All I really knew about Corey Feldman before reading his memoir was I liked several of his early movies —Gremlins, The Goonies, Stand By Me, and my favorite, The Lost Boys — and like many child stars, he fell into a well-publicized spiral of drug abuse and unfounded arrogance. After reading Coreyography, though, Feldman comes across as a somewhat tragic figure. Yes, drug abuse is self-inflicted and not usually worthy of much empathy, but abusive parents and sexual molestation make the descent into addiction somewhat understandable, an escape from what must have been a horrible reality. His father was largely absent in Feldman's earliest days, leaving him in the care of his untreated schizophrenic mother and a family that looked at him like a paycheck rather than a person. Later, when his father returned to run his career, an assistant hired by his dad began molesting Feldman, starting a cycle of exploitation that lasted for years and included a couple of half-hearted suicide attempts. When Corey turned 15 he legally emancipated himself from his family, but he had already been introduced to cocaine and sadly found himself with his only adult role model being his friend Michael Jackson. Jackson was still a few years out from his own downfall, but still a long way from what I'd call a positive influence. Two failed marriages and a couple of stints in rehab later, Feldman appears to have gotten his life together and the book ends on a hopeful note, Feldman bonding with his son. This is a surprisingly personal and revealing memoir; I'd expected braggadocio and rationalizations, but instead got an honest look back over an amazingly unhappy life.
I am three years old, sitting at the small round breakfast table in our tiny kitchen, eyeing a half-open box of cereal.