By the time Corey Feldman writes, in Chapter Fourteen of his memoir Coreyography, “He was the only person in my immediate circle who wasn’t molesting me”, he’s already dished enough tawdry shenanigans among the young Hollywood set, and those who exploited them, to gain your trust: He’s telling the truth and he’s not holding back. Eminently, incessantly readable – indeed, compulsively readable, and digestible in one sitting if you’ve got the stomach – Feldman’s memoir has enough drug abuse, child molestation and general sleaze for a month of miniseries.
Of course, you’re going to ask, Why would I want to read Feldman’s memoir? To which I can only reply, Why in the world wouldn’t you? Feldman, now a father, was hugely famous, with some of his monster hits being Gremlins, Goonies, Stand By Me and The Lost Boys, the latter with Corey Haim, with whom he’d be forever linked and with whom he became lifelong (Haim died in 2010) best friends. This guy took meetings with Spielberg before he was a teenager. His is the inside story of what it was like to be a working child actor, and then a teenage movie star, in Hollywood in the 80s and 90s. You have probably, at some point, wondered what that kind of upbringing would be like. Here it is.
There’s more too: stage parents from hell (indeed, just parents from hell), trashed hotel rooms (literally), behind-the-scenes scoops on famous scenes and moments from the films and the lives (wait’ll you read about an appearance on Larry King Live) and a cast of characters that includes Spielberg, Joe Dante, Richard Donner, Drew Barrymore (one of Feldman’s girlfriends), Ricky Shroder, Crispin Glover (whom Feldman seems to be channeling for the book’s cover photograph), Sam Kinison, River Phoenix (and the full family Phoenix), Robin Williams and, in a truly memorable portrait, Joel Schumacher. (In the audio book, Feldman, who reads, does truly excellent – and very funny – impersonations of all of these, and everyone else, including a version of his mother that sounds like Patty and Selma from The Simpsons).
Of course, the main other character is Haim, who comes and goes throughout the book like Mercutio to Feldman’s (admittedly drug-fucked) Romeo. As Feldman laments late in the book, Haim never told his story, and Feldman’s will almost certainly be the best primary-source version we get. Haim’s was a truly tragic Hollywood tale, and seeing the famous Two Corey Story from the inside is, if you’re into this sort of thing, incredibly revealing.
The other argument you may have against reading Feldman’s book is that Feldman is cheesy, and that’s harder to refute. That title is enough of a super-cheesy turnoff, and Feldman is prone to stacking on the cheese at times, especially in his audio book reading, which makes everything… a little too… dramatic. But he’s definitely likeable, and while not possessed of rivers of humour, the book’s stories are so outrageous that a human comedy exists; Feldman just has to relate it, and relate it he does: one thing that cannot be denied is the book’s honesty. He’s willing to tell you everything. (One area he keeps away from: his own, personal, consensual sex life. But there’s plenty of molestation).
The book could’ve been longer, but maybe that would be pressing the point, or maybe Feldman’s skills as a writer would become more and more exposed as he strove to embellish or deepen his descriptive imagery. As such, he lays the many sordid anecdotes down, straight and no-frills, and lets you hoover them up like a line of cocaine. Seems appropriate. I got addicted, and it was a rush.