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Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoirby Bill Clegg
Synopses & Reviews
After several years representing a growing list of highly acclaimed writers, literary agent Bill Clegg walked away from his world and went on a two-month crack binge. He had been released from rehab nine months earlier, and his relapse would cost him his home, his money, his career, his status, and--very nearly--his life.
What is it that makes an exceptional young mind want to disappear? Clegg makes startlingly clear the powerful attraction of the reality-obliterating drug that had him in its thrall, calling its effect a state where doom does not eclipse bliss. The terrifying story of Clegg's addiction is intercut with flashbacks to his childhood, when a harrowing physical condition is treated with mockery by one parent and with negligence by the other, shaping the future addict's desire to hide, to be away.
Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is an utterly compelling narrative--sometimes lyrical, sometimes gritty, and always disarmingly honest. It shows us how a gifted, charismatic, and successful young professional can too easily end up exposed, de-railed, and alone. We can be grateful that Bill Clegg is now firmly back in the world, offering this terrifying, beautifully written cautionary tale.
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Clegg's utterly compelling narrative shares the story of the relapse that would cost him his home, his money, his career, and very nearly his life. He makes stunningly clear the attraction of the drug that had him in its thrall and explores how the pattern of addiction can be traced to the past.
Bill Clegg had a thriving business as a literary agent, representing a growing list of writers. He had a supportive partner, trusting colleagues, and loving friends when he walked away from his world and embarked on a two-month crack binge. He had been released from rehab nine months earlier, and his relapse would cost him his home, his money, his career, and very nearly his life.
What is it that leads an exceptional young mind to want to disappear? Clegg makes stunningly clear the attraction of the drug that had him in its thrall, capturing in scene after scene the drama, tension, and paranoiac nightmare of a secret life-and the exhilarating bliss that came again and again until it was eclipsed almost entirely by doom. PORTRAIT OF AN ADDICT AS A YOUNG MAN is an utterly compelling narrative-lyrical, irresistible, harsh, and honest-from which you simply cannot look away.
About the Author
Bill Clegg is a literary agent in New York. Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is his first book.
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