From Publishers Weekly
This unabashedly lurid and often highly entertaining book traces Stahl's rise from Hustler staffer, to highly paid prime-time television writer, to his breakneck devolution into self-loathing junkie father and "author of nothing but bad checks." While stumbling cheerily toward rock bottom, he somehow managed to keep landing such plum assignments as writing for Moonlighting and thirtysomething. But fans hoping for backstage gossip about their favorite shows will be disappointed. For all the rivers of every conceivable narcotic flowing here, there is surprisingly little inside dope. "The truth: This book... is less... an exercise in recall than exorcism." Stahl's manic wise-cracking never wavers, whether he is describing his remote and suicidal parents or a grandmotherly babysitter who forced him to lick Jujubes off her nipples every day after school. While Stahl managed to survive his fall with enough "real funny" intact to provoke some grossed-out laughs, what seems meant as a hilarious memoir of his drug-besotted depression too often becomes just a depressing memoir of his hilarity. A study in self-absorption.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
It's not pretty and it's not "professional," but it's Jerry Stahl's true story of his life as a writer. Beginning his career as a pornographer for Beaver
magazine, Stahl later wrote fake sex letters for Penthouse
and articles for Hustler
before moving on to write scripts for such TV hits as Moonlighting, Thirtysomething,
jobs that put almost $7,000 a week in his bank account. This is also the story of Stahl's addictions to smack, coke, crack, Dilaudids--you name it. Moving between $100 L.A. lunches and meetings with Cybill Shepherd to dangerous scores in the worst parts of the city, Stahl managed to lose his family, his house, his screenwriting opportunity for the second season of Twin Peaks,
and nearly his life. Permanent Midnight
is not for people with delicate sensibilities or any other low thresholds for truth. Stahl's autobiography provides no glitzy Hollywood confessional with raised letters on the dust jacket, and it's not a self-help book on recovery. Instead, it explores, with brutal honesty and humor, the author's struggle between the nightmares of addiction and the nightmares of sobriety. 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. Recommended for the true elite: those who can tell themselves a joke while slitting their own throats. Greg Burkman