Peppermint Twist's Reviews > The Sunset Strip Diaries

The Sunset Strip Diaries by Amy Asbury
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Wow. I couldn't put this book down. Even if you aren't interested in the hair band scene of the early 90's, this is a really entertaining book. Cat fights, wild parties, blackmail, booze and drugs and lots of 80's celebs in the background.

The first half is about a shy, Los Angeles private school girl and how she studied how to be a "babe": by watching tons of MTV videos and lots of Dynasty- it was very funny and cringe-worthy- she was very honest. After successfully transforming herself into a hot chick, she got into lots of trouble- it was more than she could handle. It was actually painful for me to read at that point- I felt so bad for her- very descriptive and terrible things happened to her. She went spiraling down a pretty horrible rabbit hole- this portion of the book reminded me of that movie "Thirteen" or the book "Go Ask Alice." Lots of violence, alcoholism, eating disorders- and trying to make sense of sexual abuse. It was written in a way that made me feel like I was there.

The middle of the book details her stay in mental institutions and her struggles with mental illness and self-worth, all the while wishing she could go somewhere where she would fit in: The Sunset Strip in Hollywood. She decided she wanted to be there, but did lots of research before getting there. She studied the clothes, the in-crowd, and the places to be and then set out to get there. She tells the steps that broke her into the impossible to penetrate cool crowd (not what you would think- she didn't appear to have slept her way there.)

After breaking in, she went about trying to stand out- that is when she studied the personalities and looks of the Hollywood strippers and re-vamped herself. She climbed to the top and was the new it-girl in Hollywood. She also detailed the lives of several of the people she met while there-many of who were drug addicts. Most interesting was a call girl named Willa- wow- the life some of these people led!

The books talks in detail about several unsigned "hair" bands and details the nights of their crazy partying in Hollywood. I had never heard of these bands (Alleycat Scratch, Big Bang Babies, Swingin' Thing, Glamour Punks) but I googled them and many have CDs out now and have their performances on YouTube- I was curious about them after reading this and wonder if there will be a resurgence of their popularity.

The third part of this book details her social downfall. It was fun to read even though I was cringing and embarrassed for her in several situations. All and all a great book. I love these sorts of books and I hadn't read one on this particular scene (early 1990's) so I am glad someone put this book out.

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