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Brat Pack Books: These Memoirs From Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy and More Will Give You a New Perspective on the ’80s

They don't hold back from detailing all the ups and downs

The iconic group of young, charismatic ’80s actors known as the “Brat Pack” have been back in the zeitgeist lately, thanks to Andrew McCarthy’s new documentary, Brats. In the film, McCarthy interviews former costars and contemporaries like Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Jon Cryer and Emilio Estevez and works through his decidedly complicated feelings about the Brat Pack label and how it impacted his burgeoning career.

This documentary is just the latest in a long line of Brat Pack lore. The movies of the era, from The Breakfast Club to St. Elmo’s Fire, are constantly being rewatched and referenced, and it truly seems the ’80s will forever be back in fashion, with younger audiences consistently discovering the stylish and nostalgic films of decades past.

Many of the actors most closely associated with the group have written books about their experiences as part of the new guard of ’80s movie stars. Here’s a guide to the essential Brat Pack books.

Brat: An ’80s Story by Andrew McCarthy

Cover of Andrew McCarthy's 'Brat: An '80s Story'
Grand Central Publishing

Andrew McCarthy, who acted in movies like Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, Weekend at Bernie’s and Less than Zero, first explored his complex relationship to ’80s movie stardom in the most potent of Brat Pack books, Brat: An ’80s Story.

In his 2021 memoir, he vividly describes his early days in ’80s New York and captures the surreal experience of going from an unknown to a household name at an impressionable age. As he writes in the book’s introduction, “What happened to me during the course of a few brief years, when I came of age within a certain pop culture environment, irretrievably altered who I would become.”

What readers are saying: “I had no idea that Andrew McCarthy was such a talented writer! He really brought me back to the gritty and exciting times in NYC. His experience is moving and insightful and such a good read. I will be looking out for more of his work.”

Inside Out: A Memoir by Demi Moore

'Inside Out' by Demi Moore
Harper

Before becoming the highest-paid actress of the ’90s, Demi Moore was a Brat Pack star in movies like St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night… In her revealing 2019 memoir, Moore gives an unapologetic account of the many hardships she’s faced, from a turbulent childhood to her battle with addiction in the early ’80s.

Moore may be known for her seductive voice and brunette beauty, but as she puts it, “If you carry a well of shame and unresolved trauma inside of you, no amount of money, no measure of success or celebrity, can fill it.”

What readers are saying: “I watched Demi in movies while I was growing up and I always liked her. But I really knew nothing about her personal life. Reading this changed all that. Her story is far from perfect, but the imperfections make it so relatable. I found myself almost in tears several times because I knew the pain she was feeling at certain times in her life. Whether you’re a fan of this beautiful, talented woman or not, this book is definitely worth reading.”

Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography by Rob Lowe

'Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography' by Rob Lowe
Henry Holt and Co.

Rob Lowe was the ultimate ’80s heartthrob thanks to his boyish good looks and roles in movies like The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire and About Last Night… In his 2011 memoir, he gets real about the challenges of starting to act at a very young age and the challenges that came with being the face of the Brat Pack.

Through it all, Lowe maintains a winning sense of humor and comes across as surprisingly down to earth. While his legendary charm would seem to make life a breeze, he writes, “There is just no way anyone is likely to take a 19-year-old boy as pretty as I was seriously. People looked at me and made a judgment. It’s the way of the world. I do it too.”

What readers are saying: “Very well-written and engaging throughout! Before reading this thoughtful book I perceived Rob Lowe as a playboy actor of possibly lesser intelligence and limited talent. Boy was I wrong! The man can write… and does it well. This book is a page-turner. I was a fan of Rob’s earlier film credits, but had no detailed information about HIM, his life, etc. This book is enlightening on all levels.”

Along the Way: The Journey of a Father and Son by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez

'Along the Way' by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, Brat Pack books
Atria

As the son of veteran actor Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez was exposed to showbiz long before he starred in Brat Pack classics like The Outsiders, The Breakfast Club and St. Elmo’s Fire. In this unique memoir, father and son both share their long Hollywood journeys.

Because it also details Sheen’s career starring in acclaimed movies like Badlands and Apocalypse Now, Along the Way goes beyond the scope of other Brat Pack books, and it gives fascinating context on how Estevez grew up and ultimately became one of the most popular stars of the ’80s.

What readers are saying: “In this very candid account of their personal lives, both Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez give us a glimpse of how human they are and show us how they’re not so different from the rest of us.”

Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family, and Finding the Perfect Lipstick by Molly Ringwald

'Getting the Pretty Back' by Molly Ringwald, Brat Pack books
It Books

Molly Ringwald, the star of Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, was the ’80s girl we all wished we could be best friends with. In this 2010 memoir, the actress offers up conversational advice about friendship, fashion, family and more.

This take on Brat Pack books isn’t a typical memoir, but it offers valuable insight on some of the lessons Ringwald learned from growing up in public, and her stylish, endearing voice as a writer is instantly recognizable to her many fans. As she writes, “When you’re a teenager, you’re forever thinking, ‘Do they like me?’ When you’re a grown-up, as anyone over the age of 30 can attest, the question becomes, ‘Do I like them?’”

What readers are saying: “What a wonderful read! I had so much fun reading this book — it was like a four-hour dinner with my best friend. Molly’s voice was honest and intelligent, funny and ‘real.’ She seemed like someone I’d be dear friends with, or want to be, and certainly someone who’s accomplished a lot and has a grasp on what matters – including being pretty on the inside and out. I loved the way she wove style tips with anecdotes about family and her life, and how she has such a sense of humor about all of it.”

So That Happened: A Memoir by Jon Cryer

'So That Happened' by Jon Cryer, Brat Pack books
Berkley

As the funny and fashionable Duckie in Pretty in Pink, Jon Cryer was a poster child for the ’80s. Years later, he became a ubiquitous TV presence on the sitcom Two and a Half Men, and in this breezy 2015 addition to the Brat Pack books canon, he details his long journey from breakout young star to veteran comic actor.

Cryer also doesn’t hold pack from discussing some of the awkward moments that came with being in the Brat Pack, writing that on the set of Pretty in Pink, “Molly [Ringwald] would meet my verbal parries with awkward silence… Trying to befriend Andrew [McCarthy] was so tough, it sent me in the other direction: as in, I adopted a low-boil dislike for him.”

What readers are saying: “This book was a joy to read. I found it funny how he wrote a page at the beginning to warn readers of the salty language within. (He was right.) I learned so much about the actor I first saw (and adored) in Pretty in Pink decades ago. He has had such an interesting life. Who knew he had studied at the Royal Academy in London, or that he had dated Demi Moore? I truly enjoyed the book and recommend it. It’s a fun read. He is a very funny guy. I actually laughed out loud a few times while reading.”

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