Not long ago, I read Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. You couldn’t ask for a more worthwhile narrative—Demick achieves the extraordinary by weaving together personal stories, historical data, and vast reportage.
And, after one reads a sobering 336 pages about North Korea, literary dessert is in order.
Luckily, my friend Laura had just recommended Rob Lowe’s recent autobiography, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. And I enjoyed that thoroughly. The book’s genuineness, humility, and fairly good writing all made for a pleasant surprise. He also dishes on Tom Cruise. Here are three of my favorite passages from the book.
1. Coaching John F. Kennedy, Jr., on love and marriage:
‘Looks like you have a great girl. That’s half the battle right there. She’s obviously amazing and if she’s your best friend, marry her. You can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, that you’re not ready, or not capable. Come on in, man, the water’s warm. I’m here to tell you it is; if she’s your friend in addition to all of the other stuff, pull the trigger, don’t let her get away. You never know what life will bring.’ “
2. Culinary discoveries on an unexpected visit to Cary Grant’s house:
Later, [Cary Grant] and Jennifer [Grant] introduce me to the wonders of shepherd’s pie, handmade by Cary’s beautiful young wife, Barbara. It instantly becomes one of my favorite dishes. To this day, I’ve never had better.”
3. While touring the White House:
We pass through hallways that are much smaller and much less crowded than those on our show. And not one person in the building is walking and talking as fast as we do. (I’m told that when staffers catch themselves doing this today in the Obama administration, they high-five and say, ‘We just West Winged.’ )”