Fans of Patti Smith's Just Kids and Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends will love this beautifully written, entertaining, and emotionally honest memoir by an actor, director, and author who found his start as an 80s Brat pack member.
Most people know Andrew McCarthy from his movie roles in Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo's Fire, Weekend at Bernie's, and Less than Zero, and as a charter member of Hollywood's Brat Pack. That iconic group of ingenues and heartthrobs included Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Demi Moore, and has come to represent both a genre of film and an era of pop culture. In his memoir Brat: An '80s Story, McCarthy focuses his gaze on that singular moment in time. The result is a revealing look at coming of age in a maelstrom, reckoning with conflicted ambition, innocence, addiction, and masculinity. New York City of the 1980s is brought to vivid life in these pages, from scoring loose joints in Washington Square Park to skipping school in favor of the dark revival houses of the Village where he fell in love with the movies that would change his life. Filled with personal revelations of innocence lost to heady days in Hollywood with John Hughes and an iconic cast of characters, Brat is a surprising and intimate story of an outsider caught up in a most unwitting success.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If you identified with Kevin in St. Elmo’s Fire or crushed on Blane in Pretty in Pink, you’ll love Andrew McCarthy’s wonderful autobiography. The actor’s account is candid and insightful right from the get-go, when he reveals that the sensitivity of his characters was born out of turbulence at home, which included the stress of his accountant father getting mixed up in organized crime. McCarthy’s love for his profession comes through loud and clear—we were fascinated to learn that even though he made his name in the iconic teen movies of the 1980s, his heart has always belonged to the New York theater scene. Whether he’s addressing his successes or his failures, McCarthy brings the kind of charm and humor that makes people love revisiting John Hughes’ modern movie classics. You don’t have to be a Gen Xer to love this witty memoir.
The star of seminal 1980s coming-of-age movies St. Elmo's Fire and Pretty in Pink looks back on a decade that was more angsty for him than for his characters in this heartfelt memoir. Actor McCarthy (The Longest Way Home) revisits many raucous showbiz indignities "my first day on the set of a feature film was spent in bra and panties" and delves into the gnawing anxieties behind his heart-throb exterior: a sullen aloofness that masked his fear at auditions; spiraling alcoholism; loneliness in an L.A., where he "felt exposed and vulnerable on the deserted streets"; alienation on the coked-up set of Less Than Zero, where "the mood on the shoot turned from dark to nefarious" with a script "full of hate and self-degradation." McCarthy writes evocatively of his insecurities and dysfunctions "I felt as if I existed behind a layer of opaque plexiglass... which would only clear when I took a drink" but also of the high points when he felt "the simple joy at being there, at being alive and young" in front of the camera. McCarthy is clear-eyed and unsparing about Hollywood but takes the emotional intensity of the actor's craft and life seriously. The result is a riveting portrait of the artist as a young man. Photos.
A thoughtful memoir with pacing issues.
I enjoyed this look at Andrew took us back to his earlier life. This lead me to read his other travel books - they’re fantastic, very insightful.
Insightful and Entertaining
There was always just “something about him” as I watched his films. Reading this book helped me realize what that “something” was and is. Andrew McCarthy is a thinker. He is humble. He is remarkable in his talent, yet undeniably human. His writing flows beautifully, and I never felt as if he dumbed it down for the general public. If you were a fan of his famous 80s films, you might read this and become an admirer of the man he became.