Whose memoir would you rather read: Rob Lowe’s or Soleil Moon Frye’s?


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This week, it was announced that two Hollywood memoirs will hit the stands in 2011. While we hear news of upcoming books all the time, it’s not that often that two Hollywood memoirs appear so close together in the trade magazine Publishers Marketplace. So: time to compare and contrast.

In one corner: Rob Lowe. His book, coming May 2011, will be titled ‘Stories I Only Tell My Friends.’ According to publisher Henry Holt, it is:


his personal account of his life, both in show business and with his family, sobriety and fatherhood. The actor, political activist and now writer, looks back on his travails as a fledgling and misunderstood child actor in Ohio, his transition to rough, counter culture free-for-all that was Malibu in the mid seventies, his wild ride from as teen idol to movie star at the beginning of today’s youth movement in entertainment to his current status as one of Hollywood’s top actors.

The gritty details: Rob Lowe’s acting career in Hollywood took off with two 1983 films, ‘The Outsiders’ and Class,’ and a Hallmark TV movie, ‘Thursday’s Child,’ for which he got a Golden Globe nomination. Lowe, who was described at the time as ‘compellingly handsome’ by the L.A. Times, was a key member of the Brat Pack, a group of young Hollywood stars with success and flash. The liberal, politically engaged Lowe attended parties, charity events and the 1988 Democratic Convention -- where his exploits with a young woman (at 16, younger than he realized) were videotaped, and then the tape was widely circulated. Rob Lowe’s sex tapes -- another later surfaced -- showed there would be a market for sex videos of celebrities, like Pam and Tommy, Paris Hilton and others caught in flagrante. Lowe’s career slowed, but he cleaned up his act and came back, in films including ‘Austin Powers’ and on the television show ‘The West Wing.’ Wild ride, indeed.

In the opposite corner: Soleil Moon Frye. Her book, ‘Happy Chaos,’ will be published in summer 2011. Publishers Marketplace describes it this way:

a combination memoir/manual, with stories from her own unconventional childhood growing up in the limelight as a child star, and thematically linked anecdotes from her experiences as a parent of two young daughters...

What they’re not saying: Soleil Moon Frye was the star of the television show ‘Punky Brewster’ beginning when she was 8 years old, in 1984. As a teenager, she developed quickly and overabundantly -- burdened by her gigantomastia and tired, as People Magazine reported, of being called ‘Punky Boobster,’ Frye had breast reduction surgery shortly before her 16th birthday. That certainly runs counter to today’s trends in Hollywood, but Frye has continued to work, both as an actress -- she was a regular on ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ -- and has directed a documentary. It’s a more stable path than many young actors are able to tread.

So: the vote. Would you rather read ‘Happy Chaos’ or ‘Stories I Only Tell My Friends’?

-- Carolyn Kellogg