Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir

Bill Clegg, Author . Little, Brown $23.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-316-05467-6

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)

Reviewed on: 03/15/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-08450-5
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-224-08907-4
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4464-8363-3
Paperback - 222 pages - 978-0-09-953982-7
Paperback - 222 pages - 978-0-316-05466-9
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