes across as humble, hardworking, grateful, and small feat. He eluded to his big videotape scandal a few times wit ...more
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love autobiographies of people I admire and who impart insight. I thought Rob Lowe would discuss alcoholism but he only described his rock bottom day. I cheered at the momentousness of calling his phone number for help. I am usually compelled by personal stories but am impressed by the fine author Rob is. His observations are meaningful, funny, and he launches his story creatively: via a connection with someone he and his Mom admired. Storytelling is another art and Rob excels at that too, bui ...more
I really gained a lot of respect for Rob Lowe through reading this book. He's genuine, honest, he talks openly about his talents, his escapades, his addictions, and his insecurities. I listened to the audio version, read in his own voice and I feel like that made it more personal. I listened to it at the same time as I was reading Patrick Swayze's The Time of My Life and while I enjoyed that one also, it wasn't nearly the read that this one is. I did however, enjoy the parallels between their tw ...more
Terrie Robinson
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy memoirs.
Recommended to Terrie by: Knox County Library
"Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe was an enjoyable listen!

This is Rob Lowe narrating to you about his life as if he is standing right there, in the same room, having an intimate conversation with friends. He begins with his early adolescent life in Dayton, Ohio where the acting bug bit and he gains experience with Summer Theater. With a family move to California, the Lowe's settle in Malibu, where his new group of friends includes neighbors Charlie Sheen and Emilio Es
May 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Um... yeah. So I read the Rob Lowe autobiography.

Why? Perfectly fair question. The answer lies in the fact that Vanity Fair ran a long excerpt from it a month or two ago, featuring the segment where Lowe talks about his experiences auditioning for and then appearing in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders. And when I read it, I was surprised to find... it was good. Really, really good. Well-executed, thoughtful, and offering tremendous insight not only into what was going through Lowe's head at
Ashley DiNorcia
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I often forget how old Rob Lowe is, and subsequently how popular he was in the 80's. I listened to this on audio, which I highly recommend, and found it really enjoyable. Apparently Tom Cruise has always been a bit of a weirdo, no surprise there. ...more
MissBecka Gee
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to MissBecka by: Jane
If I had not already thought Lowe was a very cool feller, this book would have changed my mind.
He flows seamlessly through the highs (and of course lows) of his life and career.
Also having him narrate this didn't hurt one bit :P
Much love to that lady Jane for the rec!!!
A fun, quick read. Great stories with cameos by Cary Grant, Dick Wolf, Demi Moore. Lots of time spent on the making of the Outsiders...but breezes through the West Wing and stops there. Where's the dirt on Sally Field and Calista Flockhart and the week-after-henious week of bizarre plots on Brothers & Sisters, which drove him into a persistent vegetative state, which sounded like a good deal if it meant getting off that show?! Lyon's Den, anyone?

One item of note: you'll perhaps be unsurprised t
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bought this on a whim and really ended up enjoying it. Lowe is funny, witty, and at times even eloquent (mostly when he talks about lessons learned from fatherhood, or being a recovering alcoholic). You can tell why he called this "Stories I only tell my friends," since much of the book is: "One day, I was walking down the street, and I met this girl, and she was really pretty, and really nice, and she told me she was into acting, and I said I was too. Oh and by the way, she was [insert famous n ...more
May 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rob Lowe's life sounds so insanely cool that it's hard to believe it all actually happened to one man. I mean, before I even reached chapter ten he'd already befriended the Sheens and Penns, been on the set of Star Wars and seen the taping of The Muppet Movie. Then he goes on to make some of the greatest films of all time, receive random gifts from Bill Murray and got to work for Aaron Sorkin (genius). If it weren't for the acoholism and numerous deaths of family and friends, it'd be a perfect r ...more
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I confess that I am not the biggest follower of Rob Lowe. In fact, if you had asked me prior to listening to this audiobook what shows or movies he has been in I couldn't tell you, but I could pick him out of a lineup. I've never even seen the West Wing. But listening to this was still very interesting to me. His voices for other celebrities like Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, and Christopher Walken were funnily spot-on. But as entertaining as it was to hear how he met multiple people before they w ...more
Rob Lowe was a heart throb of my generation, though he wasn't my heart throb. Emilio was my brat pack crush. Which may be why I procrastinated on listening to this highly rated memoir.

Rob Lowe tells a great story, and I'm so happy to be among his friends that he shares with. I was captivated with his unfolding of his youth, including the details of casting, shooting and immediate stardom of The Outsiders. He affectionately describes his friendships and his mentors. The book is beautifully paced,
I knew ZERO about Rob Lowe before this audio book, except that I really liked his character on Parks & Rec. I had several people recommend it so decided to give it a go! I really enjoyed this one, and he does a great job narrating the book.
I don't read celebrity gossip rags or keep track of who's marrying / divorcing / screwing who at any given time (not that there's anything wrong with that people!). I definitely didn't pick up this memoir of one of Hollywood's all-time pretty boys hoping for a salacious tell-all about who wears women's underwear or who includes small animals in their sex play.

