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Fast Times at Ridgemont High

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  755 ratings  ·  88 reviews
This is a true story. In the fall of 1979 Cameron Crowe at 22 years of age walked into the office of Principal William Gray's office and asked permission to attend classes for the full length of the school year to research a book he was to write of his experiences inside the walls of Ridgemont High and Redondo Beach, California. This is the day-by-day journal of horny and ...more
Paperback, 253 pages
Published September 15th 1982 by Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster, Inc. (first published September 1981)
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Joe Valdez
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
As a budding collector of rare books and a super fan of the movie it's based on, acquiring and reading a copy of Fast Times at Ridgemont High ranks as one of the highlights of my life as a bibliophile. Published in 1981, this is the work of first time novelist/last time novelist Cameron Crowe, who at the age of 22--with seven years journalism experience contributing articles to Creem and Rolling Stone--moved back home with his parents in San Diego and received permission from Clairemont High Sch ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, young-adult
As a lover of the film I was curious to see if Crowe's book differed at all from his screenplay. Pleasantly surprised to say it does. All of the characters get a much richer backstory and have hilarious chapters which have either been somewhat shifted or completely erased from the film. All the main plot points are still there, but I definitely recommend giving it a read for anyone who wants a fuller experience. It's also quite amazing how even though my high school experience happened 20 years ...more
Jeff Bird
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when it first came on the shelves... oh so many years ago. One of the reasons I found "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" so appealing is that I had just moved from California to the midwest US. As I read through the pages of the book, I found that every character I read about could be a match to someone I went to school with back in Southern California. As crazy as some of the characters may seem in the book, don't be so fooled into thinking the author, Cameron Crowe, embellished to ...more
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yorwtfiw
Originally posted here.

If you're me, you go into a book like Fast Times at Ridgemont High thinking "Awwww, yesssss.  I can't wait to see THAT LINE in the original context!"

Because this is a book that (apparently, just like me) you've seen the movie, but have been UNABLE to find a copy to read.

[sidenote: What is up with everything I really want to read being out of print lately?  I ONLY HAVE SO MUCH TO SPEND ON BOOKS AND RESELLERS ARE KILLING ME, MAN!]

When I was a senior in high school, I'd just
Angus McKeogh
Naturally I wanted to read this book since it’s out-of-print. Was curious as to why that would be. If you’ve seen the movie then you’ll certainly recognize chapters turned directly into scenes in the movie. Some of it is very derivative; and of course as with any good book it contains more that is not included in the movie that makes the book better (usually). While I certainly enjoyed the book I’m not entirely convinced it’s worth the exorbitant fees it’s being sold for on various websites. If ...more
mark monday
that part with the bj was funny. ah, high school.
Michelle Morrell
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think most of us know the iconic movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," it means something different for all of us. For me it was the eye-opening allure of kids just a few years older than me in age, but leagues above in sheer LIFE. Jobs and dating, sex and abortions, drugs and alcohol, California and a lot of darn fine music, nothing near my sheltered life in an Alaskan Christian school.

I had no idea this was a book (or technically, a very long Rolling Stone article) first, written by Cameron
Tiny Pants
Apr 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: journalism
So when I stumbled across this book, I didn't realize that it's pretty rare -- just knew that I had always wanted to read it. No idea why it's out of print, given that a) Cameron Crowe's only gotten more famous b) people have nostalgia for everything from the late 1970s/early 1980s and c) anything with teenagers in it seems to sell.

Anyway. I've always enjoyed this movie, but the book is a tremendous improvement. A few of the characters in the movie's parts are cut down considerably, and/or simp
Jun 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
It's like watching the movie with lots of deleted scenes. Cameron Crowe, why won't you issue a new printing of this hilarious gem?! ...more
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: x2015-16-season
Everything that you loved about the movie, along with the extra depth of character that film cannot capture. Most surprising is the retrospective look at how greatly the emphasis of education and societal standards have changed since the early 1980's. Whether the change is for the better or not... ...more
Kim Hamilton
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite all-time movies so I've been trying to find this out-of-print book for years. I finally discovered a free PDF online so I jumped at the chance to finally read it. Almost all of the movie dialogue was taken directly from the book, plus you get more character depth that you just can't capture on film. With the richer backstories, some of the movie scenes have been slightly altered or completely erased from the film, but all the main plot points are still there. Highly re ...more
Mark R.
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cameron Crowe's undercover investigative journalism resulted in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," a book transformed into one of the best films of the 80s; unfortunately, itself mostly forgotten. Crowe's report on Ridgemont Senior High School has been out of print for decades, which seems weird, considering the popularity of the Amy Heckerling movie (for which Crowe provided the screenplay).

The 250-page novel covers the same time period as the movie, a full school year, beginning with the final w
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Might have been better if the movie wasn't a classic and I hadn't seen it a hundred times. ...more
Still my favorite coming-of-age novel after all these years.

I read this in 1981 at age 15 after reading an extended excerpt in Playboy magazine (yeah, I read Playboy at 15 for the interviews and the book extracts--wink wink). I'll never know exactly why my parents acquired the book--it wasn't a bestseller, to my knowledge, and it was kind of under the radar--but I loved the magazine excerpt, then co-opted the book and read it, and it's been a beloved part of my book collection ever since.

The mov
Heather Hughes
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Fast Times at Ridgemont High based on fact was written in 1981 about a stealth adult who infiltrated a notorious high school in the next town over and re-lived high school in the context of the more advanced drug and sex norms. Crowe focuses on the coming of age journeys of 18-year-old Brad and his 15-year-old sister Stacy Hamilton. Brad worked to pay off a car, taking increasingly demeaning jobs. Stacy worked to find validation that she is valuable through sex. There are many side characters wh ...more
Gary Anthony
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: modern-age
I'm of two minds about Cameron Crowe's supposedly 100% true memoir. First, only real life could be so boring. Second, either things didn't really occur as presented in the book or it's a complete fabrication, because there are many inconsistencies throughout the book. For instance, (SPOILER ALERT - although, trust me, I'm saving you several hours of your life you'll never get back) near the end of the book, Mike Damone and Mark Ratner attend the school-sanctioned Senior Night at Disneyland, whic ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
Fast Times at Ridgemont High, written by Cameron Crowe

This will be an attempt to look at Fast Times at Ridgemont High using a Positive Psychology lens…
Therefore, it should be a take…

Through a Glass…Brightly

Cameron Crowe has awed me with his Almost Famous, a motion picture for which he wrote the script and directed
He wrote the screenplay for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jerry Maguire and the less astounding…We Bought a Zoo

The stars of Fast Times contribute as well to the success of this comedy t
Lynn Smith
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. If I'm not mistaken, it is the first (and I think only) book written by Cameron Crowe. It was made into an iconic movie which is right now celebrating it's 35th anniversary. Crowe (at the time 22), spent a year posing as a high school student in California to write the book. He says by the end of the school year, even the school principal had forgotten he was doing a research project for a book and just treated him like any other student.

The movie closely followed the book,
David Ward
Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story by Cameron Crowe (Simon & Shuster 1981) (813.54). Here's a book I've loved for years that I had never added to my Goodreads list. When did I read this? It had to have been 1981, for I had read the book before the movie premiered in 1982. I also never realized that this was published as nonfiction. Now I know better. The conceit here is that our author, Cameron Crowe, as a young looking twenty-two year old, received permission from a high school principa ...more
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: already-read
Such a fun read, made all the better for being a somewhat exclusive experience, as it is out of print and hard to find for an affordable price. I savored the reading process, taking in little bits at a time, which worked well with the book's quickly digested segments that range from a paragraph to a few pages. There are no deep narrative threads to keep track of. The book reads like an extended magazine expose, fitting for a book written by a Rolling Stone journalist. Fans of the movie (as I am) ...more
Jeff Lewis
The fact this book has been out of print so long gives it a notoriety that it perhaps doesn't deserve. I first heard about when listen DVD commentary on the film of the same name. A young Cameron Crowe, then 22 (try doing that now), returns to finish his schooling at Ridgemont High in California knowing that writing a book is main objective. What he got, at the time, was gold dust as these young students reach adulthood albeit faster than even their parents could imagine. These students are only ...more
Sir Michael Röhm
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 80s, film
Very difficult to find, this book came before the far more well known film. The film is a classic, but the book expounds on the characters and the setting. There are chapters on a talent show, a gun-toting security officer attacking Spicoli, the prom, and more.

Of note is the famous "pizza delivery" scene, attributed to Spicoli in the film. Andy Rathbone, of the Dummies book series, has made it clear that he was the basis for Mark Ratner and that he ordered the pizza.

In the book, this is the case
Sep 21, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If I could rate this book on statutory rape and the objectification of women as zero stars, I would. I'm sick and tired of being forced to read privileged juvenile heterosexual white male mediocrity in academia when there are so many amazing books out there by people of color and women. There's zero reason why this book should be noteworthy, except for its exceptional portrayal of women as nothing more than semen dumps for men's pleasure. I'm so thoroughly happy to have finished it and I can't w ...more
Rebecca Manders
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
No offense to Cameron Crowe, but I actually liked the movie better. There was so much hype built up around how he went about researching "undercover" as a student, that I expected a truly great story. Instead, what I found between the pages is a mediocre collection of stories about a group of characters, who aren't necessarily tied to one another. It just didn't read like a "whole" novel. I gave it three stars simply because I'm a sucker for 80's nostalgia. ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to get a copy of this from my library about 10 years ago. It's astronomically priced online, so it was a miracle it hadn't gotten "lost" by another patron.

A fun read, a little different than the movie, but unless you have a ton of disposable income, or you're a superfan of the movie, don't drop the big bucks on it.
P.S. Winn
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A different time and age is portrayed in what is based on the true story of the author. At times this is a hilarious look at the late seventies and at other times reminds me of what it would be like in a dorm room of sophomoric kids. Either way, thus is a fun read.
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Liked the movie, really loved the book.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting!
Thomm Quackenbush
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This deserves its own genre, something like "Non"-Fiction coming-of-age. It is a bit fluffy to have spent a whole year posing as a high school student. ...more
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Worth the read if you can find it!
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Cameron Bruce Crowe is an Academy Award winning American writer and film director. Before moving into the film industry, Crowe was contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine, for which he still frequently writes.

Crowe has made his mark with character-driven, personal films that have been generally hailed as refreshingly original and void of cynicism. Michael Walker in the New York Times called

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