This was my favorite of a long string of [auto]biographies I have read about (at least in large part) substance abuse (including Basketball Diaries, Blow, Disco Bloodbath, Long time Gone (about David Crosby), A Drinking Life, etc.). I enjoyed Stahl's writing style a great deal- he's got a dry wit, and writes a droll account. However, his "hipness" did leave me in the dust a few times. He facilely rattles off names and movies by way of analogy and metaphor, and I am either too young or watch too few movies to understand them all. The book is through and through Hollywood in its groovy tone; even when Stahl inveighs against Tinseltown's excesses and characters, you can see that he is a part of the scene (e.g., he was killing himself with smack yet was a staunch vegetarian and long distance runner). Still, the book is hilarious, especially if you like things viewed through a sardonic lens.
Permanent Midnight is as objectively recounted as I suppose can be, and while Stahl doesn't seem to ask the reader for pity, I felt he tried to paint his environment as bleakly as possible, so as to lead one to think his drug use was inevitable. Truth be told, Stahl didn't seem to have it so bad, and fell blindly into a series of enviable career positions that probably only led to drugs because of the capital it gave him with which to feed his habit.