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Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir

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Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir Cover

ISBN13: 9780316054676
ISBN10: 0316054674
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"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.)

Synopsis:

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.

Synopsis:

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.

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About the Author

Bill Clegg is a literary agent in New York. Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is his first book.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Grady Harp, August 14, 2010 (view all comments by Grady Harp)
A Memoir that becomes annoying rather than empathetic,

It can be a struggle to make it through this memoir PORTRAIT OF AN ADDICT AS A YOUNG MAN. Bill Clegg's life situation and changes due to his extraordinary utter addiction to smoking crack could have been developed into a keener understanding of why addiction is such a devastating disease, but instead Clegg seems more interested in sharing episode after endless episode of becoming blotto on his drug of choice, moments that after a while become fast page turners because he has just taken us there countless times before. Yes, his 'flashbacks' to his youth as an abused child because of a genitourinary/psychological problem voiding and its sequelae and his coping with the family introduction to his sexual proclivity are dotted here and there. His relationships to both his life partner Noah and to his semi-sequestered encounters of a physical nature are no match for his emphasis on his dependence on his contacts and suppliers and his wooing cabdrivers et al to 'hang out' and share getting high.

Clegg is a literary agent in New York and as such must read a lot of novels and other memoir-based books. One thing sets him apart: he writes in brief paragraphs separated on the page by considerable space, and that may be a visual means of helping the reader to understand the staccato outbursts of thought and words that come from an addict's mouth and mind. But in the end, this is yet another addict memoir that adds little to the shelves of similar books. The pity is that it would seem Clegg had an advantage in knowing how to deliver this information in a better way. Most people come to this book wanting to like the story, wanting to empathize with Bill Clegg and his journey through purgatory, but he simply loses us in the fall.

Grady Harp
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316054676
Subtitle:
A Memoir
Author:
Clegg, Bill
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Subject:
Drug addicts - United States
Subject:
Clegg, Bill
Subject:
General
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20110808
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.30x5.70x.90 in. .80 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » General
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » Personal Stories

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir Used Hardcover
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$2.98 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316054676 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by , 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.

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