It is an unlikely book to come into wide demand, published to little acclaim in 1997 by an outfit connected to an addiction treatment center.
But “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk,” the out-of-print memoir written by one of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s high school friends, Mark Judge, is one of the books of the moment.
The book, about Judge’s struggle with alcoholism and recovery, made an appearance at the high-profile Senate hearing last week focused on Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh.
Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that Judge was in the room when Kavanaugh assaulted her while they were in high school.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Kavanaugh whether he was Bart O’Kavanaugh, the person described in Judge’s book as puking in a car as a high-schooler. Kavanaugh declined to answer the question directly.
Before this week, a pricey, out-of-print copy was perhaps the only way to read Judge’s memoir in full. Amazon has one listed for $1,899.99 (down, apparently, from a recent high of $1,949.99; Amazon’s chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post).
But now it can be yours — free.
Someone uploaded a digital copy to the Internet Archive, which publishes various databases dedicated to preserving information that can be read or downloaded online.
The book could help fill in details of Kavanaugh’s testimony with the sights — and, perhaps too vividly, the smells — of how the children of Washington’s elite lived in the early 1980s.
Across two memoirs — the other being “God and Man at Georgetown Prep” — Judge depicted those school years as a haze of debauchery in which boys attended “masturbation class” together, annihilated their livers at parties and “lusted after girls” at nearby schools like the one that Ford attended. Judge and Kavanaugh studied at Georgetown Prep. Ford was a student at the all-girl Holton-Arms School.
Readers looking for direct mentions of Kavanaugh will not find much in “Wasted.”
The book includes two mentions of “Kavanaugh”— one cited as an example of the Catholic school’s tradition to call everyone by their last name and the other a reference to the vomiting incident involving “Bart O’Kavanaugh.”
Judge was at Beach Week, a booze-soaked exodus of Washington-area high-schoolers to Ocean City, Md. Boys would rent one house, and girls would occupy others close by, he wrote.
The shenanigans that ensued, according to Judge, were about what one could expect when the children of social elite gather with little or no supervision.
“We lit each other’s underwear on fire, had beer fights, and barfed in the sink,” Judge wrote. “A couple of guys took pictures of their penises, and when it became evident that one of the guys had a member that slanted, we called him Slope."
Later at a party, a friend told Judge about a girl named Mary who liked him, he wrote. They spoke.
“Do you know Bart O’Kavanaugh?” Mary asked.
“Yeah. He’s around here somewhere,” Judge told her.
“I heard he puked in someone’s car the other night,” Mary said.
“Yeah. He passed out on his way back from a party,” Judge said.
Judge’s book was not well received on its release. The New York Times called it “naive,” “earnest” and “thin” in its initial 1997 review. It also gave the book another pass this week.
“It is not even close to being a good book,” Times critic Dwight Garner wrote Tuesday after acquiring a copy. “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. "
Judge was interviewed by the FBI this week. In a previous statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge said he does not recall a party like the one Ford detailed and never saw Kavanaugh behave in the sexually aggressive way that Ford alleged.
He has since given up drinking, continuing to write from a conservative perspective on subjects such as femininity and sexuality. He was found by The Washington Post in Delaware lying low during the intense scrutiny of Kavanaugh’s nomination process and the FBI investigation.
In the book, Judge looked back fondly at his high school years. He saved the last spot in his acknowledgment section for a special group.
“And finally, the Prep boys, who continue to be a constant reminder that life is supposed to be fun,” he wrote.