Saturday, November 23, 2013

Coreyography by Cory Feldman

OK, let’s get this out of the way right up front.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I bought this book, and even more embarrassed to admit that I liked it, sort of.

Cory Feldman wasn’t an icon of my generation, so I’m not sure why I was even interested in reading his autobiography, but I’d seen a few positive reviews, and I couldn’t seem to get into Khaled Hosseini’s new book And the Mountains Echoed. So I decided to slum it in a “tell all.”

In Coreyography, Feldman tells of a horrible upbringing by a physically and psychologically abusive mother who relied almost exclusively on Feldman’s acting income to support the family. Feldman doesn’t talk as much about his father, but it is apparent that he is mostly absent in every way. The stories about his childhood are so extreme, beatings, no food in the house, mom sleeping almost constantly, etc., that it makes one wonder if Feldman’s acting skills came as a result of his constant need to pretend to be normal.

Thankfully, Feldman balances out his tale with fun details of his early acting career – the making of The Goonies, Lost Boys and Stand By Me. And his rather sweet friendships with Michael Jackson and Steven Spielberg give us that “fly on the wall” sensation. But there’s always the nervous undercurrent of desperation to get another part, to make more money, to “stay in the game.” And when you consider that he was dealing with those very stressful needs at the age of eight, well, you can’t help but say, “Is it any wonder?”

Then there’s the other bad stuff. Feldman dedicates a great deal of the book to the details of his, and his best friend Cory Haim’s, sexual abuse and drug abuse. He claims they were both victimized by men with the power to make them famous (or not), and that all young actors are at risk at the hands of predators in the business of screening children trying to get work in Hollywood. Neither Feldman nor Haim had any kind of protection from a parent, and sadly, their lives were so messed up that neither knew if what was happening to them was right or wrong. So they self-medicated until it nearly killed them – or in Cory Haim’s case, killed him.

Interesting? Yes. True? I don’t know, and that’s what bothered me most about this book. Something about the phrasing of his words, or the pace of the narrative  – I couldn’t shake the feeling that Feldman was playing a part and really, really wanted to win an Oscar.

And the Oscar for best actor goes to….Cory Feldman for Coreyography!

Read it? Sure, but only if you find yourself feeling bored, or if you need reassurance that your life is actually pretty sane.

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