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Permanent Midnight

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,079 ratings  ·  87 reviews
His byline appeared everywhere, from L.A. Style to the Village Voice, from Esquire to Hustler. He penned scripts for twisted cult classics like Cafe Flesh and Dr. Caligari. He banged out shows for TV mega-hits like Moonlighting, Twin Peaks, and thirtysomething. But even when Jerry Stahl was making five grand a week, he was shooting six. Careening from his luxury home to L. ...more
Trade Paperback, 371 pages
Published June 2005 by Process (first published 1995)
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Some Are Sicker Than Others by Andrew SeawardGo Ask Alice by Beatrice SparksCrank by Ellen HopkinsEvery Silver Lining Has a Cloud by Scott StevensA Million Little Pieces by James Frey
Substance Abuse & Addiction
46th out of 482 books — 1,107 voters
Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud by Scott StevensNaked Lunch by William S. BurroughsCottonmouth Kisses by Clint CatalystFear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. ThompsonProzac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Drug Memoir A List
15th out of 146 books — 218 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,327)
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Ann M
This book captures the love affair an addict has with drugs. This book oozes love -- no matter what Stahl says about how ugly it was, he was in love with it and you can hear how lovingly he describes his awful behavior. He remembers every last detail as if he kept a scrapbook. As if he loves it still, the glamor (in the old-fashioned sense of having a spell put on you) of the powerlessness and the high. He was making a lot of money, which lessened the dangerous aspects of being a junkie. He was ...more
Katelin Toth
What I'd give to have a serious, some-what sit down with Jerry Stahl. I throughly enjoyed this memoir from start to finish. I'd like to know what happened to Kitty. Did he love her? Really? I, myself, am sober a year and change and would have liked to read about his experience getting sober for longer than a 90 day period. Maybe I was looking for hope from him. After all, he lucked out with Hubert Selby Jr. as his sponsor. Overall, Stahl's style has you on the edge on every page whether he's kic ...more
Another disturbing tale about drug abuse along the lines of Requiem for a Dream and Trainspotting. This was a fun read for such a dark subject, the author had a pretty good sense of humor and it comes through in his writing. Plus it was interesting to read about heroin addiction in someone who was a quasi celebrity and had tons of money.

Heroin, don't do it!
Matt Evans
Stahl was a heroin addict. He also wrote TV scripts for "Moonlighting" and "Alf". When you come off heroin, so says Jerry, everything (and he means everything) hurts: showering, breathing, etc. Alf deserved better than Jerry gave him, but Jerry has since cleaned up and recently wrote a thinly-fictionalized version of Fatty Arbuckle's life that I've been meaning to read forever.
I hail Jerry as the next William Burroughs.

I wanted to place a few quotes here but found that I would pretty much be listing most of the novel!

Jerry's book Bad Sex on Speed led me to this memoir. He talked of being a junkie too well and was kind of relieved to find out he had been one. I held onto this book; dragged it out like the perfect night or last beer.

Jerry was a script writer for the famous 80s tv shows Moonlighting and Alf. He did drugs so he could cope with work; a first for me in a me
This guy used the word "slime" as a verb one too many times for my liking. Although the story was engaging, there was too much lingo/slang in the way. I think it would have been better without all the jive, man.
Jason McGathey
This book is like 450 pages and I literally read it in one day without putting the book down once. Fascinating, brutally honest stuff: Stahl was both a screenwriter for "Alf" and "Moonlighting," and a raging heroin addict. There is no cheesy redemption at the end - as the title would imply his nightmare just goes on and on. The fact that he is together enough to pen this book by the late 90s is hopeful, but inconclusive.
Stunning study of drug addiction and the seamy side of Hollywood. Stahl's writing is so natural and brutal, I loved every page of it.
Dan H
I used to type out paragraphs from this book and email the blurbs to people I thought were doing too many drugs.
Lots of fun.
Daniel Parks
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll shit your pants. If you're a writer you'll wish you had his talent, his humor, and his guts.
one of the best junkie memoirs ever written, style, Stahl has so much damn style..
Margot Note
Said "Dang!" when I finished the book.
Benedict Reid
Passages of this book were amazing. Funny, Sad, brainless and thoughtful, all at the same time.
This book didn't go anywhere. I really had no idea where Jerry had got to by the end of it. I suspected that he hadn't really got anywhere. It felt like it was written as a step on his journey towards recovery. But we weren't told that.
Instead we get description of trip after trip. Often lovingly described. It reminded me of William S. Burroughs book Junk, in that it was full of self-delusion dr
I don’t read a lot of memoirs, but this one sparked my interest. Jerry Stahl is a writer, obviously, who has written for Playboy, Hustler, Penthouse and then on to screenwriting in Hollywood. Somewhere along the way he picked up a very nasty drug addiction.

