What are some good biographies of drugged out or emotionally troubled people

I really enjoyed the heroin diaries and have read it multiple times.

I’ve read Tommy Lee’s biography too, but found the part where he was in jail the most interesting.

So I think I’m drawn to biographies about addiction, emotional problems, people living life on the edge and things like that. Are there any recommendations along those genres?

Years ago I read Wonderland Avenue and loved it. Just the first pages available here will give you a good taste.

I’m currently reading “Too fat too fish” about Artie Lange, from Mad TV and later Howard Stern. It’s pretty good and focuses on the things you mention.

It helps that i’m a huge Howard fan, and think Artie contributed a lot to that show.

I haven’t read it since high school, so consider this with the due weight you’d give any recommendation by an angsty teen girl, but I really loved And I Don’t Want to Live This Life, the biography of Nancy Spungen, best known as the bad news girlfriend killed by equally bad news punk rocker Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, written by her mother.

It’s quite possibly utter tripe, but it has good reviews on Amazon. They can’t *all *be from angsty teen girls, right? :smiley:

I believe it’s sort of half autobiography half fiction, but there’s always Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. If it’s anything like the movie, it’s probably about as drugged out and emotionally troubled as you’re going to get.

Jean Stein’s Edie: American Girl, dealing with the life and decline of the troubled socialite/starlet Edie Sedgwick. It’s told in a series of interviews with various people over the course of her life, which illustrates all the angles of her personality and behavior. Really fascinating and sad.

Jaco: The Extraordinary and Tragic Life of Jaco Pastorius tells the story, through interviews and up-close reminiscences, of the immense talent and steady descent into madness of the man who was possibly the world’s greatest bass guitarist.

WhyNot, I was going to suggest “Syd and Nancy!”

This is the book I opened the thread to recommend. Absolutely fascinating.

Please Kill Me is a fascinating read about the early punk scene in New York, from Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground, The Stooges and the MC5 in the 60’s to the CBGB scene in 1980. Lots of messed up, drugged out people.

Long Time Gone by David Crosby. He tells a story about wandering off stage in Philadelphia to freebase cocaine, Stills and Nash frantically trying to find him. I was at that show. In Pittsburgh. :rolleyes:
So even his memories are messed up.

Check out the books written about (and one by) Dee Dee Ramone.

A Fan’s Notes by Exley should fit the bill.


I thought Tony Fletcher’s biography of Who drummer Keith Moon was very good. Moon definitely had major substance abuse problems, and Fletcher argues that he likely suffered from borderline personality disorder as well.

The book is titled Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon in the UK and Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend in the US.

Blurb from Amazon:

Girl, Interrupted
Hurry Down Sunshine

More about emotionally troubled rather than drug addiction.

I just read Jenna Jameson’s memoir “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star”. It was good and I ended up liking her quite a bit.

I enjoyed Carrie White’s biography very much. She was a celebrity hairstylist in California in the 60s & 70s.

Bob Woodward’s classic Wired, about John Belushi
Drinking, A Love Story by Carolyn Knapp

Scar Tissue by/about Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers

I read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar many years ago and was very taken by it. Plath committed suicide shortly after it was published and the book itself is essentially autobiographical although in the guise of a novel.