River Phoenix: Hero & Heartthrob
by Grace Catalano.
First published in 1988.
ISBN 0-553-27728-6 (Paperback, 103 Pages)
Printed only once in 1988, and written by the editor of the magazine Dream Guys, this would become the only biography to published about River before his death.
In the first book to chart the then unknown history of River's childhood in South America, his return to the United States in 1978 and his subsequent rise to fame, the author is obviously keen to demonstrate the close bond that binds the entire Phoenix family together. In addition, she refers to River's brother and sisters regularly throughout her book.
There's no denying the fact that the Phoenixes are famous. Even though times are now easier for the tight-knit group, the haven't let success change them. On the contrary, they remain secure, positive, and ready for what the future holds. "The opportunities these kids have is amazing," says Arlyn. "The places they've traveled to and the people they've met have given them confidence.
"My husband John and I have been blessed with five extraordinary children," she continues with an engaging smile. "I look at them sometimes and wonder why they're mine." She pauses, thinks, and adds, almost hesitantly, "Maybe someday we can make a difference in the world."
Somehow, it seems like River and his family already have.
The Legacy of John and Heart Phoenix
and one of the most extraordinary pictures
to be featured in any of the biographies.
"Get to know the real River Phoenix" promises the book. But, by the close of the book, it is not certain if that promise has been fulfilled. With hindsight, it is doubtful that anyone outside of his tightly closed circle of family and friends truly knew the real River. Putting that aside though, for a few hours anyway, immersed between the covers of this book, one can at least read about River in the present tense. It's a great experience - and just like the way it used to be. We can read about an eighteen-year-old actor who has lived the "rags to riches" fairytale in every sense. And at the end of the last chapter, we leave him level-headed and surrounded by the love of his family. So many plans - looking for a new family home, preparing an album and carefully trying to traverse that difficult journey from child-star to that of serious adult actor. But most of all, looking forward to what the future holds....
How does River, who has such a bright future ahead of him, stay so level-headed? His answer is quick, stern and sensible. "I just look in the mirror and say to myself, 'I see you. I know who you really are,' " he says.
Will River be an actor in the future? A singer? Director? Instead of giving a definite answer, he wants to keep his future open to anything that comes along. One thing that is certain: River will always be a part of the entertainment world. He has had an enriching experience in show business and he appears to have a deep affection for and dedication to both acting and music.
Despite River's strong protest against stardom, he remains at the top. It has already been predicted that when he gives up his crown as today's most popular teen hero and heartthrob, he will continue to shine as one of tomorrow's biggest and brightest stars.