Cohan's Memoir Falls, Crashes and Burns to Ashes

John_CohanOne of the most telling aspects of celeb-psychic John Cohan's book, Catch A Falling Star, is that at one point he claims that he's never been in his line of work to make money. Which is a blessing, because if this book is any indication of his ability as a communicator on the printed page, he'll hardly be raking in the chips. Published by Black and White Enterprises (which the author claims to be a small publishing faction in the Pocono Mountains, although no information is available online or elsewhere about same),

as a whole, the project seems unsure as to whether it's an autobiography, or simply a collection of anecdotes about the older and newer Hollywood and the star-clients for whom he's done readings. Unfortunately, in either case, the psychic realm is rarely explored therein, which leaves readers wholeheartedly wanting.

Before even discussing the narrative, one must look at the book's grammatical and stylistic flaws. Not only are such words as "nemesis" misspelled as "nemasis," but the names of many of Cohan's clients and acquaintances are similarly misspelled, i.e. Polly Bergen as Polly Bergan, Kaye Ballard as Kay Ballard, Connie Stevens as Connie Steven, Barbra Streisand as Barbara Streisand, Brenda Benet as Brenda Beet, Coral Browne as Carol Brown, Glynis Johns as Glynnis John, Stefanie Powers as Stephanie Powers, and even his "dearheart," Nicole Brown Simpson (he refers to her thusly throughout the book) as Nichole Brown Simpson. One could possibly overlook these if they were isolated incidents, but there's at least one such glaring mistake every few pages. Equally puzzling, is not only the use of extremely basic vocabulary, but the lack of grammar, which is overwhelming; commas appear where they shouldn't, a single hyphen is always employed in the text where a true dash should be, titles of shows and projects that have been italicized, also employ quotation marks, and most egregious of all, is that every period that ends a sentence is followed by a double space before the next sentence begins, as opposed to the industry standard of single spacing. In addition, the layout of short paragraphs to convey each thought, as opposed to longer paragraphs that can encapsulate several ideas, all belonging to that same thought, make this quite a difficult read. Which brings us to Cohan's narrative.

The story begins with Cohan's Irish-Catholic upbringing in Brooklyn, and he's quick to point out that, though his mother had her own aspirations for a career as a singer while growing up, girls simply weren't encouraged to be anything more than housewives and mothers (which makes one wonder if, in that particular section of Brooklyn, one had never heard of school teachers, secretaries or nurses). After what seemed to be a psychic vision of a schoolmate dying in an accident, which came to pass exactly as he saw it, and developing subsequent schoolboy crushes on Sandra Dee and Tuesday Weld (both of whom would figure into his life story at later times), Cohan believed he'd been endowed with a "Divine Gift," and sought out to make the most of it. Ultimately, over the next several decades, he found himself shuttling between New York and Los Angeles, as a psychic reader for such varied personalities as Sharon Tate, Nick Adams, Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Sullivan. He enjoyed a cherished friendship with the underrated actress Diane McBain (spelled McBaine in the book), and speaks highly of both Jayne (spelled correctly) Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe, as well as Danny Thomas and his daughter Marlo. It was around this same time that Tuesday Weld entered his life. However, in a very strange turn of narrative choice, the story then leaps ahead more than two decades, to his dealings with John Kennedy, Jr., whom he professes had a sexual preference for males, and also touches on the strange relationship between Roddy McDowell and George Maharis. From there, the story continues much in the same unenthralling vein, but for the occasional highlight, such as his close brush with marrying Sandra Dee and what he purports to be extremely inside information about the evil that is Connie Stevens, not to mention that he paints the late lamented Virginia Graham as nothing more than a cougar who only sought to lure young men into bed. In point of fact, the reader feels not so much a sense of, "This guy is making all of this up," as a sense of, "OK, he lived through all of this. So.....who CARES???"

The book's superior highlight (or at least what aspires to be the book's superior highlight) is that Cohan, who claims to have been dear friends with Nicole Brown Simpson, finally reveals the true identity of the person who murdered her, based on his psychic intuition, and that it was not fact her ex-husband Orenthal James Simpson. That person? Andrew Cunanan. Yes, Andrew Cunanan, the young man who embarked on a murder spree and shot four people to death around the country in different locations before murdering Gianni Versace on July 15, 1997, and then shot himself to death on a houseboat eight days later. Is this possible? One couldn't remotely say, although Cohan holds steadfast to the belief that it's absolutely true. One could equally look at the disparity of the facts, inasmuch as that Mrs. Simpson was stabbed to death, as opposed to being shot, and that it was three years before Cunanan (who at the time of her murder would have been barely twenty-three) embarked on his murderous escapade.

Is John Cohan's Catch A Falling Star worth a purchase? Sure, why not? So was My Mother's Keeper by B.D. Hyman.

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