WONDERLAND AVENUE: Tales of Glamour and Excess by Danny Sugerman

WONDERLAND AVENUE: Tales of Glamour and Excess

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, Sugerman (coauthor with Jerry Hopkins of No One Here Gets Out Alive, 1980) reconstructs his glamorous and desperate life--shadowed, inspired, and nearly doomed by his friendship with rock-star Jim Morrisen, leader of the Doors. Even as a little boy in Beverly Hills, Sugerman showed all the signs of being a member of the wild tribe that once was the counterculture. He was rich, innocent, and out of control. His hobbies became obsessions--when he collected reptiles, the house literally crawled with life. His father deserted the family shortly after accidentally frying a boa constrictor in the furnace; hyperactive Danny blamed himself, but when his mother transplanted the kids to the household of a brutal, loveless man, Danny's sadness got battered into defiant alienation. By the time he was 12, his brother and sister had gone to live with their dad, but Danny stayed for one reason: He had seen Jim Morrison and the Doors in concert and it had changed his life. He was accepted as a kid-brother mascot at the Doors' business office, and his mother permitted the visits to make up for the abuse at home. Danny's contact with Jim Morrison was slight--he was still a teen-ager when Morrison died in Paris at 27--but Morrison was a magical mentor to Danny, a poet-philosopher in the dark lineage of Byron and Rimbaud. Morrison gave Danny the fatal idea that, in order to grow, brave men tempt death. After Morrison's death, Danny finagled a job managing Doors' keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who bought Danny a beautiful house in Laurel Canyon, unwittingly providing him with all the money and time that he needed to kill himself Morrison-style. At 21, Sugerman was a junky in an insane asylum. Fortunately, he made enormous changes at the last possible minute, deciding that even his idol Morrison would have chosen life, not death and dope, if he had had a second chance. A cocky, fluent, scary tale of the reckless life--at once an insider's tale of the rock scene, and a story of recovery by a man genetically incapable of playing Mr. Morality.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1989
Publisher: Morrow