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Permanent Midnight

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,774 ratings  ·  134 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
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  1,774 ratings  ·  134 reviews


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Scott
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, favourites
Permanent Midnight sets its tone in the first few pages, beginning with its author - Jerry Stahl - wearing a diaper to soak up the blood from his bleeding, post-op testicles. From there it descends into a story of debasement and self-loathing that is one of the finest and most enjoyable memoirs I’ve read.

Permanent Midnight is a crazy, strung-out taxi ride though a life where a near unquenchable addiction met a salary almost big enough to slake it. This is no rock’n’roll I-took-lots-of-drugs-and-
...more
Ryan Leone
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Years ago, I had a great job working as a media broker for a major television network. I was also heavily addicted to heroin and crack. So here I am going to network meetings in L.A, nodding in and out, and trying to balance both lives simultaneously. One of my best friends told me that my life was remiscent of a guy named Jerry Stahl and reccomended the Ben Stiller film, Permanant Midnight. I really identified with it.

Fast forward a few years later and I am jobless, scoring in East L.A, and sel
...more
Ann M
Oct 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Carla Remy
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I always wanted to read this, because Stahl wrote for Moonlighting and that is my all time favorite TV show (the way probably only a show you loved when you were 10 can be). And it turns out that he worked on multiple shows I was familiar with because of my young age in the late 1980s. This is actually a well written memoir, but very much about drugs. You know, shooting heroin on the set of Alf and Moonlighting and everywhere. I am not generally horrified by drug use, but injecting heroin multip ...more
Jennifer
Received from FirstReads giveaway...
Every memoir of substance abuse seems to be described as stark and harrowing, and this is no exception. It's also no exception in that it was numbingly repetitive. If there had been a few more interesting anecdotes and a few less almost identical accounts of actual drug use, it would have held my interest better. I get it's a book about drug addiction, but it begins to feel more like the author is trying to relive that part of his life, one high at a time. Eit
...more
Bob Schnell
I'm not sure why I'm continuously drawn to books by and about junkies but here's another one to add to the list. Jerry Stahl's memoir "Permanent Midnight" is a tragicomic tale of addiction. His story takes place in Hollywood in the 1980's and 90's. His career has gone from writing pornography for Hustler magazine to writing episodes of ALF, Moonlighting and thirtysomething. It seems that the more out-of-control his heroin habit becomes, the more he is in demand. Until it all crashes down around ...more
Hudson
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!
...more
Emma
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This book left me cold a number of times. I know exactly why. I know what the pain point is. I had a father with terminal alcoholism (that's what I call it now. Like terminal cancer. But not. Terminal addiction, instead). And the passages about loving his daughter was when my attitude to the book took a turn. Gasoline on embers. The persistent problem of an unwillingness to understand, or an inability to; empathizing instead with grimaces, set jaws, gritted teeth, the psychological brace positio ...more
Elizabeth
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing, brilliant and I'm not one for flattery.

I have an incurable chronic illness that has taken me to hell (many times) and heaven (once...it was nice). Over the last few years, the only people I've found I can relate to in any way, in literature and life, so far, are: heroin addicts, those who have fought in wars and victims of the AIDS crisis.

My favourite writers by far are the ones who can write about the depths of human suffering with a self-awareness and as much sense of humour as you
...more
Marti
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This certainly has a deserving place in the canon of cautionary heroin literature (Junkie,Songs They Play On The Radio, Wonderland Avenue etc.). There are many cringe-worthy scenes that had me grimacing on the train. However, I think those are necessary because I cannot imagine anyone reading this and thinking: "Gee, heroin sounds fun!"

Beginning his writing career with artistic pretensions, Stahl finds himself making $5,000 a week writing dialogue for shows like Alf, Thirtysomething, Moonlightin
...more
Jennie
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
...more
Kel
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
It took me almost 200 pages to reach a point in which I wanted to finish this book, but once I did, I was all in. It took me almost 200 pages to become interested in the life of an self-deprecating, insecure, unlikable drug addict. But this addict, who addresses everything with a dose of dark humor and an overall air of “who gives a fuck”, eventually made me want to know where he ended up even if I didn’t really like him. Underneath it all, an intelligent, interesting man, who never really felt ...more
Matt Evans
Jul 17, 2008 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Zoe
Jun 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
one of the best junkie memoirs ever written, style, Stahl has so much damn style..
M.liss
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn’t love this book. It’s not the best-written thing I’ve ever read. Jerry Stahl says some kind of questionable shit about women and people of color. Surprise, he’s not, like, a super-great person. And I had a problem with the ending, leaving him standing there, bedraggled and triumphant, like some junkie Andy Dufresne.
But! I did kind of love this book. I find these memoirs of addiction so compelling. I’m captivated when someone looks back on the self-made hell they survived. I admit it – pa
...more
Beth York
honest, gritty and an authentic window into the exhausting dance between addiction, sobriety and the acts endured to experience the supreme, rock bottom and the beautiful.. in both worlds.
Jeremy
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Surprised I didn't like it more, since I LOVE addict memoirs and this is supposedly King Shit of that genre. The jive talk was weird and it's overlong. Great shooting up stories, though! ...more
Benedict Reid
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Passages of this book were amazing. Funny, Sad, brainless and thoughtful, all at the same time.
But...
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
...more
Joe
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's A Million Little Pieces, but true.

Two things prevented it from being five stars for me.

1) His narrative voice wears a little thin for me. There's a little too much humor in his continued descent into junkie-dom. There are several opportunities to get clean that Stahl misses, and I thought he was a little too glib about them.

There is also his continuous antipathy for the entertainment industry that pays for his drug habit. He mentions that his television writing work is so mind-numbing that
...more
Jason McGathey
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Kailin
Jul 29, 2014 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Daniel Parks
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Margot Note
Said "Dang!" when I finished the book. ...more
Stefani
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, grotesque, funny
Permanent Midnight is brutally honest, darkly funny, and frequently graphic memoir of the author's 20+ year drug addiction. Luckily, what I feared would be a wretched trajectory of downward momentum ended up being surprisingly upbeat and entertaining and quite funny to boot.

I particularly applaud Stahl's willingness to lay it all on the line, sparing no detail of his debased journey into the bowels of drug addiction from which he (eventually) emerges. In fact, he dares the reader to judge him—i
...more
Aida Fonollera
Mar 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Page 363 - “.. Heroin may kill you, but it’ll never break your heart. Not like a child.. Not like loving a child”

This book is a drug addicts’ memoirs: his up and down, in and out of the habit, hence, its title, permanent midnight. It is one those books that repulsed me, where the scenes of addiction were disgustingly described. For how else could it be described? Except in its most debasing inhuman characteristics. It is that abasement, despite of it, I told myself I have to read it.
On my rea
...more
Brian
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the mid to late 90's I went through a heroin phase. Not that I ever got close to the stuff, just that I got real interested in movies and books and media about it. I watched Trainspotting 100's of times. I read many of Irvine Welsh's novels. I loved Lou Reed. I was into it. Nowadays, I would probably be flagged in some system as a potential user and put on a path or pre-rehab. But, these were the 90's, anything went then.

I watched the movie Permanent Midnight when it came out, I don't remembe
...more
Kirk
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jerry Stahl is as unlikable as he is compelling. Early in the book, he describes his unique dating methodology of picking up a compulsive German performance artist, renting a hotel room with her, and taking black tar heroin like a dog would take its temperature…all of which leads to frenzied, narcotics-induced sex. Interestingly, somewhere between the hotel room and the final scene, the one where Stahl is cleaning himself of his own vomit with a stranger’s garden hose after kicking his habit col ...more
Mike Andrelczyk
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A writer moves from porno articles, pills and pot to Hollywood TV scripts and heroin. Stahl’s account of the vicious cycles of heroin and crack addiction is simultaneously pitiful and hilarious. Hating himself for selling out to Hollywood and for selling his soul to drugs, Stahl spirals downward, struggling to string together sober time but always returning to heroin. Also part Hollywood-memoir. I remember watching ALF as a kid - had no idea it was written by speedball-fueled lunatic. Stahl also ...more
Ian Carpenter
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Work Reading: He's a damn good writer. The ugliness throughout has burned out its appeal for me over tons of addict books over my life. I don't know how you tell this in a new way or if you can since the life is such a pattern. The twist here is often his great success as a TV writer. Extra hilarious if you're in the business and watching him loathe or fuck up his way through Moonlighting or Thirtysomething or Twin Peaks. It's super honest in the most repugnant ways. And his detailing of the fuc ...more
Jerriemy Chilson
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Its the kind of book that you'll either love or hate. Few people will land in between. Written in a style similar to the great Gonzo, this memoir tells all and more. I found the sick twisted toilet humor hilarious but also found myself feeling sympathy for his utter despair. I would recommend it to those who enjoy reading about the dark dirty places in this world. ...more
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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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