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Permanent Midnight: A Memoir Paperback – June 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Process (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976082209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976082200
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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, and Alf, 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Pushcart Prize-winning author Jerry Stahl has written six books, including the memoir Permanent Midnight (made into a film with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson), and the novels Pain Killers and I, Fatty (optioned by Johnny Depp). Former Culture Columnist for Details, Stahl's widely anthologized fiction and journalism have appeared in a variety of places, including Esquire, The New York Times, Playboy, The Rumpus, and The Believer. He has also written extensively for film and television, including the highest rated episodes of CSI and, most recently, the HBO film Hemingway & Gelhorn, with Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen.

Customer Reviews

I read this book over four years ago, and still think about it often.
Helene Hoffman
If you want to know the truth about what it's really like to make it in Hollywood, read this book.
"stephpeskie"
I enjoyed Stahl's writing style a great deal- he's got a dry wit, and writes a droll account.
buddyhead

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By buddyhead on June 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was my favorite of a long string of [auto]biographies I have read about (at least in large part) substance abuse (including Basketball Diaries, Blow, Disco Bloodbath, Long time Gone (about David Crosby), A Drinking Life, etc.). I enjoyed Stahl's writing style a great deal- he's got a dry wit, and writes a droll account. However, his "hipness" did leave me in the dust a few times. He facilely rattles off names and movies by way of analogy and metaphor, and I am either too young or watch too few movies to understand them all. The book is through and through Hollywood in its groovy tone; even when Stahl inveighs against Tinseltown's excesses and characters, you can see that he is a part of the scene (e.g., he was killing himself with smack yet was a staunch vegetarian and long distance runner). Still, the book is hilarious, especially if you like things viewed through a sardonic lens.
Permanent Midnight is as objectively recounted as I suppose can be, and while Stahl doesn't seem to ask the reader for pity, I felt he tried to paint his environment as bleakly as possible, so as to lead one to think his drug use was inevitable. Truth be told, Stahl didn't seem to have it so bad, and fell blindly into a series of enviable career positions that probably only led to drugs because of the capital it gave him with which to feed his habit.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Azen on June 23, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book reads as a wonderful and contemporary account of Hollywood, television, drugs, and most importantly, the life and drama of one lonely man. This man also happens to be an incredibly intelligent and brilliant writer, who is able to not only re-tell strange, funny, and sometimes disturbing tales from his years under the gun of heroin, but at the same time, provide subtle insights into the nature of addiction, and the faults and lies which are an inherent facet of modern American life, (something junkies tend to do all too well). An excellent read for someone looking for realism, humor, and insight into the mind of a fairly ordinary guy. Also would be a valuable asset to someone contemplating the personal challenge of a memoir.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is as well-written a memoir as I've ever read and the subject matter is utterly fascinating. While I enjoyed the film they made of this book, the book itself does far more to illuminate the dysfuntional aspects of Stahl's life and the reasons behind the self-loathing behavior. The bottom line for readers, though, is that the book is a page-turner--as entertaining and gripping as the best suspense novels and as hilarious as the best comic novels. The fact that all this actually happened makes the book even more haunting. A classic of our time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Helene Hoffman on December 27, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book over four years ago, and still think about it often. I love to read well-written memoirs, and this is the best-written one I have ever read. Stahl is incredibly funny, and articulate, yet the description of his devastating life with drugs is nothing short of amazing. If you know little about drug addiction, this book will educate you like no book can. This blows the stereotype on junkies - here is a White, professional , well-educated (Columbia Univ. grad), whose world explodes over and over again due to his heroin and cocaine use. There were times reading this book where I nodded my head and said "he can't possibly survive this addiction, it's so deep-seated; it's his whole life". Yet he manages to. I only wish he would write a sequel. I have not had a drug problem myself, yet I work with people who are addicts, and this book educated me better than anything else has about their behavior, and their world. Stahl has done what no one else has - He has shown us the life he has lead, and he leaves no stone unturned, even if it reveals some horrifying things about him (like taking his infant daughter along literally to a den of hell in order to buy drugs). Don't pass this book up.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a most incredible book: Jerry Stahl manages to show us how disgusting and dangerous the life of a drug addict can be, and make us laugh out loud at the same time. I have never read a book that made me laugh and cry in turns. This book succeeds on several levels: as a cautionary tale against drug-taking; as a look inside the empty, meaningless 80's in Hollywood; at the life-altering experience of anti-Semitism (his childhood); as a testement to the redemtive experience of being a parent; and as a prime example ofhow to write a memoir. And frankly, I have to come back to my original point: the book is hysterically funny -- Jerry Stahl survived because he's big enough to be able to laugh at himself. Read it ASAP.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By P. Zrimsek on March 13, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First let me say that Jerry Stahl is a good writer. This book does not disappoint because Stahl can't get his point across clearly or in an entertaining way. It's just that he covers the same ground again and again and again. He tries for self-depracating humor which works early on, but by the half-way point the reader knows what's coming next. More self-loathing, more flashbacks to a cruddy childhood and more platitudes about loving his child while simultaneously shooting up. Apparently, Stahl finally kicked his addictions, but he doesn't ever really explain his enlightenment. I give Stahl an A for realism and showing that the life of an addict sucks, but I give him a C for redundancy and a C on his self-analysis.
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