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Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway Hardcover – March 16, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 169 customer reviews

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  • Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway
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Editorial Reviews


“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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; 1St Edition edition (March 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061961353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061961359
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #610,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Rachel Kramer Bussel VINE VOICE on March 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This wild ride of a memoir takes us from Currie's suburban upbringing as a young rebel, dyeing her hair red, white and blue and dressing up as her idol, David Bowie, to, in a turn that is dramatically sudden, being asked to audition for The Runaways by Kim Fowley and Joan Jett while at her local hangout. All of a sudden, she's thrust into the big-time world of rock music, and the pace is hectic, with fame, and drugs, chasing the band.

The heart of the story is Currie's quest to find a family who'll appreciate her for herself; her dad does, and, to a large degree, her twin sister, Marie, and older sister, Sandie, but she contrasts them with the sisterhood, of sorts, she finds with her bandmates. The growing infighting amongst the band, in large part of what was perceived as Currie's starring role in the press, along with her own increasing reliance on drugs and exhaustion from touring, help drive them apart. Her life post-Runaways finds her acting (in the film Foxes, alongside Jodie Foster), recording solo albums and, mainly, figuring out who she is...all while still in her twenties. So much happens to Currie while still a teenager that it's sometimes hard to remember that she is so young.

This is often a dark story, including rape and attacks that read like something out of a true crime book. Her evocation of shows overseas, in Europe especially, are some of the most vivid, including garbage and knives being thrown onstage as punk hit; you can practically feel the anger hurtling toward the stage, and Currie documents these times as vividly as she does the wildness of setting out on the road for the first time.
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I was a fan of Joan jett from the time I was seven years old, ever since I first heard "I Love Rock N Roll". I didn't know anything about her early band, "The Runaways" till years later. I remembered Lita Ford from from her "Kiss Me Deadly" Video and her duet with Ozzy Ozborne on the song "Close My Eyes Forever" when I was just 13 years, old back in 1988. I didn't know that Joan Jett and Lita Ford were in a band together. I saw a documentary a few years ago about Joan and "The Runaways" about five years ago and decided to hear what they were about, so I decided to download some of their songs to hear for myself what they were all like. After listening to "Cherry Bomb", "Dead End Justice", and "Queens of Noise" I was blown away at how good these girls were, being that they were only just under seventeen years old! About two years ago I was watchimg [...] and decided to look at some vidoes for "The Runaways", cuz I was curious to see if there was any footage, of any of the their performances. I was totally amazed when I saw the video for "Cherry Bomb". I was like wow!!1 I cant believe that that blond chick with the white corset and thigh high fishnets, was only sixteen and strutting arond the stage like that. This was ten years before Madonna was wearing that. I was captivated by her voice cuz it sounded so mature for such a young girl. I was watching a video of Cherie Currie from 1987 I believe, and she was on the "Sally Jessie Rafael Show" sharing her testimony about her early youth in the Runaways and then she talked about the drugs and about her she kicked drugs ans all that and how she was working at that time as a drug counslor for teens. I was totally impressed with her honesty. I decided a couple weeks ago to buy her book called "Neon Angel: A memoir of a Runaway.Read more ›
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Cherie Currie's memoir is a roller coaster ride that's far beyond what most people will ever experience. She had more horrible things happen to her as a teenager than ten average people would have in an entire lifetime. A lack of parental supervision, a rebellious nature, and life on the road as a member of the Runaways led to many experiences that will simply make your jaw drop. I thought that Cherie losing her virginity at fourteen by being raped by her twin sister's boyfriend must be the low point of the book, but, incredibly enough, it gets much worse. After she joined the Runaways, she had to deal with the sleazy Kim Fowley and other people, and she fell into drug abuse which lasted for many years. Her attempt at becoming a rock star wasn't nearly as successful or lucrative as it should have been, but she somehow managed to survive her many bad experiences and drug addiction. I'm glad she made it through to the other side and got her life together, and I'm very glad that she wrote such a powerful memoir. It's a stunning piece of work. I'm sure the new Runaways movie will show some of the dark side of her life, but I'm also sure it will be a Disney story compared to this book. Buy this book and prepare to be astounded.
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I was very much looking forward to starting this book and although I was already familiar with some of the material there was also so much more to discover for the first time. I was not disappointed at all with the book and found it to be an engrossing read throughout, Cherie Currie's story is very unique.

The young Cherie could be described as a teenage rebel with a heart of gold who was obsessed with David Bowie before her life was changed forever when she was asked to audition for the Runaways, the first all girl teenage rock band. After joining the group, managed by the notorious Kim Fowley, the rock and fame game was quickly exposed as a never ending slog of recording and touring with the girls worked non stop by the unforgiving Fowley who basically took advantage of them at every turn while bleeding them dry. To help them keep up with the demands of the schedule the group were plied with drugs pretty much every day on tour and inevitably this had repurcussions for most of them later in life as the book goes on to detail.

After only around 3 years or so with the group and only moderate success Cherie left and immediately tried a solo career again under the guidance of Fowley but with little success. Unfortunately the Runaways were never accepted by the music press as anything other than a novelty act put together for Kim Fowleys amusement, which is a shame as they blazed the trail and made some kick ass rock n roll into the bargain. She then dabbled in acting and was probably the best thing in the 1980 movie Foxes, a teen movie which tried to show what the youth of that period were going through, which co-starred Jodie Foster.
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