An American Demon: A Memoir
by Jack Grisham
Depravity, redemption, terror, and spiritual deliverance abound in this physically and psychologically complex memoir from the front man of the pioneer punk band True Sounds of Liberty (TSOL). Spanning the extremes between hard-core punk memoir and handbook for recovery and survival, this narrative documents a youth rebellion that changed the world and offered life lessons...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by ECW Press
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Jack Grisham is a talented writer. However, he needs an editor. If I had to read one more elongated diatribe about how he's a demon and we're merely humans that are somehow ignorant of his incredible knowledge of the underworld, I was gonna puke. Got it, buddy, you're a real tough guy, you're craaazy. And hey, I'll give Grisham credit on the demon stuff - he is an asshole. No doubt about it. Who else would punch his pregnant girlfriend in the belly, threaten kids with a sawed off shotgun and try...more
May 16, 2011 catechism rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: punks, trainwreck aficionados
It says, on the jacket, "If you've ever found yourself unable to turn away from witnessing an accident, crash, or natural disaster, you'll read An American Demon straight through." And so I did. I had to put it down a few times -- it isn't a nice book, after all; Grisham wasn't a nice person -- but I didn't stay away for long. I'm not even sure it's a GOOD book, quite frankly, but I seem to have lost all perspective on what a good book even means anymore.
...let me back up. If you know anything...more
...let me back up. If you know anything...more
Definitely not for the timid or those easily disgusted. This reads like Augusten Burroughs meets Bukowski meets Sid Vicious.....I loved it! Well , most of the time, some of the misogynistic scenes were really difficult for me to get past. However, the punk rock history and the alcoholism/addiction aspects coupled with recovery and just plain readable hedonistic, train wreck exploits of Jack Grisham made this mostly a great read. Must say though that his writing abilities wavers some. He starts o...more
I am impressed. Jack has really turned out a unique, hard-hitting memoir. Not your average rock bio and definitely not for the weak of heart. Jack doesn't seem to hold anything back, portraying himself as a vicious "demon" using and discarding people from an early age. He enjoyed causing pain to others and seemed to do it at every opportunity. Not the portrait of a nice guy, and he doesn't go very far into the "redemption" part of the story, if at all. Reminded of me of Art Pepper's bio in that...more
This book is not for everyone. It is gritty, uncomfortable and much like a train wreck, you won't want to look away or miss a word. I just wish that there was an audio version since I think it would have been even better to hear Jack Grisham recount these tales in his own voice. Since this is labelled a memoir, I am sure that there are certain elements of the story that are not exactly how others remember them and are colored through vast amounts of alcohol and drugs. If you know that going in,...more
Good luck finding a more unlikable, but charming narrator. How he did not end up in jail or in the grave is a mystery, but if you believe Grisham, it's because the "not-quite" was looking out for him, keeping him safe and alive. The angle of being written by the demon that took hold of his body is an interesting one, but after a while it keeps the insight uneven. When it's Jack telling the story, I'm hooked. He's a good writer and storyteller. When it's the demon wagging the dog, it took me out...more
Jack Grisham, the founder of the punk band TSOL, writes an unusual memoir here, more or less telling his life story from the perspective that a demon lived within him during his often reckless-drugged-up-and-violent life. He's actually a pretty good storyteller, and the fictional techniques he uses work well, too, but I sometimes wished for a story that was something I could trust a bit more. Read it for work, though never did the interview for scheduling reasons. Maybe this year? 2011/4
I don't know if I could say it any better than previous reviewers. I read it all in one day-I was on a road trip. I had troubles with how bad of a person Jack was/maybe is a little. I remember loving TSOL as a teen, but if I had any idea of the man behind the image, I would have been shocked. How he got away with all of this is crazy. Yeah-it reads like fiction since how could someone be so disassociated with the mayhem he was creating? Not for people who like puppies and butterflies.
Jack Grisham is a human piece of crap which is what made this book so fascinating to read. I was hooked within the first few pages and it kept me up at night wanting to find out what happened next. I am familiar with Mr. Grisham's work as front man of the band TSOL but knew nothing of his personal life. His life as a teen and young adult reminded me of a modern telling of Clockwork Orange. This certainly isn't for everyone, but I couldn't put it down.
I've yet to read a book that better captures the manic desperation of my time growing up as a punk kid in Southern California than Jack Grisham's "An American Demon," of the existential dichotomy that everything was possible but that nothing was right. To read my full review, click the link here:
I could not put this book down. For the past several nights I have read it until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. It was disturbing and fascinating, sometimes sickening and sometimes even funny. Great read. That said, I think I hate Jack Grisham. (I'm willing to bet that a lot of people hate him.) If he writes another book, though, I'll probably read it.