The Body Shop: Parties, Pills, and Pumping Iron -- Or, My Life in the Age of Muscle

The Body Shop: Parties, Pills, and Pumping Iron -- Or, My Life in the Age of Muscle

by Paul Solotaroff
     
 

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As a scrawny college freshman in the mid-1970s, just before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a hero to boys everywhere and Pumping Iron became a cult hit, Paul Solotaroff discovered weights and steroids. In a matter of months, he grew from a dorky beanpole into a hulking behemoth, showing off his rock hard muscles first on the streets of New York City and then

Overview

As a scrawny college freshman in the mid-1970s, just before Arnold Schwarzenegger became a hero to boys everywhere and Pumping Iron became a cult hit, Paul Solotaroff discovered weights and steroids. In a matter of months, he grew from a dorky beanpole into a hulking behemoth, showing off his rock hard muscles first on the streets of New York City and then alongside his colorful gym-rat friends in strip clubs and in the homes of the gotham elite. It was a swinging time, when "Would you like to dance?" turned into "Your place or mine?" and the guys with the muscles had all the ladies--until their bodies, like Solotaroff''s, completely shut down.

But this isn't the gloom-and-doom addiction one might expect--Solotaroff looks back at even his lowest points with a wicked sense of humor, and he sends up the disco era and its excess with all the kaleidoscopic detail of Boogie Nights or Saturday Night Fever.

Written with candor and sarcasm, THE BODY SHOP is a memoir with all the elements of great fiction and dazzlingly displays Paul Solotaroff's celebrated writing talent.

Editorial Reviews

Steven Kurutz - Wall Street Journal
"Delivered in a suitably amped prose style, the story casts light on the early days of bodybuilding and gym culture, before New York Sports Clubs existed in every neighborhood"
Dan Fogarty - Sportsgrid.com
"It's fantastic."
Jeff Baker - The Oregonian
"Solotaroff is a respected journalist who writes for Men's Journal and Rolling Stone... But in the mid-1970s, he was a college student who got into weight lifting and steroids, and followed his obsession into a life as a male stripper and a drug addict who attended orgies in the wild world of New York in the disco era. The Body Shop is a cautionary tale that's also an entertaining time-trip into the recent past."
Michael O?Keeffe - New York Daily News
"as Solotaroff explains in The Body Shop, his smart and funny book that chronicles his own summer of steroids, using drugs often comes with a terrible physical and emotional price."
Mike Vaccaro - The New York Post
"I can't tell you in strong enough terms how terrific Paul Solotaroff's new book, The Body Shop, is. We spend a lot of time wringing our hands about steroids, and not nearly enough discussing the powerful lures and temptations of building perfect bodies. Take a tour through this eloquent memoir and it will make a lot more sense."
Megan Buskey - New York Times Book Review
"[A] very well-written and surprisingly tender book.... Whatever the depth and duration of [Solotaroff's] crises of confidence, though, this book shows that he was always a writer at heart."
From the Publisher
"Delivered in a suitably amped prose style, the story casts light on the early days of bodybuilding and gym culture, before New York Sports Clubs existed in every neighborhood"—Steven Kurutz, Wall Street Journal"

It's fantastic."—Dan Fogarty, Sportsgrid.com"

Solotaroff is a respected journalist who writes for Men's Journal and Rolling Stone... But in the mid-1970s, he was a college student who got into weight lifting and steroids, and followed his obsession into a life as a male stripper and a drug addict who attended orgies in the wild world of New York in the disco era. The Body Shop is a cautionary tale that's also an entertaining time-trip into the recent past."—Jeff Baker, The Oregonian"

as Solotaroff explains in The Body Shop, his smart and funny book that chronicles his own summer of steroids, using drugs often comes with a terrible physical and emotional price."—Michael O'Keeffe, New York Daily News"

I can't tell you in strong enough terms how terrific Paul Solotaroff's new book, The Body Shop, is. We spend a lot of time wringing our hands about steroids, and not nearly enough discussing the powerful lures and temptations of building perfect bodies. Take a tour through this eloquent memoir and it will make a lot more sense."—Mike Vaccaro, The New York Post"

[A] very well-written and surprisingly tender book.... Whatever the depth and duration of [Solotaroff's] crises of confidence, though, this book shows that he was always a writer at heart."—Megan Buskey, New York Times Book Review

Kirkus Reviews
Men's Journal and Rolling Stone contributor Solotaroff (Group: Six People in Search of a Life, 1999, etc.) delves into his personal struggles with self-perception and body image, the result of a disillusioned childhood and a string of failures in school and work. The uproarious opening chapter is a bittersweet comedy of errors and epiphanies in which one misstep follows another as the author hits rock bottom eating food swiped from a bathroom sink and rummaging through the garbage for a steroid syringe. Solotaroff then goes back to 1975, when, at 6'1" and 140 pounds, "even my hair was depressed." A college dropout at 20, barely subsisting in New York City and receiving little sympathy from his father, he returned to college and became captivated with classmate Mark, a former "stick-thin boy" turned hulking, "stunning male specimen." Over an afternoon of euphoric, blood-pumped basic training with this campus chick magnet, Solotaroff became hooked, resulting in an experiment in narcissistic self-improvement gone haywire. Workout buddy Kenny introduced steroids, and three months in, Solotaroff gained 30 pounds of muscle and became "a butch burlesque of male pride." The author, virtually unrecognizable to his parents, was lost in a swirl of calories, skin-tight clothes, nightclubs, cocaine, orgies and even happiness, albeit temporary. Training with Angel, a black bodybuilding playboy, gave Solotaroff access to more steroids, but being constantly "ravenous and speedy" burned him out on his life as a stripper and as a boyfriend to Kate. As sad as the author's downward spiral becomes, his yearning for bodily transformation is captivating. With his body collapsing from the drug regimen, the regret becomes palpable as he reconsiders his vainglorious quest. A sobering, briskly told tale of bigorexia.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316088831
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
07/26/2010
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
702 KB

Meet the Author

Paul Solotaroff is a contributing editor at Men's Journal and Rolling Stone. He has written features for Vanity Fair, GQ, Vogue, and the New York Times Magazine, and he was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2004. His work has been included in Best American Sports Writing. The author of two books, Group and The House of Purple Hearts, he lives in New York City.

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