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Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway [Hardcover]

Cherie Currie
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 8 2010
In this candid autobiography, Cherie Currie—the original lead singer of ‘70s teenage all-girl rock band The Runaways—powerfully recounts her years in the band, her friendship with guitarist Joan Jett, and her struggle with drugs. An intense, behind-the-scenes look at rock music in the gritty, post-glam era, Neon Angel is a must-read for anyone whose heart beats to the rhythm of David Bowie, Suzi Quatro, Nick Gilder, and the Sex Pistols, and for every fan of the movie it inspired: The Runaways, starring Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart as Cherie Currie and Joan Jett.

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Review

“What truly amazes me is what a fine, honest, introspective author Cherie is, with an incredible tale about an incredible life, and a fascinating personal odyssey.” (Joan Jett)

“I don’t think a lot of people know the story of Cherie Currie. It’s an amazing story and she’s an amazing woman and performer. ” (Dakota Fanning on The Tonight Show)

“Raw and riveting.” (LA Weekly)

“Details the band’s short, messy history and the struggle with addiction that nearly claimed her life.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“[NEON ANGEL] reveals how the liberated life of a 16-year-old rock star in Los Angeles included many dark moments.” (Spin)

“Unflinchingly honest.” (Boston Globe)

“The striking thing about The Runaways, is how authentic it feels… One reason may be that the movie is partly based on Neon Angel, a newly revamped autobiography by the group’s lead singer Cherie Currie, whose chillingly quick self-destruction is relived through Dakota Fanning.” (New York Times)

“Currie is looking forward to giving Neon Angel its second life…the new version, with a foreword by [Joan] Jett, adds the sex, drugs and darkness that were missing from the first edition.” (Reuters)

From the Back Cover

Cherie Currie, with her signature Bowie haircut and fishnet stockings, was the groundbreaking lead singer of '70s teenage all-girl rock band the Runaways. At the tender age of fifteen, she joined a group of talented girls—Joan Jett and Lita Ford on guitar, Jackie Fox on bass, and Sandy West on drums—who could play rock like no one else.

Arriving on the Los Angeles music scene in 1975, they catapulted from playing small clubs to selling out major stadiums, headlining shows with opening acts like the Ramones, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, and Blondie. Currie lit up the stage with the provocative teen-rebellion songs "Cherry Bomb," "Queens of Noise," and "Born to Be Bad," riding a wave of hit songs and platinum albums, all while touring around the world.

On the face of it, Currie's is a riveting story of girl empowerment and fame. But it is also an intensely personal account of her struggles with drugs, sexual abuse, and violence. She and her bandmates, runaways all, were thrown into a decadent, high-pressure music scene where on the road, unsupervised for months at a time, they had to grow up fast and experience things that no teenage girls should. Neon Angel exposes the side of the music industry fans never get to see, and chronicles the group's rise to fame and their ultimate demise.

Shocking and inspiring, funny and touching, Neon Angel stunningly re-creates a bygone era of rock and roll, all the while providing an inside look at growing up hard under the relentless glare of the public eye, and chronicling one tough woman's fight to reclaim her life.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cherie bomb June 1 2010
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Rock'n'roll has always been the realm of men, but some women have gotten to shine over the years as well. "Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway" chronicles Cherie Currie's brief time as a reigning female rocker with the band the Runaways -- drugs, sex, rock'n'roll, and the painful memories of a young girl who grew up too fast.

At fifteen, Cherie Currie's family had completely crumbled and she had been raped by her twin sister's slimy ex-boyfriend. So she had a lot of rage and rebellion boiling inside... which was exactly what a sleazy manager out to create a "bad-girl" rock'n'roll band wanted. She became the lead singer of the five-girl band The Runaways, along with rock legend Joan Jett.

But the Runaways didn't have the glamorous wild life they had hoped for, since their manager pocketed almost all their money and they were forced into a grueling grind of record-cutting and touring. But internal tensions within the band started getting nasty because Currie was getting too much attention, and a nasty split from the band threw her into a downward spiral.

