"TARNISHED ANGEL: Surviving the Dark Curve of Drugs, Violence, Sex, and Fame" by Jennifer Lee

"TARNISHED ANGEL: Surviving the Dark Curve of Drugs, Violence, Sex, and Fame"

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High-life memoir that smokes like a heat-seeking missile. Many readers won't get past the opening chapters of Lee's story (told in the first-person present), which propel the reader on greased skids and create a queasy momentum that allows little time for sympathy for Lee to grow. Those who stay the distance, though, will undoubtedly give Lee a big word-of-mouth boost. This book is unbelievable and its title adjective ""tarnished"" a total understatement. Lee's affairs with famed Don Juans are legion, her drugs top-grade and never-ending (despite a passing shot at A.A.), her crises the stuff of Krantz or Steel. Lee falls victim to her abused mother, a madwoman; steals her sister's lover at 16 to lose her virginity; takes the fast elevator up in Manhattan's glitterworld to bed with Warren Beatty and Roman Polanski; flies to London with Adnan Kashoggi (who is married to Saroya, with whom Beatty and Lee have threesomes, a form of triangular romping that Polanski is apparently addicted to as well); or wails with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, or Jimmy Connors--just for starters. Many of these are long-term lovers (who can afford jet-set apartments), but along the way Lee collects countless unfamed lovers, candy bars for a casual energy lift. At times she earns money as a fashion model or from bit parts in movies. Her Waterloo is a major liaison with Richard Pryor, who time and again beats her mercilessly, then marries her, only to ask for a divorce. (Lee describes his celebrated burning as a matter of Pryor dousing himself with 150-proof rum, then lighting a match to immolate himself.) She returns to him again and again, though, just this past summer leaving him bedridden with drugs. A struggling frankness amid a bonfire of dirty linen.

Pub Date: Dec. 2nd, 1991
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth