Book review: 'Stars, Cars and Crystal Meth' by Jack Sutherland

Stars, Cars and Crystal Meth is the fast-paced memoir of Jack Sutherland. Sutherland describes himself as a "personal assistant who really could have used one himself." The book is actually written by Sutherland's father John in an as-told-to format, with the elder Sutherland occasionally breaking the fourth wall via footnotes to provide commentary on his son's escapades. It also includes a foreword by RuPaul, Sutherland's friend and one-time client.

The book details Sutherland's life from his days as a suicidal, drug addicted teen in high school, to his decision to quit drugs cold-turkey and become first a music video production assistant, then a personal assistant to stars including REM's Michael Stipe, RuPaul and Mickey Rourke. But Sutherland's sobriety is hard kept and he is still often a victim to other vices including sex, partying and fast cars (resulting in several car accidents). Sutherland eventually falls off the wagon and struggles to keep his job, and at certain points, his life.

Stars, Cars and Crystal Meth is by no means an easy book to get through (as evidenced by the fact that I'm doing this review now even though the book has been out for a few months). It is a struggle to read about Sutherland's addictions, missteps and bad decisions. Sutherland goes into almost gross detail about the effects of crystal meth and other drugs. I could almost feel myself getting exasperated with him as he continued to fall further and further and I couldn't help but wonder how he continued to be able to find support and help.

Sutherland does eventually see the light and get clean, but the resolution of this story feels as hurried and rushed as the life he led. I wasn't completely satisfied by the ending because it almost seemed tacked on as an afterthought. That's not to say that this story needed to be tied up with a bow, but there was a very "oh, I almost forgot I got clean too," feeling about the book's conclusion.

Simply put, Stars, Cars and Crystal Meth isn't a leisure book that you read for the enjoyment of reading or a transcendental piece of literature that will leave you shaken and changed. From beginning to end, I felt as though I was getting an education that I wasn't always 100 percent sure I wanted (the book even had a drug terminology glossary at the end). I can really only describe this book as interesting. I didn't leave with anything I felt I needed to know or leave with a changed outlook per se. It was just a fast paced, interesting book, which is fine of course but if you're looking for something more, Stars, Cars and Crystal Meth may not be it.


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