Cherie Currie is definitely one thing: brutally honest. "Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway" is like watching someone rip off a giant band-aid and showing the world the scars underneath. Her story about the Runaways is filled with sleazy men, loveless sex, hard-boiled bandmates and the consequences of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. There's no glamour here.

In fact, she's most brutally honest about herself. The overall tone of the book is that of a mature woman ruefully looking back on her youthful mistakes, and she never sugarcoats the horrible things that happened.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-CHERRY BOMB! Aug. 23 2011
By sinthu
Format:Paperback
Cherie Currie certainly has had an interesting life. I know her for the awesome band, the Runaways, but what I didn't know was that Cherie was also serious about acting, fitness and counselling. This autobiography, written with a Tom O'Neill, describes Cherie's life up to and after the Runaways. Overall, I was impressed with how Cherie captured narration from different stages of her life even though she wrote Neon Angel much later. For instance, at the beginning of the book, the narration is extremely childish. I was often irritated by the narration style, (I found Cherie's obsession David Bowie annoying at times), but, I appreciated that Cherie's writing style reflected who she was at the time. Also, the narration becomes bearable soon enough. I also thought that Cherie is very honest about her demons such as her drug problems and about the pressures of the entertainment industry she faced as a young girl.

I have to say that Kim Fowly, the Runaways' band manager, is a total jerk. He abused Cherie and the other members of the Runaways in all kinds of ways including sexual, financial, verbal and emotional abuse. Fowly really did exploit the girls and he reminds me of a certain aspiring music manager from high school.

Overall, this book was a page turner and I found to be pretty straight forward and easy to read. The book was certainly more intimidate than the movie and so I recommend that you read this book before making any judgement based on the film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll Dec 30 2010
By Amanda
Format:Hardcover
Neon Angel gives you a a first hand account into the tumultuous life (and lifestyle) that Cherie Currie was both thrust into and partially created for herself. It gives you all the dirty details of her life as the lead singer of the Runaways - her close relationship with Joan Jett, her desperate need for attention, and her often vicious jealous-ridden arguments with the other band members. Cherie is brutally honest, revealing the painstaking difficulties of life as an underage rock star, and doesn't seem to censor herself - even when painting herself in a bad light. She reveals her naivety, her selfishness, her self-hatred, her pain, and forcefully paints a picture of her own self-destruction. Each chapter is like delving into the diary of a girl who doesn't quite know what to do with herself.

A must read for Runaways fans!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great read Sept. 12 2010
Format:Hardcover
Loved this book! The story gives you a look into the rise of a very promising band to its short lived fame and the near demise of its lead singer. Cherie Currie gives an honest and hard look at her life before joining the band until the present. Be prepared for an unbelievable journey!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put it down! June 23 2010
Format:Hardcover
This book is one heck of a page-turner. Being a fan of the Runaways, I obviously found this book very interesting, but what surprised me was that several friends I loaned it to who had no interest in Currie or the Runaways told me they could not put it down! It is a gritty story of a fast-paced life running prematurely off the rails. Definately not for the faint-hearted, as Currie sugarcoats nothing. Many of the things Currie went through made me squirm uncomfortably, and some parts make you feel downright dirty. Sometimes it feels like the literary equivalent of a car accident, horrible to look at, but you just can't turn away. One almost has to wonder if it is embelleshed in some parts, because for someone to have gone through so much at such a young age seems unfathomable. But such was the life of 70s teen as part of the first all-girl hard rock band.

Unlike many other celebrity biographies I've read which tend to focus only on one thing, this book has a nice balance of describing Currie's personal life, career, and addictions. For better or for worse, you really get insight into both the "real" Cherie Currie and also her public persona. Also, there are definately going to be comparisons with the movie. Don't be fooled, this book is way better. See the movie first, then read the book to get all the things they couldn't show, and the truth (at least from Currie's point of view) about some of the events with which the movie takes artistic licence.

If you have any interest at all in the 70s music scene, Cherie Currie or the Runaways, or celebrity biographies in general, get this book. You'll be glad you did.
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