Party Monster by James St. James (1999)

L: 4/10

M: 5.5/10

Analysis from a silica gel pack purposely mistaken for Earl Grey:

Party Monster jumps out the gate with a lengthy explanation of the drug, Special K. This forward serves as a guide to the events that unfold, reversing from a criminal confession. This combination places the bar very high for the levity that is sure to rewind up to the beginning, which never gains its weight.

James St. James, does a good job explaining a sub-culture of the ’80-’90s that is not widely known or even documented, besides the several poorly recorded talk show interviews of a “Club Kid” that exists on Youtube. Crossdressed to the nines and drugged to the tens, a small group of thrill-seekers pushed everything to the limit, and in this instance, the collateral damage was murder.

Now, that short and poorly written summary makes this story seem slightly more interesting than the events that unfold in Party Monster. James is simply friends, or frenemies as much of the book would suggest, with one of the foremost perpetrators, Michael Alig. I kept waiting for a more definite relation to why the narrator is even narrating this story, and nothing really justified the purpose. A story, just as incoherent and full of apparent untruths, from Michael himself, would have been twice the read.

I’ve read several books that take the shape of drug rambled slightly nonsensical babble, and walked away liking most if not all of them. Party Monster definitely had its moments. From the ever one-upping of the crazy underground parties to his overbearingly leeching personality, the story flowed, just not from point A to Point B. There was a story to be told. I just didn’t feel like the narrator was really involved in it.

Analysis from the disappointing oatmeal raisin cookie that you mistakingly thought was chocolate chip:

I loved the first half of this book! Like did not want to put it down kind of love! The chaos and cattiness made me long for crazed nights with a group of friends that I love deeply enough to hate deeply. I wanted to be young and stupid and careless and get lost for days in some drug-induced state of bliss.

However, if the first half of the book was the high, then the second half was the comedown.

The book was previously titled Disco Bloodbath: A Fabulous but True Tale of Murder in Clubland. Where, I ask you, was the bloodbath part? From what I can tell, one guy was killed and cut up, which is bloody I gather, but that is but a small thread in this story. In retelling it to someone, I would almost forget the murder took place. From what I could tell, it was a story about the narrator feeling hot, young, adored, mistreated, old, ugly, and cynical. It was a story of a man that felt like he was never quite on the inside of something incredible, so he painted himself into an incredible situation to feel special.

While the beginning was fun and exciting, I just wanted these sad druggies to get their shit together or stop talking about it. Nothing makes you question your morals more than just wanting an entire group of people to overdose. I will not be seeing this movie as more than anything I can’t stand to hear the term “club kid” one more time before I die.

james st james

James St. James

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