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Rage Against the Meshugenah: Why it Takes Balls to Go Nuts Paperback – August 4, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former Los Angeles ad exec Evans takes a humorous approach to a serious subject as he addresses the depression that descended on him over various periods of his life, leaving him dangerously immobilized. A recent bout of depression precipitated a more aggressive approach to his mental illness: a few days before 9/11, Evans was suddenly laid off from his fancy job at an ad agency and offered two weeks' severance; soon he became anxious about how to support his wife and children in their new house in suburban Southern California. Watching the news about the World Trade Center attack only compounded his sense of helplessness and grief, and he clearly recognized that he had hit rock bottom. His account—by turns grossly humorous, extremely self-critical and brutally honest—depicts months of indulging in porn, beer and denial before forcing himself to seek professional help and mend the precious relationships in his life such as with his wife and two young children. Therapy prompted him to ponder his own childhood growing up a good Jewish boy in Simi Valley, Calif., and the issues of anger and agency he wrestled with. Evans addresses feelings of fear and confusion that men are often not allowed to express, and readers may find his wisecracking memoir most useful. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Danny Evans has written a moving, funny and relentlessly honest account of depression. His family must be kvelling."
-A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY and THE KNOW-IT-ALL

"Danny Evans wrote the book that needed to be written. In RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH, Evans goes where most male memoirs don't, recounting the one-two punch of unemployment and depression with hard-won self-awareness. Even in the darkest days of his life, Evans sense of humor shines through and his story, while heartbreaking in parts, is ultimately uplifting and hopeful. In short? RAGE is raw, wry, and riveting."
-Jen Lancaster, New York Times bestselling author of BITTER IS THE NEW BLACK and BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG ASS

"RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH is quite possibly a cure for depression all by itself. Danny Evans skillfully tackles the often-overlooked topic of male depression by sharing his own harrowing - but also hilarious - road towards treatment and recovery. A razor sharp, witty new voice with loads of heart."
-Josh Kilmer-Purcell, New York Times bestselling author of I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS and CANDY EVERYBODY WANTS

"Before reading this book, I thought depression was like other mental illnesses -- it only touched a select few of us. Danny's story has shown me that depression is different. It's like an evil genie, lurking inside all of us, waiting to rise up and take over when we are least able to defend ourselves. Read this book, and I guarantee you that you'll see yourself in his story, because it could happen to any of us, especially in today's uncertain world. Highly recommended."
-John Elder Robison, New York Times bestselling author of LOOK ME IN THE EYE

"Danny Evans demonstrates unequivocally that funny people get depressed, and depressed people don't lose their sense of humor. His memoir is honest and unblinking in its portrayal of how depression colors a life, and yet it is as funny a book as you're likely to read. Wholly original, and a real pleasure to read."
-Robert Rummel-Hudson, author of SCHUYLER'S MONSTER

"RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH is a candid, gripping and hilariously detailed account of what happens when a once-stable family man temporarily loses his mind. A must-read for anyone who has struggled with depression, loved someone who has, or just plain loves a great story."

"Way more palatable than Prozac, Danny's true tale of battling depression actually made me laugh out loud on every page. RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH was so gripping, brazenly honest, absolutely hilarious and ultimately hopeful that I ended up read it in one sitting. Who would have thought a book on depression could be downright fun to read?"
-Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of IT'S NOT ME, IT'S YOU and NAPTIME IS THE NEW HAPPY HOUR

"Danny Evans has managed to write a book about depression that is not depressing. Far from it, RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH is funny, naughty, heartbreaking and gives the reader a first class ticket on the crazy train. Better than a double dose of Prozac with a tequila chaser, this book is for everyone who has ever wondered what it's like to fall on your face, stay there awhile, and then learn to stand up again."

"Danny Evans is the rare breed of writer who can exhibit both a razor-sharp wit and a heart of gold, often in the same sentence. His ability to mix perfectly- worded hilarity with sincere emotion and then toss in a few fine-tuned neuroses makes me suspect that he is, indeed, the love child of Dave Barry and Woody Allen."
-Martha Kimes, author of IVY BRIEFS

"Brutally honest, profoundly insightful and absurdly hilarious, Danny Evans' memoir of depression is surprisingly not the slightest bit... depressing. Evans insightfully writes about his struggle with depression and it's side effects with a sort of David Sedarisesque self-deprecating hilarity. RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH will be a must-read for every man dealing with depression and it's side effects, an originally voiced memoir of self-recognition and family love, charming, cocky and painfully honest, a sort of self-help book on crack, for the modern man."
-Rebecca Woolf, author of ROCKABYE

"It takes balls to go nuts," says Danny Evans. Well, it takes balls to write like this too. With heart, hilarity, and unsparing candor, Danny Evans has managed to plumb the murky depths of modern depression, yet never loses sight of the light (and the jokes) at the end of the tunnel. A great read." -Rachel Shukert, author of HAVE YOU NO SHAME?

