This strong collection of Sager's articles over the past 20 years for Rolling Stone and GQ demonstrates his skill as a reporter whose main interest is investigating America's dark and lurid corners. Most of the articles divide roughly into two groups. The first focuses on well-known subjects such as porn star John Holmes's drug-induced decline ("The Devil and John Holmes"), actor Rob Lowe's infamous sex tape ("Rob Lowe's Girl Trouble") and funk-rocker Rick James's obsession with freebase cocaine and violence ("The Rise and Fall of a Super Freak"). The second explores lesser known but often more horrible incidents, such as "The Death of a High School Narc" in Midlothian, Tex. Sager incorporates in all the articles such journalistic devices as scene-by-scene construction, realistic dialogue and third-person point of view, completely capturing everyday details of a subject's life. But two articles are especially compelling. One is an intimate portrait of Janet Cooke (with whom Sager was once involved), the journalist whose Pulitzer Prize-winning, and fake, story about an eight-year-old heroin addict got her fired from the Washington Post; the other is a lengthy, detailed look at the life and death of author Carlos Castaneda.
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Sager's delightfully seamy glimpses of the underside of pop culture begin with the facts behind the film Wonderland. John Holmes, whose prodigious penis once made him the king of smut, lost the ability to, uh, perform because of his coke habit and, before dying of AIDS, got involved in a series of sleazy deals culminating in a bloody revenge killing. Next up is innocent-looking porn queen Savannah, who apparently lacked enthusiasm for sex. Reportedly, a director once suggested she "say 'fuck me' or something," whereupon "Savannah looked over her shoulder at the actor inside her" and said, "Fuck me or something"; shortly after, the occasional junkie shot herself in the head. Then there's the original Super Freak, Rick James, who went from recording success to serving time for false imprisonment and assault; Rob Lowe, who videotaped himself having sex with an underage girl; ex-congressman Gary Condit; and 14 other celebrities who had similar misadventures. Pretty it ain't, but throbbingly real it is--dynamic episodic reading, too. Mike Tribby
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Worth it alone for the Rob Lowe story, oh and the Secret Life of a Beautiful Woman - and don't forget he covers the Wonderland Murder. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stephanie
The book is excellent. The kindle edition is riddled with errors. None are major enough to ruin the experience (mostly misspellings or things like "it" instead of... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Grabowski
Given that this is written by a journalist, who one would assume has friends that are editors; there are an appalling amount of spelling, grammatical and just plain lazy errors. Read morePublished 24 months ago by K. Galloway
I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. Not to say it was bad, just not for me.Published 24 months ago by OkieGamer1313
I read this on a plane, thought it was really good. I highly recommend this book if you like non-fiction.Published on August 29, 2013 by LeeAnn J. Kendrick
This is an entertaining and interesting read. The stories remind of us headlines from the past - Rick James, Heaven's Gate, just to name a few. Read morePublished on August 27, 2013 by Trina Chase
I may not have given this book a chance, but if the first story, the one about John (ugh) Holmes is any example, I do not want to read the rest of this "freaky"
book. Read more
It was an interesting read which I found very entertaining. I enjoy Mike Sager's writing a lot. Would highly recommend it.Published on July 25, 2013 by K. Spaulding