Permanent Midnight: A Memoir Paperback – Jun 1 2005
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"An extraordinary accomplishment... A remarkable book that will be of great value to people who feel isolated, alienated and overwhelmed by the circumstances of their lives." --Hubert Selby, Jr., author of Last Exit to Brooklyn "[Stahl] is a better-than-Burroughs virtuoso." --Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker "Original, appalling, indelible picture of a man trying to swim and drown at the same time. Stahl has nerve, heart, a language of his own and a ghastly, riotous humor." --Tobias Wolff, author of This Boy's Life "Permanent Midnight is one of the most harrowing and toughest accounts ever written in this century about what it means to be a junkie in America, making Burroughs look dated and Kerouac appear as the nose-thumbing adolescent he was." --Booklist --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Novelist, screenwriter, and journalist, Jerry Stahl has written nine books, including the novels Perv, Pain Killers, Happy Mutant Baby Pills, the highly acclaimed and bestselling I, Fatty -optioned by Johnny Depp-and his latest collection of personal essays, OG Dad. He has written for a variety of publications including Details (where he was Culture columnist), The Believer, The New York Times, and Esquire, and is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for short fiction.
Stahl is that rarest of writers, one whose work has been embraced by both the underground and mainstream alike. His extensive film and TV credits range from the X-rated cult classic Cafe Flesh to ALF, the highest-rated episode of CSI to the HBO film Hemingway & Gellhorn. Stahl has taught at Sylmar Juvenile Hall and San Quentin. Most recently, he writes for the IFC series, Maron, and is completing a new novel, Ten-Cent Apocalypse.
Nic Sheff is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. Still in his early twenties, he continues to fight daily battles with his addictions. His writing has been published in Newsweek, Nerve, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Tweak is his first book. Both Stahl and Sheff live in Los Angeles. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
He starts with acid in High School, and quickly moves on to cocaine and heroin.
This book is very honest. Stahl makes plenty of excuses for his addiction but also admits that he shouldn't have any excuses. He's a very well paid TV screenwriter (ALF, Moonlighting, Thirty Something) with a $6,000 a week heroin addiction.
One story that sticks but in my mind is when Jerry is given a week to write a sample for Twin Peaks. He is in such an extreme drug haze, that when the messenger arrives to pick up the script, Jerry thinks it's only been two days. Sorry, Jerry, it's been seven. Then there's the time Jerry smokes crack while living out of his car and realizes he's `one of those people.'
Jerry tries to clean up multiple times. Sometimes he succeeds, but he always seems to find his way back into the arms of his addiction. Not even his newborn baby can save Jerry.
I enjoyed this book. It is dark and at times disturbing. But, Jerry remains hopeful. This book was written in 1994, and I hope Jerry is clean.
Fast forward a few years later and I am jobless, scoring in East L.A, and selling large quantities of heroin. I got busted and was hauled off to federal prison for four years. I rememebered the movie and knew that it was a also a book. So I had my dad order it.
Jerry Stahl is one of the genuine talents of his generation. The book blew me away. I'd classify it as a literary memoir, Stahl really flexes his writing muscles and tells his story in a refreshingly honest way. It wasn't self-indulgant as some reviewers have lamented. This was an indictment on the materialistic, ego-driven, who-do-you-know, world of Hollywood. This guy knows what he's talking about and it seems that some readers have mistaken his sincerity for something they don't understand because they haven't inhabited the world he desribes.
Another complaint that reviewers seem to have is that his story somehow lacks validity because he was given so many opportunities for success. The fact of the matter is that he is a great writer. He attended Colombia University and worked his way from a seedy Hustler magazine job to writing for various television programs. He earned the opportunities presented to him. And heroin addiction doesn't discriminate... It can sink its claws into you no matter what socioeconomic class you are part of. Addiction is still just as horrific and the struggles are just as arresting.
Humor really makes this memoir standout as the masterpiece that it is. Humor is the last coping mechanism that an addict has, after all of their other emotional responses have been stripped away. When I was an addict I made everything a joke, no matter the degree of damage I was inflicting on myself. When I was arrested, when I contracted hepatitis c, when I had to get a puss-filled abcess lanced; it was all something to laugh off. The majority of memoirs about drug addiction are overly morose. They talk about the misery and never make light of it. Consequently, they lack emotional honesty. This memoir examined addiction and was sure to point out its absurdity when it was needed, all done so in this dark satirical way, that any true junkie will find humor, truth, and comfort in.
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