Tuesday, July 5, 2011

An awesome, smart, romance loving, celebrity obsessed girl I'd like you to meet

All my life, I have struggled with being smart. When I was younger, I used to say that "I'm not smart, I just work really hard." I still think that's partially true. I do work really hard. But, as I've grown up and survived four grueling years of high school, I have come to think of myself as at least a little intelligent.

Finally, I accept this in myself. Yet, the world around me still doesn't. I may have the top IB score in my class (in the history of my school, for that matter!), but no one cares. I may have one of the top three averages in my class, but no one notices. I may have gotten into every university I applied to, including the top university in the country, but, still, I'm not smart. I didn't win in academic awards at graduation. They even forgot to announce that I was an Ontario Scholar (which requires a 80% average), when I beat the qualifying level by 16%. I tell you, I may think I'm smart, I may have the grades, but it's still not good enough. Close, but no cigar. 

My supposed idiocy is only supported by hobbies. I read young adult romance. As one girl put it in my yearbook, "the novels you read juxtapose your intelligence."Yes, she was calling me kind of smart, in a way, but she was calling YA dumb. I think it was meant as a compliment.

Another hobby I have is collecting celebrity trivia. I've mentioned it before, I'll mention it again: I am boss at the Kevin Bacon game. I mean it, no one can beat me. Most people can't even play me, considering they've never heard of this game, but those who have, watch out. I'm pro. I play with my best friend all the time, and I am one to be beat.

In order to be so boss at such games, it not only takes practice, but it also takes research. Hours on IMDb. Many a lunch hour spent flipping through the new issue of People.

It was hilarious. I used to volunteer in my school library most days at lunch, mostly doing circulation. I loved it. Sometimes, after a long morning of classes, I needed a brain break, so I would grab the latest People and read it while waiting for people to check out books. One day, the librarian saw me reading it, and commented, "that's a nice break." I smiled. But she kept commenting on it. Other library volunteers read Atwood novels or the Economist. But still, I kept reading People. What was wrong with me?

Well, it's like this. My brain loves celebrity gossip. It absorbs it, craves it. It's like the mental equivalent of movie popcorn. Light, buttery, and oh so tasty. Sometimes, I judge myself for this. It is a rather useless hobby. But still, nearly nothing makes me happier than a new film that it'll allow me to connect a bunch of actors or an article about the Emmys.

Let me say it, once and for all. I AM A SMART GIRL. But I also love to read about Michael and Mia getting together. To me, the best part of Harry Potter is when Ron and Hermione kiss in the seventh book. I'll read almost any book, as long as there is romance. And I'll read almost any article, as long as it mentions a celebrity. I am smart, I love romance, and I love celebrities. If you're not okay with that, screw you. I think I might know a school full of smart, stuck up kids or a nosy librarian who you might what to hang out with.

Believe it or not, this post is supposed to be a book review. Somehow it has become a personal protest. Sorry for the tangent. I really do have a book to review. Sometimes I get going on rants. But I'm back on track now. To tell you the book I just finished, Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe:

Now, this is not a book for everyone. You really have to like celebrities. And you have to have at least a marginal interest in Rob Lowe. But if you're anything like me, this is a good book for you. 

I don't need to summarize much, other than to say this is the autobiography of a man who has starred in a wide range of tv shows and movies, including The Outsiders, St. Elmo's Fire, The West Wing, Brothers & Sisters, and most recently, Parks and Recreation. If you are a fan of any of those things, I think you'd enjoy this book. 

It is well written. I mean, it's not Sarah freaking Dessen. But it's solid. Interesting. At times, Lowe can come off as self-obsessed or arrogant, but, on the whole, it's an engaging read. 

He'll tell a story about an early tv show he did as a kid, describing a girl he worked with, and then end the story by saying "oh, by the way, that girl was Janet Jackson." Rob Lowe has worked with some interesting people in his life. Francis Ford Coppala directed him in his first big role. He was an integral part of the Brat Pack. He not only starred with Martin Sheen on the West Wing, but he also used to swim in his backyard, since he went to school with the Sheen boys Emilio and Charlie. He worked with many people before they made it big--Tom Cruise, Dick Wolf, Ron Howard. He hung out with a lot of exciting people--JFK Jr., Bill Clinton, Princess Stephanie of Monaco. This guy has seen a world many of us only read about in tabloids. And it's fascinating. 

I loved Rob Lowe on West Wing. I found him marginally okay on Brothers & Sisters. I like him a lot on Parks and Rec. He was never my favourite part in any of those shows, but I liked him enough. So, I was already invested. Add in my love of any and all things celebrity, and I'm on fire. With the exception of one or two names, I knew everyone he talked about. I learned so much. I had so much fun. 

I've never read a celebrity biography before. For that matter, I've never dabbled much in the biography section. With this book, I took everything with a grain of salt, understanding that he was only describing his side of the story. I think that issue of perspective would be a challenge in any autobiography. 

This book makes me want to explore other celebrity memoirs. They're not deep reads, but they're engrossing in a way I've only ever truly experienced with young adult novels. With YA, I always want to get the end so I can read about the couple getting together. Here, I wanted to keep reading not for the end, but for the journey. That's impressive. This guy doesn't just play a great speech writer on tv. He must be a pretty good writer in real life. Or he must have a pretty great life. Either way, I throughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves celebrities like I do. It won't make you stupid, I promise. In fact, hold the book up proud. You are smart and you can enjoy a good afternoon of celeb gossip. You are just like me. Isn't that great?

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