So why the hell did I pick up this book? Several reasons top the list:

1) Reviews promised it offers a poignant, self-deprecating coming-
Joanna Silverstein
I got this book as a get well present from a friend (thanks, Jan!), and it was a decent mindless read. I only rated it ok beucase he doens't dish any dirt, whcih is what I hope for in a celeb authobiography. The way he writes it, everyone he's ever dealt with was wonderful, every movie another experience for him to grow and make BFFs (when all I want to hear is stories like "I once did PCP with Charlie Sheen and we ended up eating his cat"). ...more
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At times while reading Rob Lowe's memoir, I was wowed and star struck. The last chapter left me with a major WTF moment!
The inside look at the life of a star was so completely explored through Stories I Only Tell My Friends. From Lowe's early life in Ohio where he was deeply impacted by the divorce of his parents and the early exposure to community theater to a cross-country move to Los Angeles where he becomes friends with the Sheen brothers and Penn brothers but remains an outsider of sorts.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
Not just a beautiful face. A soulful tour through a humble childhood, high school with Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn... and the constant threat of auditioning against a young, assassin-like Tom Cruise. Get the audiobook for Rob's celebrity impressions!

Cool Excerpts :
"I wanna see the spaceship," I say.
"It's right over there," he says, pointing to another corner of the warehouse. "It's called the Millenium Falcon."


In history class I bond with a hilarious, madrigal-singing mania
Book Concierge
Book on CD read by the author.

In general, I’m not a great fan of celebrity memoirs, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

Lowe was bitten by the acting bug when still in junior high school. I liked learning about his determination and drive as a child back in Dayton, Ohio; the steps he took to hone his craft and to keep working toward his goal. What a brave kid to take the risk to meet those he admired. I particularly love the story of how he came to meet Liza Minelli and Jack Haley
Kristen Doyle
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! Do the audio version!
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes celebrity memoirs are surprisingly deep and profound (like Demi Moore or Jessica Simpson's). This is not that one--it's a decent memoir if you are a Rob Lowe fan or at least are familiar with his shows and movies. I knew him from the Tommy Boy and Waynes World stuff and never watched West Wing. It's sort of fascinating to hear him talk about his objectification as a good looking man. I know why we don't hear too many men complain about this, but it does seem incredibly annoying actuall ...more
Miss Kim
Oct 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, e-book, 2016
In the mid 80’s, I had a poster of Rob Lowe in my room for a few years when I was a teen. He was dressed in a white suit, but shirtless, leaning against the wall. His eyes would follow you. Wow, I sure loved that poster…

A good third of this book is about filming the movie “Outsiders”. In 8th grade, this was required reading for me. (My son is currently assigned reading it 8th grade as well). Lowe was only 17, and it was his first movie. Honestly when someone brings up that movie, Rob Lowe does n
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audiobooks
Rob Lowe is an icon from the '80s and I have had a crush on him for many years. His memoir is sweet, funny, and engaging. He seems to be a very down to earth guy in spite of spending his growing up years in the spotlight and hanging around with the likes of the Sheen/Estevez brothers and the Penn brothers. Stories of his geeky youth and his Ohio roots were bittersweet, especially the parts about his parents' divorce, moving away from Ohio to California, and his mother's many illnesses.

If you're
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't believe there were many straight girls or gay boys who did not have a crush on Rob Lowe in the 1980s. That said, his career has had its major ups and downs and who didn't cringe when he hosted the Oscars? But as he tells his life story thus far, you start to get to know the "man behind the mask" so to speak. I found Lowe an intelligent, sensitive and quite eloquent man and he really has a great story to tell. I heard of his childhood and all the pain and laughter that entailed, his rise ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Greenlights
  • Inside Out
  • Open Book
  • A Very Punchable Face
  • No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality
  • Lucky Man
  • Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics
  • The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life
  • Nevertheless
  • Wildflower
  • Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son
  • Bossypants
  • If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't)
  • Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology
  • The Four Winds
  • 28 Summers
  • Troubles in Paradise (Paradise, #3)
  • Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys
See similar books…
Rob Lowe is an American actor. Lowe came to prominence after appearing in films such as The Outsiders, Oxford Blues, About Last Night..., and St. Elmo's Fire. On Television, Lowe is known for his role as Sam Seaborn on The West Wing and his role as Senator Robert McCallister on Brothers & Sisters. He currently appears as a main cast member of Parks and Recreation in the role of Chris Traeger. ...more

News & Interviews

Sally Thorne, author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine, explores what it means to take risks for love, and for yourself, in her newest...
101 likes · 11 comments
“So I came to the realization: Nothing in life is unfair. It's just life.” 49 likes
“Be funny whenever possible, even if some people don't get it.” 30 likes
More quotes…