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.
When I think of 1980s movies, I immediately recall Andrew McCarthy and the other iconic members of the group dubbed “the Brat Pack,” so reading Brat: An 80s Story took me back to those times.
My favorite film from that era was probably St. Elmo’s Fire, followed by Pretty in Pink. The author’s journey through his life toward a career in acting and how he overcame his issues of body image, insecurity, and all the things that plague young people, I felt a connection to him. Even now I will pick up a movie or show in which he starred and smile at the nostalgia I feel.
I also enjoyed following along in his story of overcoming addictions and turning to directing, another aspect of movie making.
I read the book in a day and couldn’t set it down. For me, it earned 5 stars..#2021ReadNonFic