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; Original edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451227115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451227119
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,460,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Rage Against the Meshugenah is raw and brutally honest. It is the book equivalent of standing in gym class naked. And yet, Danny manages to effectively use humor to talk about his depression without depressing you. I laughed out loud many times while reading it.

As someone who has suffered from bouts of depression for years, I really related to what Danny had to say. It's funny, some people think that admitting that you suffer from depression makes you weak, especially if you are a man. I think it is just the opposite. I think Danny is brave. Because he was willing to talk about what he went through, I think he will help countless people. People who will see that they are not alone. People who who will see that it is possible to be happy again.

If you, or someone you care about has ever suffered from depression you should buy this book. If you haven't suffered from depression, you are still sure to appreciate Rage Against the Meshugenah.
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Format: Paperback
As the Executive Director of a non-profit agency that works with dads from all different socioeconomic backgrounds ([...]), I've read a lot of literature on modern fatherhood and the current state of men. None have been as honest and realistic and accurate in their portrayal of the struggles that men are going through as Danny Evans has been in Rage. His willingness and ability in being so open about his depression and his feelings about his life has given a voice to the same things so many men are going through today but are ashamed to talk about it or admit it. On one page I'm laughing out loud hysterically and on the next I was close to tears because it sounded like he was describing me and my own innermost thoughts and fears.

I've followed Danny's blog for a few years now, and I always look forward to his posts. His wit is hilarious, his storytelling is artful, and his writing just flows so well. I'm so glad that he's decided to write this book. I hope other men and dads out there will get this book, read it, and pass it on to their buddies.
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Format: Paperback
Memoirs are difficult sells. If you're a random nobody, and you want the world to know your story, you better have something to hold our attention. Interesting stories or fantastic writing abilities, preferably both. Or anything else to overcome the natural bias against reading a random person's story. This book is uninteresting, and the writing is dull.

I couldn't finish this book. And I always finish books. I finish books I hate out of pure stubbornness. But I did read enough for a fair review. I read 111 pages, which is almost exactly 1/3 of its 332 pages. This is the first book that has ever prompted me to write a review.

The stories are boring. The author's experience with depression is not notable. He doesn't have a fresh outlook on the disease. He didn't even have any remarkable or crazy experiences. With the bold subtitle "Why it Takes Balls to go Nuts," I expected 300 pages of lunacy. Anecdotes with bite. Another reviewer touched on this, but the author's definition of alcohol dependency is needing "a minimum" of two Bud Lights. I'm not making that up. The entirety of chapter five is how he needed between two and six Bud Lights to get through the day. The author even managed to de-fang his "addiction" to porn. He says he rarely masturbated. Just looked at the porn. The back-cover synopsis props up the "dependency on beer and porn" like it's a huge deal. The author didn't drink before 5 o'clock (he admitted this), he drank a few cans a beer a day, and he occasionally watched vanilla porn. You know, like half of the men in this country. IT TAKES BALLS TO GO NUTS.

At the end of chapter ten I told myself, screw it, I'm going to finish the book. Then chapter 11 re-told the story of visiting the therapist Susan for the first time.
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Format: Paperback
Most of us have experienced depression in one form or another, but the depression that Danny Evans describes in his book is not something that we all have either, experienced ourselves or experienced with the people we care about.

I'm a guy and I was able to appreciate the journey through the painful experience as well as the humor he brings to this gripping memoir.

Danny's description of his parents, Jewish heritage, (that I can relate to from my Italian Catholic background) family experiences, and his wife's support and love are amazing to me.

It's Danny's support system, fortitude, and perseverance that pushes him to push himself through the things he's horrified to go through including medication and therapy. The stories he tells along the way are raw, real, and funny (if you can believe it) His stories of his father and children brought me to deep places I've been myself--places that remind me I'm human, with feelings, and I felt what his story was bringing.

get the book, read the book, and feel the journey...

--Phil Ribaudo author of The Road Letters. I expect a named toe...
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Danny Evans takes on the tale of his own depression with courage, honesty, and humor. He pulls no punches describing his deepest lows, while still finding ways to laugh at the ridiculousness of life, family, and treatment of mental illness. Whether you've suffered from clinical depression yourself, know someone who has, or simply find yourself challenged to clear the hurdles life throws at you, you will see parallels between Evans' experience and your own. And in the end, one of the most powerful forces keeping us afloat is knowing we are not alone. Evans reminds us of that with refreshing candor and a healing dose of laughter.
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