Andrew McCarthy reflects on Brat Pack days, finding redemption in new memoir

WEST VILLAGE, New York City -- A group of young actors dubbed "The Brat Pack" were the fan favorites of Generation X, and now, one of them has written a memoir about that time.

In the 1980s, Andrew McCarthy and his crew were on top of the heap in Hollywood. His book, "Brat: An '80s Story," is an attempt to come to terms with his fame and the fallout from it.

McCarthy was born in Westfield, New Jersey, and he spent his teen years in Bernardsville. He left for Manhattan to study at NYU, but he became a movie star before he could graduate.

He came of age on the big screen in movies like "Class," "St. Elmo's Fire," and "Pretty in Pink" -- opposite Molly Ringwald.

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McCarthy got that part after Ringwald told the director that he was the kind of sensitive guy she could love for real, but in many ways, the actor was an unlikely star.

"I just think temperamentally, I'm much more introverted," he said.

When fame hit, McCarthy found himself pleasantly surprised.

"The first thing that happened, candidly, was that I became suddenly very attractive to young women where I hadn't been," he said.

He soon grew more ambivalent about the fame, and in "Brat," he writes that he was ill suited for public life -- especially if it took him out of his beloved neighborhood.

"Whenever I went to Los Angeles, I always felt like I was out in space and very untethered," he said. "And so whenever I came home, I'd go 'Phew.'"

And he still lives in the West Village, which he has called home since he was 17. He started in a small apartment for his first several movies.

"A little one bedroom apartment where the floor sloped so badly everything rolled down to the door," he said.

It is a fond memory, but not all of them are good from that time.

"I took the blossom of my youth and blew it to smithereens," he said. "I did it in many ways, through drinking and not taking care in a certain way."

McCarthy stopped drinking decades ago, which allowed him to gain perspective about those days of sudden fame.

"Internally, I didn't feel that successful," he said. "And yes, externally, I was suddenly becoming successful. So the disconnect was getting greater, and I suppose that void between the disconnect of what it feels like inside and what's happening outside is where the danger lies."

His memoir is filled with such insights.

Today, McCarthy is a father of three and a TV director who was behind the camera for shows like "Orange is the New Black."

He finds his years as an actor help him do his job better every day.

"I have every actor neurosis there is, so I understand them in other actors," he said.

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"Brat" is dedicated to his three children, and on the dedication page, he urges them to "take care with your youth."

He didn't, but he still found redemption -- which resonates with anyone who can relate to his journey.

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