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
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Jerry Stahl was a hotshot TV writer so talented (and maddeningly conscious of the fact) that he deluded himself into believing he could coast through a Hollywood career devoting ten minutes of his strung-out, fucked up days writing the best of the drivel of popular 1980's TV while crafting a double life around the majority of day-to-day life spent on his devotion to a bevy of narcotics. And he achieves it so effortlessly, you practically wanna pull your hair out, but the strong voice of the auth ...more
Reading this one shows "Perv" to be autobiographically-based, despite its 3rd person voice and fictional motif. Long, sad, tragic--I felt so stuck by page 300-something, I skipped ahead to the last line to see if it was worth continuing, but said last line was too ambiguous to tell for sure. I kept on reading it, with one more satisfyingly surreal section before I got there. A hell of an undertaking. Stahl is called "better-than-Burroughs" on the jacket, apparently only because he is or was a ju ...more
Stahl is a talented, witty writer with a penchant for snappy pop-culture references that goes down well with TV viewers--no surprise as he used to write for Alf and Moonlighting. Once I also saw his name on CSI (but that was after book's publication). He also used to be employed by Larry Flynt's Hustler reviewing reader mail ("most of which arrived from the nation's finer jails and penitentiaries"):

"Prison letters were the strangest, because the authors, apparently recently apprised of Roget's T
This was by far the most extreme drug memoir that I've read so far. The depths of his addiction seemed to get worse by the page and its a little depressing. I thought the language in general to be a bit over the top, but this is possibly expected given the nature of his career. I felt like he was trying a little too hard throughout the whole book, and towards the end started to figure out what he was supposed to be doing. Not sure if I would recommend this book, but at the same time glad that I ...more
One of the best written biographies of Addiction. I think that what sets this one apart is that Jerry Stahl was an unlikely candidate for habitual dependency. He was a Pushcart award winner, and a talented man who seemed destined for success and wrote for several very successful television shows. Yet his book eloquently uncovers his dark and twisted motivations, and the reader is treated to a front row seat to his utterly wretched downfall. Jerry Stahl seemed to have had it all, yet Jerry Stahl ...more
Very bizarre. Some good scenes, but over all the writing is scattered and "trying to hard". Thompson and Burroughs are his literary and drug heroes, but he tries much to hard to imitate their styles without forging his own.
May 07, 2014 Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: opiate users, addicts, and ex-users primarily
Recommended to Kim by: the only somewhat-related movie adaptation
An extremely difficult read. I'm not sure I would have continued with it if I couldn't relate to some of the behaviour and attitudes. That drew me in enough to really want to know where he ended up next.

Recommended, but only for those who've walked the mile and feel like doing it in someone else's shoes. Beyond that, a memoir is a memoir - there's plenty out there, and if you read just one as an outsider, you'll learn nothing.
I don't know quite how I feel about this book. It was fascinating but left me feeling a little depressed and empty at times. I consider myself pretty street-smart, but the vivid decriptions of the hard-core drug use and the depths to which he sank were disturbing and heart-breaking. I felt as if I was next to him in the bathroom stall to fix and then inside his head when the high hit. I wouldn't call it a difficult read, but it took me forever to finish, as I had to keep putting it down to settl ...more
Ho apprezzato particolarmente il linguaggio narrativo, estremamente crudo e semplice.
La narrazione procede con molta scorrevolezza, anche se l'argomento trattato non é dei più leggeri.
He really captures the grittiness of an addict without romanticizing it.

But I feel like he's trying to copy Hunter S. Thompson too much.
I picked up with Gil Scott Heron's memoir. Let's just say only one of them seemed to learn anything from their addiction.
Jordan Munn
Mar 18, 2008 Jordan Munn rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: dudes and chicks
Maybe the words "grotesque", "twisted", "skulk", and "slime" get tossed around a bit too much in this book. I guess that if you're gonna tell the same story over and over, you might as well use the same adjectives too. But you do get wrapped up in the story, and you want this guy to figure it out, and you are frustrated when it doesn't happen. One or two of the anecdotes are just beyond believable, dialogue-wise. And so many paragraphs end with that big faux-clever one-liner about how he was alr ...more
Kathleen Savich
So-so book aboout heroin addiction-Requiem for a Dream 1,000 times better.
Jun 12, 2007 Katie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ex-junkies
Jerry stahl is an excellent writer. He's got great sarcastic wit, but the subject matter of this book was VERY depressing. It's about his life as a junkie. In case anyone reading this does not know who he is, he wrote for the tv shows Alf, Moonlighting, Thirty-Something, and Twin Peaks. Again, he's got a great writing style, but reading about his life was not what I'd call a great read. I definitely want to read more by him, though I haven't gotten around to it. He deserves another chance, but I ...more
Ben Schaffer
Nov 30, 2014 Ben Schaffer marked it as to-read
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Jerry Stahl (born September 28, 1953) is an American novelist and screenwriter, He is best known for the darkly comedic tale of addiction, Permanent Midnight, which was revered by critics and an ever-growing cult of devoted readers, as one of the most compelling, contemporary memoirs. A film adaptation soon followed with Ben Stiller in the lead role, which is widely considered to be Mr. Stiller’s ...more
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“To me, God is like this happy bus driver.” 21 likes
“I kept getting high to kill my shame at the fact that I kept getting high.” 11 likes
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