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Interview: Andrew McCarthy Comes Clean About His Brat Pack Era

'It was such a thing that all of my life was affected by those few years...'
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  • Brat
  • 'It was such a thing that all of my life was affected by those few years...'

Publisher's Summary

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 this book, 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.  

©2021 Andrew McCarthy (P)2021 Grand Central Publishing

Critic Reviews

"This is not some memoir written by an actor who fancies himself a world traveler. McCarthy really is a world traveler - and a damned fine writer, too.... To readers who think, 'Andrew McCarthy? Really?' the answer is a resounding and emphatic yes. Really." (Booklist)

"Rarely have I seen the male psyche explored with such honesty and vulnerability. This is the story of a son, a father, a brother, a husband, a man who finds the courage not only to face himself, but to reveal himself, and, in so doing, illuminates something about what it is to be human, fully alive, and awake." (Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion)

Featured Article: Totally Tubular—The Best Audiobooks of and About the 1980s


When you think of the 1980s, what comes to mind? Big hair? Shoulder pads? Ronald Reagan? Madonna? The 1980s were a big time of change in politics and pop culture, and that time remains fresh in our minds because of the iconic moments that mark its importance in history. Whether you're nostaglic or curious, this list of listens will immerse you in the decade that brought us Pac-Man, MTV, Madonna, Ronald Reagan, and the Rubik's cube!

What listeners say about Brat

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Short and jumpy, like his career

I graduated from high school in 1989, Like any other Madonna-loving, spiral curled, big haired 80s teen, I loved the Brat Pack and all of the films that went along with them. When I saw 'Brat, an 80s Story' I immediately spent a credit and started listening. I listened to this short autobiography in one sitting. It's only 4 hours and 55 minutes. I was excited to know more about the aging-like-me iconic stars of the John Hughes dynasty. However, "Brat' was not what I expected.

While McCarthy does narrate the book well (most authors do not), the story isn't what I expected. I wanted information about Molly, Demi, Esteves, Hirsch, Cryer, Hall.. the list goes on. What I listened to instead was a thoughtful and jumpy story of a shy guy who had a few lucky breaks and landed a spot, quite accidentally, on some films that widely defined a decade.

This is not a horrible listen, but after an hour and a half of hearing about McCarthy's life with his father and mother and siblings, and his grade school crushes, and his premature pot smoking, I was ready to get into the good stuff. There is mention of some of the members of the Brat Pack but what we discover is, McCarthy was really never friends with any of them. Instead, he was an introvert turned alcoholic and drug addict (sound familiar?), who's sluggish, stand-offish demeanor on the big screen mirrored his real life character.

To be honest, Andrew McCarthy wrote and narrated a book that kept my attention and got better as it progressed. The problem with the format is, he jumps around the decades in his life, often in the same paragraph. This makes it hard to follow his narrative, and more likely for the listener to quit listening.

But I stuck it out. I'd even recommend it. But know what you're getting into. This isn't Weekend at Bernie's meets Pretty In Pink, and there's really not much of an '80s story.' It's real non-fiction by an insightful author who uses eloquent prose. This is a story of fame, fortune, sadness, addiction and self absolution.

-Wendi

85 people found this helpful

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Amazing!

As an introverted teenager in the 80’s, I was obsessed with Andrew, Molly, Jon, Judd, and Ali... and of course the movies they made. Andrew’s take on introversion and disassociating to mask insecurity was especially relatable and validated my own uncomfortable experiences, growing up shy, reserved, aloof, and unavailable. Thank you for that!

20 people found this helpful

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Rationalizations

McCarthy lived the rarest of existences: Fame that preceded itself. Singularly ill-prepared for being a professional actor, McCarthy spends a lot of time in the book coloring his past by rationalizing his actions and the actions of others. He recycles several phrases throughout the text, and after a while, they lose any meaning. The book is neither a tell-all Hollywood gossip nor a technical examination of process. It's a lot of, "I was kind of a jerk, but got the job anyway". What purpose do such statements serve?

15 people found this helpful

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Mediocre autobiography

This audiobook is lacking on all levels. I found it uninteresting and overwrought. On a positive note, it is blessedly short.

13 people found this helpful

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Absolutely LOVED this book!!

I loved this book so much I couldn’t stop listening from home to the car. The story told is far better than any name dropping backstage pass. My only complaint was that it was too short. I want to hear more!!

12 people found this helpful

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A Delightful Blast from the Past

This is a fun & deeply personal glimpse behind the scenes of a Hollywood movement that is forever captured in time. It is told from the perspective of someone who was swept up in it but also outside of it as well. I think this is why this story could only be told by Andrew McCarthy.

The strength of the story lies in the personal details that fill this memoir. It isn't a book of Hollywood stories or bad boy antics. It is the story of a young actor who found himself at a turning point in Hollywood.

My only disappointment with this book is that it isn't longer because the storytelling at play in these pages is phenomenal. Andrew McCarthy is a gifted writer.

The narration is almost lyrical & makes me wonder why Andrew has not done more voice work.

10 people found this helpful

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Appreciate the depth and vulnerability!

As a teen in the 80s, Andrew and his movies live on the outskirts of my fondest memories. Listening to his journey made me reflect on my own journey of growth and discovery. As he said, the movies now have a fond nostalgia about them. His eloquent sharing gave me an appreciation for his love of craft and the battles of personality mixed with fame. I’ve always been a fan, but even more so, today I am a fan of him as a man.

10 people found this helpful

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BORING Wish I could return it

Always enjoyed his acting
but does this guy have any interesting
stories to tell??
So boring

8 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Well-written and read. I’ve always been a fan of Andrew McCarthy, and this book did not disappoint. It brought back a lot of great memories. I highly recommend this for anyone who is a fan of 80s movies :)

8 people found this helpful

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Really good listen. 😊

I really enjoyed this book. Wish it had been longer, I didn’t want it to end. 😊👍

7 people found this helpful