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Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir Paperback – August 8, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
A rising publishing industry star trashes his life during a bender in this intense but callow confessional. Clegg, a literary agent with William Morris Endeavor, tells the story of a two-month crack binge in which he smoked away his literary agency partnership, his $70,000 bank account, 40 pounds (he's forever cutting new holes in his belt to cinch it to his wasting frame), and his relationship with his devoted long-suffering boyfriend. There's crazed excess and tawdry sex, but also a sharply etched portrait of the addict's mindset: the veering between paranoia and a compulsive sociability with the random crackheads he picks up to party with; the shrinkage of the planning horizon to the search for the next hit; the bliss of the high (the warmest, most tender caress... then, as it recedes, the coldest hand); the bender's unstoppable acceleration until, like a cartoon character running off a cliff, it has nothing left to sustain it. The author's efforts to impart psychological depth to his addiction—he writes of wan collegiate debauches and a childhood complex about urinating—are less convincing; it's clear that the binge will end when his money runs out. Though richly rendered, Clegg's crack odyssey feels like an epic bout of self-indulgence. (June 14)
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From Bookmarks Magazine
In this chilling debut, Clegg has written a serious and compelling, if somewhat detached, addition to the subgenre of "addiction memoirs." Clegg's tight, elegant prose, earnest tone, and meticulous attention to detail call up a fairy tale world brutally transformed into a monstrous hell. While the New York Times Book Review and the Times considered the book tedious and clichéd, their comments appeared to be directed more toward the genre as a whole, whose repetitive descriptions of substance abuse are "amply familiar to anyone who has ever watched a single episode of Behind the Music on VH-1" (Times). Of course, reviewer David Carr has written his own tale of addiction, The Night of the Gun (***1/2
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Top customer reviews
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I found this book to be one of the most accurate depictions of the way substance abuse is both compelling the destructive. It illustrates the ruin of a life and the miracle of coming out the other side healed.
Definitely worth the read!
Intervention: Anything But My Own Skin
Most recent customer reviews
Not sure why this book was so well-reviewed. The cynical, jaded part of me wants to say because the author is a literary agent and...Read more