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Neon Angel, A Memoir of a Runaway
18 January 2011

Not Your Regular Run of the Mill Rock Bio

When I decided to read Neon Angel, A Memoir Of A Runaway by Cherie Currie I thought it would be just another entertaining rock bio full of the usual sex, drugs and rock n ‘roll. Boy was I ever wrong, yes it had lots of drugs, plus the sex and of course rock n’ roll. But it was also horrifyingly dark and incredibly upsetting with shocking stories of rape, sexual abuse, violence, and torture. The movie version toned down the horror so drastically that only a small portion that actually happened in the book was in the movie and even some of that wasn’t even accurate. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the movie, the acting (Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart) was exceptional and it was entertaining but it didn’t tell the whole story, not even close. For those who have seen the movie, the book “inspired” the movie and but it is definitely not based on it.

As a fan of The Runaways I wanted a cool read of stories full of girl empowerment and tales of young girls having fun with their fame. I know that the girls had fun but Cherie doesn’t talk a lot about the good times, instead she talks about The Runaways (especially Cherie) being consumed with sexual exploitation, sexually predatory men and family conflicts.

For those of you who don’t know that at 15 Cherie became the lead singer of the band the Runaways. The band also included rhythm guitarist Joan Jett (who became Cherie’s best friend), lead guitarist Lita Ford (in the book she is described as a serious tough as nails mega bitch), bassist Jackie Fox and Sandy West on drums. It’s been well known that the girls grew up hard, fast, and unsupervised during their wave of success that hit the Los Angeles scene in 1975. Their provocative songs of teenage rebellion included hits such as“Cherry Bomb”, “Born to Be Bad and Queens of Noise and to me are legendary.

The book is pretty graphic, there is a chapter called The Terrible Green Limousine that I don’t think I took one breathe the whole time I read it. Every time Kim Fowley, the band’s manager, is in the book he is a complete repulsive creepy asshole.. and that’s being kind.

Neon Angel exposed me to a side of Cherie Currie and The Runaways that I would have never known had I not read the book and I’m glad that I did. I’d rather know the truth than continue to dream up my own created fantasy of what it was like to be in The Runaways.

As a fan and reader, the book was hard to put down and I loved it tremendously. It’s written in a candid and honest way, whether she is talking about The Runaways, her family, drug abuse and addiction, the demise of her promising acting career, it’s all there and not one bit of it is sugar coated.

At the end of the book I just want to give her a big hug and thank her for being a survivor!