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This is the second book by actor and producer Rob Lowe.  Having read his autobiography ‘Stories I Only Tell My Friends’ and really enjoyed it, I was very much looking forward to reading his follow-up, and I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint.

In ‘Love Life’, Lowe shares stories and anecdotes from his life, both personal and professional.  He is a very engaging narrator, thoughtful and contemplative, but also very witty (his story about dressing as Bigfoot on a camping trip with his children was wonderfully told and incredibly funny).

Other stories involve his musings on marriage – from being a playboy with an addiction problem in his 20s, to being a sober, happily married father of two 25 years later; being involved in a tv show which is rapidly heading toward oblivion, and making a monumental script cock-up on stage in the West End.  He talks with pride of his two sons, and the chapter where his older son goes away to college was very moving.

Maybe I’m biased – I really like Lowe as an actor; he is very versatile, and equally able to do both comedy and drama, and understandably, he does discuss his acting career here – but I think I would have enjoyed this book even if I was not especially a fan of his.

As mentioned earlier, this is not an autobiography, and nor does it claim to be, but it does provide more insight into his character and his philosophy.  It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I would definitely recommend it.

 

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As might be expected from the title, this is a novel which centres largely around motherhood, mothering and the effect that it has on people’s lives.

The Melrose family is in freefall.  The father, Patrick is torn between feelings of betrayal and compassion for his mother – betrayal because he feels that she has always been utterly selfless to everyone except her own family, and it now looks as if he will be disinherited, and compassion because of her deteriorating mental and physical health.  Additionally, he feels neglected by his wife, who has just given birth to their second son, and is totally wrapped up in the demands of motherhood.  In an effort to console himself, he lurches from one vice to another.

His wife Mary feels that she has lost all sense of self, and knows that her husband is frustrated at what he perceives as her obsession with being a good mother.  Mary is determined that she will give her children the love and affection that her own mother failed to give her.

Their five year old son Robert is a child wise beyond his years, and at the start of the book, he is a little put out by the arrival of a new baby brother.

The book is told in the third person but most of the sections (there are four, told over four consecutive summers) focus on events from just one person’s point of view.  I have mixed feelings about it; it started off promisingly, but eventually I was happy to finish it.

There is actually very little plot, although this was not a problem for me.  The book simply paints a portrait of a family which has fallen on hard times, financially and emotionally.  All of the characters were certainly very well drawn and believable, but after a while I stopped caring about what happened to them.  There were however some moments of genuinely bitter humour, and I laughed out loud on a couple of occasions. However, this is not a work of comedy.  It was well written and credible, but ultimately, it left me fairly cold.

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