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The Other Great Depression: How I'm overcoming, on a daily basis, at least a million addictions and disfunctions and finding a spiritual (sometimes) life Paperback – March 11, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Fans of Lewis's bleak shtick are the natural audience for these searing, confessional riffs on the comic's angst, acute alcoholism and relentless sexual conquests, but it's hard to imagine that the uninitiated would enjoy the musings of "a bad-postured, guilt-ridden ball of confusion with a trace of paranoia, self-loathing and a little faith thrown in for some taste." Lewis attributes his misery to his parents: a sullen mother whose antipathy toward her son is not fully explored; his distant but admired father died young. The New Jersey boy found his escape route via jokes and isolation and, eventually, Ohio State University. Though he makes a sort of peace with his mother at the end of her life, the author reserves his moments of near-tenderness for members of comedy royalty: Buster Keaton's elegant widow, Eleanor, and Lenny Bruce's raucous mother, Sally Marr. (However, larger-than-life icon Jackie Gleason displays less-than-noble behavior to Lewis.) In his early 20s, Lewis found a mentor in the manager of a legendary Brooklyn comedy club. After the requisite struggles on the stand-up circuit, he made it big in many venues: HBO specials, a movie and a four-year stint in a TV series, Anything but Love. Bouts of debilitating drunkenness and the interventions of loyal friends led Lewis to the Hazelden clinic, though he dropped out in two days, opting to manage his own recovery. Though he now struggles to be monogamous with his current "lady," Lewis's mostly cynical rants about desperate women and PMS won't win him any new female fans. Agent, David Vigliano.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Imagine my surprise when I realized soon after starting this book that the one person to whom I had confided my deepest and most intimate thoughts was a raging alcoholic. I now know more about him than I do about me. A most unfortunate development." Larry David"
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Top Customer Reviews
Richard Lewis presents many deep personal thoughts about the pressures of youth, dating, and the entertainment worlds to present his own road to the depths of depression and alcoholism. His description of his struggle to overcome his difficulties, which came from his own realization of his need for survival along with assistance from caring friends and his sprituality, brings encouragement to people seeking to overcome their addictions.
One key point Richard Lewis makes is that addicts are screaming for help, even when they deny they need assistance. All too often, we ignore their pleas, in part because many addicts do not know how to ask for help. Addiction can be helped. It may not be easy. Ignoring the addiction is not the way to provide that help.
I always admired Lewis for his brutal honesty on stage but this is the mother lode. I have recommended it to many people who either have addicition problems(and Mr. Lewis has a trunk full of them) and if they can't get out of denial after reading this memoir it's a shame.
For sure, Lewis could have written one of those typical jokey books most comedians write but he opted for digging as deep he could into his disease and sharing it with whomever I guess which was not only cathartic but to help others. It's cool to see that this "alcoholic from hell" has seen the light--for all of his fans and those who still are suffering.
In the end, Mr. Lewis' story shows that the disease of alcoholism is a terrible war fought within the confines of one's mind and spirit, persistently threatening to destroy one's physical being. His strength, on a day to day basis, to be victorious over this killer is encouraging. By staying sober, his hope to be the person he was meant be, is slowly, but triumphantly, realized in the progress he's made towards this goal. Thank you, Mr. Lewis.