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Books by Five Fierce Women: Cherie Currie, Kelly Cutrone, Melissa Febos, Chris O'Dell, and Sue Scheff

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These books have all been published recently and are readily available - either at your local bookstore or online, through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If you're looking for a great summer read by a woman writer who really has a tale to tell, I invite you to take a look at one or all of these tomes.

Neon Angel / A Memoir of A Runaway by Cherie Currie with Tony O'Neill (itbooks, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers)

This is the incredible story of young Cherie Currie, a California teenager who left a David Bowie concert in the '70s with stars in her eyes and a few weeks later walked into a club called the Sugar Shack and met up with fate, in the form of Kim Fowley and Joan Jett. Kim and Joan just happened to be looking for a lead singer to front the first all-girl rock band, the Runaways. What happened next is now rock and roll history. Cherie's story is both harrowing and glorious, and she came out the other side of the zeitgeist with her body and soul intact. She now owns a career as a champion chain-saw carver, which kind of makes perfect sense to me.

If You Have To Cry, Go Outside and other things your mother never told you by Kelly Cutrone with Meredith Bryan (HarperOne, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers)

Kelly Cutrone first came on my radar when I saw her on The Hills, making mincemeat of Stephanie Pratt. She struck me immediately as someone who did not fit into the reality show genre - and I mean that in a good way. Then she surfaced with her own show, the highly addictive Kell on Earth, about the day to day of her fashion P.R. company People's Revolution. If You Have To Cry, Go Outside is essential reading for any starstruck would-be New Yorker - I only wish I'd had this book when I arrived in this 'burg back in the day. Oh yeah, and anyone who uses a John Trudell quote as their introduction has me from hello. And you don't need to live in Manhattan (or want to) to apply the empowering life lessons in this book and come out the better for it.

Whip Smart: A Memoir by Melissa Febos (St. Martin's Press)

This is the story of a New School student who fell into the underground sex trade quite by accident, becoming a professional dominatrix and, to her surprise, finding that she was quite good at it. She also found that hard drugs became all but essential for her to perform the required tasks of the profession. Whip Smart covers four years of her life; at first seduced by a newly discovered sexual power, then going through the motions in a drug-induced haze, followed by her struggle to free herself from an addiction both to drugs and the income she was making in the sex trade. Febos currently teaches writing and literature and hosts a popular music and reading series, Mixer. She is an incredibly gifted writer, and this book is nothing short of mesmerizing as it brings us into a netherworld most of us will never ever see firsthand.


Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved by Chris O'Dell with Katherine Ketcham (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster)

Chris O'Dell's defining moment took place one night in early 1968 when a friend urged her to meet him at a restaurant in L.A. where he was having drinks with the dashing, debonair Derek Taylor, the Beatles' press officer. She really wanted to stay home and watch TV but got talked into going and meeting Derek and to say the rest is history in this case is hilariously trite. That meeting changed her life; not long after, she moved to London and became a fixture at Apple, the Beatles' company. She was eventually hired and worked her way up the ranks, at one point working full time for George Harrison. In later years he immortalized her forever on the song "Miss O'Dell" (hence, the book's name - and that's only one of the songs about her). The twists and turns in this incredible tale would take too long for the space we have here - and spoil your fun in reading this book. It's a truly fascinating backstage look at the Beatles, the Stones, and quite a few other household names.


Google Bomb: The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet by John W. Dozier and Sue Scheff (HCI Books)

This is the only book here that is not a memoir but, regardless, it is the true story of events in a woman's life. Google Bomb details the story behind a landmark court ruling in a 2006 lawsuit against internet slander. Sue Scheff, who had founded a child and parenting advocacy organization called P.U.R.E. (Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc.) to help the parents of troubled teens, was sickened to find that she was the target of a hate campaign using every free speech resource the web has to offer - which is vast. This book is absolutely essential reading for the times we live in. The internet, which has made us all world citizens and leveled the playing field in many ways, also has a vicious dark side which Scheff learned all too well. This book will astonish you, frighten you even, but it will awaken you. It also provides real tools to protect yourself from online bullying and abuse.