Sparkling water fanatic. Lover of random crap. Goodreads member curious to see if the grass really is greener on the other side.
While they were sleeping, River had died on the Sunset Strip. The world had changed overnight.
A long, time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away (also known as high school), a friend introduced me to a movie titled Dogfight, about a group of young military men who have a contest to see who can bring the ugliest date. No, this was not like Dinner for Schmucks. My friend and I watched that movie several times at her house, and then I never saw it again. Over the years, I've mentioned it to a few people, who hadn't heard of it. I tried checking Netflix and Amazon and other services which stream movies for me and it was nowhere to be found. My husband thinks I'm crazy when I talk about this movie which "doesn't exist."
I was MOTHER EFFING right that this was an actual movie (one which only made less than 400k and wasn't widely released), and I just found out that River Phoenix was in it! Thank you to this book I read for restoring my sanity!
Anyway, random story aside, let's go back to River himself. One of my male friends hates it when males are called beautiful, but every single time I see River, the word pops into my head (along with other, less fortunate words). Let me show you what I mean...
Once, when River was eighteen, somebody asked him if he had had a happy childhood. "Happy?" he replied, as if the idea had never occurred to him. "Well, it was interesting."
"River was the most beautiful child you've ever seen."
He had no social skills.
When you're fifteen, to have to think of yourself as a prophet is unfair.
River smiled sweetly at his tormentors and told them, "If you want to kick my ass, go ahead. Just explain to me why you're doing it."
After a confused pause, one of the skinheads said, "Ah, you wouldn't be worth it."
"We're all worth it, man," River said with a beatific smile. "We're all worth millions of planets and stars and galaxies and universes."
This is a tale of more than just young Hollywood. You might be interested in the details of how actors such as Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, the two Coreys (and I laughed at how badly they were portrayed for being aholes), etc. came to be, which are in here, intertwined with River's story.
I was here for River though. The recounting of his heartbreaking childhood and following awkward teen years tugged at my heart. This young man who was so uncomfortable in his own skin, he had a story that the world would have wanted to hear. It is sad to see all the potential in the world shut down in the blink of an eye.
He was a soft-hearted vegan who wanted to change the world. Instead, he is remembered as the person who overdosed on a street outside of a club on the Sunset Strip and died. The details of how he got to that point were subtly blurred in favor of showcasing the person he was instead. I liked that. In fact, I wanted more of the secret River.
Rarely, do biographies manage to come across as anything but cold and observing. Because there were dashes of dark sarcasm and snippets of River's musings, I felt like I was dropped into his life and wanted to stay just a little while longer than I was allowed to.
River was one of my first childhood crushes and he's been one of the few which I've wondered about from time to time. What we he look like today if he were alive? Would he be successful, or would he have walked away from the business which he wasn't sure he even wanted to be a part of? Would he have continued on the path where he followed his love of music? It's sad that we'll never know what was to be.
All in all, it was a beautiful recount of the life of a beautiful young man.
This book provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All quotes taken from the pre-published copy and may be altered or omitted from the final version.