If you have a a couple thousand dollars to spare, why not treat yourself with an original copy of Mark Judge’s 1997 out-of-print memoir Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk? Good luck copping a physical copy of the book for anything less than $1,000, though.
Finding this book for a reasonable price is impossible. There’s only one Amazon listing for a used copy of the book going for $1,949. The lowest “buy it now” price for the book on eBay is currently $500; another seller is offering up the book for a cool $999. An autographed copy had a starting price of $42 on September 30; the current bid is $285.
This is a lot of money to fork over for a book, even if it was written by Judge, the man that Christine Blasey Ford says was in the room when Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her when they were all teens in the 1980s. Sure, Wasted is the subject of attention for obvious reasons this week, especially since it includes a character who may have been based on Kavanaugh. But as the New Yorker pointed out, perhaps nobody is missing anything:
Writing for the June 29, 1997, edition of the Times Book Review, the critic Michael Newman called the memoir “naive and earnest” and concluded, “In the end, ‘Wasted’ does stand as a cautionary tale—not necessarily for alcoholics, but for anyone who wants to write about alcoholism.”
Given that judgment, curious readers may be grateful that the book is, for now, completely unavailable.
However, the book is available and very easily accessible in PDF form. Some people are even selling the PDFs on eBay for $8 a pop. Gotta love of a good scam, but it’s easy to avoid when you can just cop a PDF for free. Dwight Garner, a book critic for the New York Times, acquired said PDF, and his contemporary review of Wasted isn’t any better:
It is not even close to being a good book. This may explain why it was published not by a mainstream house but by Hazelden Publishing, an arm of the well-known addiction treatment center.
Judge isn’t a skilled enough writer to evoke the complicated longings that alcohol can instill. At moments of intensity, he tends to lean on analogies from his favorite J.R.R. Tolkien book. (“I imagined myself as Frodo in ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ carrying the evil ring through the forest”; “I was like Gollum”; “I feel like the hobbits after they were captured by the Orcs.”)
I, too, obtained a PDF of Wasted, and my cursory glance left me disappointed: The character who may be based on Kavanaugh is only mentioned once. Still, it’s a mighty telling description (emphasis mine):
Shags scored a hit, then handed me the glass. I drank. If you were standing anywhere near a quarters game, you could get picked even if you didn’t want to play or weren’t paying attention.
“So how do you like Prep?” Mary asked.
“Do you know Bart O’Kavanaugh?”
“Yeah. He’s around here somewhere.”
“I heard he puked in someone’s car the other night.”
“Yeah. He passed out on his way back from a party.”
Shags scored again.
This sure sounds like a lot of stories that have come out about Kavanaugh’s drinking.
And please, I have but one request: If you ever depict me in your book, give me a name that actually hides my identity. Ashlyn Reeser just won’t cut it.