Friday, August 22, 2014

Thousand and One Night Stands: The Life of Jon Vincent by H.A. Carson

Thousand and One Night Stands: The Life of Jon Vincent by H.A. Carson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book. Very hard to put down and told in a straight-forward focused and concise way. The book details the life and death of Jon Vincent, how he got into the business, his experience.
I wouldn't necessarily have liked to have known Vincent. He seemed a real mess, often in the book blaming others for his problems. He blames the porn industry for a lot of his addictions and issues, but doesn't do a very good job explaining why they are at fault. They gave him money and fame and tried to dissuade him from working when it was clear he was out of control on drugs and alcohol. I don't know what more he was expecting. Similar to any modeling job, there will come a time when you are no longer marketable, and Vincent hastened that time with his own actions. Others worthy of blame include his family, being molested, and pussy.
I'm not sure what the role was of Hope Carson, the stated author. Vincent's life story never mentions her and it seems he was recording the book into a tape recorder so I'm not sure why he isn't listed as the author, or at least a co-author. It's clear there was a lot of time and effort spent trying to get him to stay focused and on-track but it seems the words in the book are his.
Vincent never learned to take responsibility for his life. When bad things happened he blames others and when good things happened like not dying during one of his 18 heroin overdoses (!) he credits God. He occasionally in the book claims to want to do the work of God and find the Lord, I suppose he was using this as part of his recovery from addiction but it clearly didn't work.
A couple of notes on the style. You know going into this that Vincent died, so I would have preferred an explanation on that right up front. Then the last line of the book about how he thinks he's going to get better would resonate more. Also I would prefer pseudonyms instead of initials for people he doesn't want to or can't mention. Sentences along the lines of "I went with C. to meet Y. and P. came with us" don't really add to the storytelling. Finally many times Vincent mentions famous people or fellow actors and says he can't reveal their names. Well he's dead, so what is he waiting for? If it was for legal reasons I would say some hints wouldn't be out of order.
Overall though I thought the book was remarkably well done, told in a likeable style from an unlikeable man with an interesting life and story to tell.

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