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Neon Angel: A Memoir Of A Runaway By Cherie Currie

I recently finished reading Cherie Currie‘s book Neon Angel: A Memoir Of A Runaway, and it really struck me as something word reading, whether you’re a fan of Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, or the original Runaways band members such as Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. This book is very raw, it tells it like it is, and it unabashedly sheds a lot of light on the life and times of Cherie and her Runaways band mates. What’s great about Neon Angel, is that it fills in some of the blanks from the recent Runaways movie. The movie doesn’t feel like it has holes, but once you read this book, so many more details and nuances are filled in and make the whole story richer.

Reading Neon Angel was eye-opening. It instills a much greater appreciation for the ordeals and difficulties these girls experienced at such a young age by being swept up in the music industry. While The Runaways film is definitely what got me to read this book, Neon Angel provides the backbone of The Runaways story and lets us get to know the real Cherie Currie. The movie, and particularly Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning did an amazing job of telling this story for the big screen, but Neon Angel really tells the story from start to finish. The story starts out well before The Runaways and finishes much farther down the road.

Neon Angel lays out in words what we saw on-screen in The Runaways movie, but with personal detail that only Cherie could infuse her story with. I feel like the movie and the book really do go hand in hand because they complement one another so well with telling this story. The Runaways movie gives us the main events, the music, and highlights key moments for the band mates while bringing their story to life. Neon Angel fills in all of the little details, the befores, the afters, and all of the inbetweens. We see a darker side to Kim Fowley, we get to go to more of the parties and meet more of the people, and we go on much more lengthy tours with The Runaways band. At the other end of the spectrum, we get to know Cherie properly before any of the band formations start. She starts out as a 15-year-old in love with glam rock and Bowie, who’s trying to break free of her conventional mold. What I love most about this book is that we get to see the whole progression of Cherie’s life from 15 and innocent, to a rock star Runaway who has grown up at top speed in the fast lane.

Neon Angel has some startling moments and some definitely made me uncomfortable. This book does not attempt to hide anything, it just shows and tells what happened to Cherie, Joan, Lita, Jackie and Sandy. The drug use, the parties, the abuse, the boys, the highs, the lows, and life on the road with the band are described in gritty detail. There are some very dark moments for Cherie, and experiences she had that are not examined in the movie. It’s raw and shocking, but I feel like it needs to be in her memoir, and I applaud her for her bravery and honesty in delving into those past events in order to share them with her audience. Above great story-telling, wit, honesty, and humour, Cherie should be celebrated for her candid recount of her life as a Runaway.

This book also ties together Joan Jett and Cherie Currie in more detail. We see that Joan was Cherie’s constant rock during her time in the band. They lived, breathed, and made music together as an inseparable duo. Even Cherie admits difficulty in trying to define the nature of their relationship, that same sense of ambiguous connection that Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning portrayed so well in the movie. In Neon Angel, we get a further glimpse into the relationship between Joan and Cherie, and how important that was to both of them amidst the chaos and confusion of life in the band.

I’d recommend this book to any music lovers, fans of The Runaways band, fans of Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning and The Runaways movie, and anyone else who loves a good memoir. Cherie’s storytelling is addictive and takes you on a whirlwind ride of 70’s rock and roll. Go pick up a copy of Neon Angel and you’ll see for yourself that this is a story worth sharing – you won’t regret it!

July 19, 2010 Posted by | The Runaways | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment