Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Sunset Strip Diaries by Amy Asbury

(The Sunset Strip Diaries series, book 1)
There comes a time in every girl’s life, where she has to choose good or choose bad. Amy Asbury chose bad, hands down. Good meant wallflowers, secretaries and subservient wives. Bad meant power – and a possible escape from a life of secrets.
At twelve-years-old she was trying to make sense of a drug-addicted father and his disturbing behavior. By fifteen she was dealing with horrendous depression, blackouts and rape. At sixteen she was in a mental institution for suicidal tendencies and violent behavior. She could never be normal. The only place for a girl like her was Hollywood.
This is a true story of the social ascent (and eventual decline) of a girl in the Sunset Strip music scene of the early 1990’s. From crazy parties to glittered junkies and man-eating strippers, Amy has chronicled what life was like back in the days of excess and debauchery. It is not just a fascinating look into an amusing time in pop culture, but also details the mindset of a young woman trying to find confidence and self-worth in a life full of pain and chaos.
The party came screeching to a halt when the Grunge movement took over and heroin became more prominent. How far off track can a person go before it’s too late?

WARNING: This book contains substance abuse, profanity, and disturbing sexual situations,

This book chronicles the life of a confused teenage girl trying to find her way in life, and desperately wanting to become a part of the party scene on the Sunset Strip. She succeeds, and the stories of her three wild years being a popular staple on the Strip are shocking, somewhat depressing, and at some points even a little bit horrifying.

Amy’s childhood was anything but normal; her mother has completely turned her back on her and acts like she doesn’t exist and she is coping with the realization that her father may have sexually molested her when she was just twelve-years-old. She does however show off her humor to lighten up the book in some situations, whether it’s from her dousing herself in knockoff perfume (where she says “I’m sure I smelled like an old lady’s crotch"), to trying to teach herself about sex by listening to the Beastie Boys album, Licensed to Ill, to finally describing herself as “a giant heaving bowl of crazy with sprinkles on top.” Even through the humor, it was easy to see this was a troubled girl. By the age of fifteen, she had been date raped, videotaped, blackmailed, contracted VD, was bulimic, suicidal and failing school. By the age of sixteen, she had been put in a psych ward twice. That just sounds like the definition of path of destruction.

Her stories while on the Sunset Strip are just outrageous…that’s really the only way I can describe it. She tells of her relationships with glam rockers from various bands like Swingin’ Things, Alleycat Scratch, Glamour Punks, and Big Bang Babies, befriending various strippers (and as she finds out, one hooker), and details partying and frequently blacking out at hot spots on the Strip; The Rainbow, The Roxy, Whisky, El Compadre, and Gazzarri’s were a few of her most frequent hangouts. She rarely worked, never had any money, and relied solely on her looks and mooching off of her friends to support her Hollywood lifestyle. She’s determined to make it to the top no matter what the consequences. She eventually does become a hot commodity on the Sunset Strip, and then the Grunge movement takes over and she soon realizes the whole scene that has been her life for the past three years is in serious decline, if not already dead. Should she stick around Hollywood and live life as a has-been, or should she try to turn her mess of a life around?

I won’t lie; some parts of this memoir are actually rather disturbing. The number of times she gets raped is shocking, and her complete disregard for everyone is just sad. Overall, it was an easy read, and her writing style coupled with frequent diary excerpts makes you feel like you are right there partying on the Sunset Strip with her. You get an inside view of the crazy, glitter-covered Sunset Strip in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and I can’t wait to read the sequel to see just what became of Amy after the death of glam rock. 

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