“HAVE YOU fucked the angel?” asks Hugh Jackman in the opening chapter of Kevin Sessums’ I Left It on the Mountain: A Memoir, posing the book’s central dilemma: “how to combine the carnal and spiritual.” The question arises during a magazine interview with the Australian actor in L.A.’s Peninsula Hotel, after Sessums shares that since deciding to trek the Camino de Santiago, a 2,000-year-old pilgrimage in northern Spain, he has noticed “all these heightened coincidences,” including a chance encounter at Starbuck’s with the most beautiful boy he’d ever seen—“his blond wavy hair seemed to be encircled by a halo”—who tapped the writer on the shoulder, said he had walked the path the previous year, and handed over his contact information, which included the surname Amore. “An angel called Love,” Sessums tells the movie star.
The Jackman scene is just the first in a series of juxtapositions featuring celebrity hobnobbing, drug-fueled sexcapades, and finally a fitful search for sobriety in the life of the former executive editor for Andy Warhol’s Interview. Sessums, who was also a contributor for Tina Brown at Vanity Fair, made a name for himself getting the glitterati to share their secrets. But make no mistake: I Left It on the Mountain is hardly a tell-all book about the rich and famous.