We all know her as the “Cherry Bomb,” strutting the stage as the sexy jailbait singer of all-girl teenage band The Runaways. But Cherie Currie was also a young victim of rape, bullying, and a broken home, all of which left a void that her “rock ‘n’ roll authority” was meant to fill.
In Neon Angel, an updated version of her original tell-all (the new film The Runaways is partly based on the book), Currie details these struggles and her coming of age under the limelight in 1970’s America.
It’s certainly a harrowing tale. Currie’s innocence chips away page by page. Some of the blame falls on Kim Fowley, who crudely capitalized on Currie’s budding sexuality. (Once, Fowley essentially pimps her out to an undisclosed pop star for the sake of publicity; Fowley’s verbal abuse towards Currie and her bandmates is also demoralizing.) But not to be overlooked is the drug crutch Currie fashions to deal with the emotional pain. Drugs are a drag long past her time as a Runaway.
Refreshingly, through all this chaos we still hear the voice of a hopeful young woman who desperately wants to survive. This positivity from a continuously exploited girl prevents Neon Angel from reading like another tired, fallen rock star memoir. It reminds us that, at the end of the day, Currie was simply trying to find her footing in a man’s world.