“Love Life” by Rob Lowe (Simon & Schuster, 272 pages, in stores)
If there’s one thing that’s clear after reading Rob Lowe’s latest book it’s that he doesn’t have much in common with Chris Traeger, the relentlessly chipper character he plays on “Parks and Recreation.”
The real Lowe lies somewhere in between that outlook on life and a perpetually concerned father who is watching his firstborn son, Matthew, grow up.
And those pages are the best of “Love Life.” Lowe writes candidly about the pain he experienced watching his son pack up and go to college on the East coast, far from his Malibu roots. He writes that a relationship that once was built on closeness will now be based on physical distance and how that has impacted him as a parent. The point being that no matter how well one prepares for that moment, confronting it in real time is never the same as one imagines.
There are also lighter moments. Lowe writes about chaperoning a school trip to Sea World in San Diego that resulted in a sleepless night listening to manatees bump against their glass tanks. His disdain for small talk, whether it be with fellow parents or someone in an elevator, is also covered.
While this book is not a Hollywood tell-all, Lowe describes in some detail his first visit to the Playboy mansion and how he was stood up by a Playmate for a rendezvous in the infamous grotto.
Lowe isn’t afraid to criticize himself and his awkward early brushes with fame are endearing.
His role in the “Behind the Candelabra” is also tackled.
Lowe tells the story about how no studio wanted to make the movie because it was “too gay” before it finally found a home at HBO. The film was praised wildly after its debut last year, and Lowe plays one of its more memorable characters. In the book Lowe writes that co-star Matt Damon couldn’t even look at him when he was in costume because the character, Liberace’s plastic surgeon, was so bizarre in appearance.
While not nearly as juicy as some books written by celebrities, “Love Life” is a book most readers can relate to in some way. Many parents have sent their kids off to college, and many regular folks have grappled with substance abuse. What it lacks in shock value it more than makes up for in its accessibility to the average reader.
— Matt Patterson,