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Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 10. Juni 2010

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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 240 Seiten
  • Verlag: Jonathan Cape (10. Juni 2010)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0224089072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224089074
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14,2 x 2,3 x 22,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 534.876 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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It's a remarkable achievement when a writer can evoke the most desperate episodes of addiction with the unflinching honesty required to make such a memoir worth reading, yet somehow manage to completely transcend sleaze, sordidness and vapid self-justification. Bill Clegg's story of a man - largely locked in hotel rooms, engaged in a desperate, heart-wrenching battle with himself - is destined to become a cult classic of writing on drug addiction.

" (Irvine Welsh)

"Bill Clegg's Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man stands up to Frederick Exley's great memoir of alcoholism, A Fan's Notes. It is perhaps even higher praise to think of Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man as Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye on crack. But really, finally, forget the comparisons. Read the book." (Michael Cunningham, Author Of The Hours)

"A Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is an instant classic. Anybody who knows anything about addiction will feel morally altered by this book. To an extraordinary degree, it has both beauty and truth. It goes beyond its own revelations to become a book for everybody, a work of art. I suppose we live for the magic of these things." (Andrew O'Hagan)


A masterful account of a crack-addict's freefall

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Christof Sperl am 13. Januar 2012
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
The text will make you behave just as victims of its subject crack would do: Once you start reading, you can't stop. I couldn't put the book away for a day and half a night or so.
It is made clear that Bill Clegg's profund childhood humiliation by his father might have led to his self destructive behaviour as a crack addict who easily spends an 800$ amount on a one night smoking binge, unable to leave the hotel room as there are still some rocks left, and unable to stay because he is in need of more and more crack - and must go to the next ATM in order to withdraw some money for Happy, his dealer. Being a brilliant literary agent and a promising young man in is early thirties, Bill behaves like a puppet on a string, driven by his addiction.
The language is excellent and full of suspense, the syntax is a surprisingly innovative pleasure. It is a great enjoyment to read this book.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 70 Rezensionen
125 von 148 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Yawn - another addiction memoir... 3. Mai 2010
Von Goldengate - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Check my other reviews... I don't make a habit of writing negative reviews. But I found this book tedious and incomplete, and the story not very compelling. You've read this book before. Or seen the story on TV. Addict traumatized by broken relationships with his parents in childhood spirals further and further down into the hole of addiction, enabled (beyond belief) by his saintly partner, Noah, who in one scene goes so far as to hold his hand and cry as he has sex with a male hustler. Really? OK....

The majority of the book chronicles the addiction itself, with flashbacks to childhood and some sort of trauma involving an inability to urinate. Really.

We don't ever care that much about the protagonist because there's just not much to like. On 9/11... as the towers are burning... he goes and gets a haircut. OK....

He spirals downward, farther and farther, goes to rehab, spirals back down... Noah's there enabling him...

The end of the book is completely unsatisfying - but I won't spoil it just in case you do decide to read the book. Let's just say the protagonist has some unresolved childhood issues. Looking for redemption? An understanding that the world is larger than the protagonist? You're not going to find it in this book. What you will find is the narcissistic self-absorption that characterizes all addicts. Poor character development abounds - why does Noah put up with all this? Just because he loves him? And why should the reader care about any of this?

95% of the book is detailed descriptions of the protagonist doing drugs. I'd hoped to see a little more self-discovery in this book - perhaps not redemption but at least some self-reflection. But that's clearly way too much to ask.

Suggest you skip the book and check out the TV series "Intervention"....

Perhaps I'm way off base on this review, as others seemed to have liked it, but this book to me was wildly unsatisfying.
18 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Revolting, but Effective 26. Juli 2010
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
When I asked for advice about how to judge a piece of art, one of my English Lit professors recommended that I ask myself: "Does this (art) succeed in that which it attempts to do?"
After applying this handy advice while considering Bill Glegg's "Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man," I have to say that his memoir is ultimately effective. It may not be ultimately satisfying for the reader (the recollections of childhood struggles with toilet issues are compelling but maddeningly opaque; his recovery is hardly mentioned), but reader satisfaction isn't the point.

What this book does is effectively capture and represent Clegg's nightmare tailspin into crack cocaine addiction and his final weeks-long binge. Assuming that this is what the author intended the book to be about, it is very well done. I can't be 100% positive because I've never used crack myself...but after reading this, I think that I have an idea. It isn't pretty.

Relentless paranoia. Drugs, sex with random people, latenight visits by crack dealers, ignoring and evading the people who care about him, drinking liters of vodka, experiencing drug-induced psychosis, torching his life. Humiliating and degrading himself. And for what? The way that he write it, during this binge, the crack high does not sound fun at all. But Clegg is not using to get high. He is using to stay ahead of the avalanche that is his past and the consequences of his behavior.

Clegg is not a likable narrator. He is not sympathetic (some of his childhood memories made me sad for him, though). Other reviewers have remarked about how self-absorbed and narcissistic he is, and they are correct. Junkies are self-absorbed and narcissistic. They are greedy, destructive, abusive, and incapable of love or trust. In this book, Clegg tells it like it is. I have to hand it to him--he's frank about the bridges he burned, the friends he exploited and terrified, the colleagues he left hanging or abandoned, and the loved ones (especially his long-suffering and somewhat codependent bf/partner) he betrayed. Maybe when he wrote it, he was working on one of those steps (in the 12 steps) that involves making a fearless personal inventory, or recognizing what you've done wrong to others, or whatever step it is...I have no idea, but I'd believe it if I heard it.

And yes, as some of the other reviewers have mentioned, the author comes accross as a spoiled snob with entitlement issues. He's not binging in a crack house, obviously, he's binging in 4-star manhattan hotels. As I read it, his homosexuality was accepted warmly by his social and professional group. He spent more money on this binge than most people make in many months. Readers may find this distasteful. Lord knows that I did, though the feeling was offset somewhat by the knowledge that I did not envy him one tiny bit. For me, what grated the most was his reference to the (hallucinated) FBI/DEA/Police/Govt Agents as "Pennies," as in, J.C. Penny's, as in the agents are dressed in clothing purchased from J.C. Penny's (meaning working/middle class, tackey, low-rent, unfashionable). He sees "Pennies" everywhere. He also mentally sneers at an airplane captain who ejects him off of the plane because he is suspiciously inebriated. Even though he is a degenerate junkie by this point, Clegg contemptuously notes the captain's "hokey" uniform and its inferior tailoring. He's obnoxious.

But he recollection is honest, and his writing is skillful. He can turn a phrase, he is clearly literate and talented. And given the repitition of the material, his descriptions are not repetitive or overly familiar, which is a feat in and of itself.

This is not a story of addiction, from beginning to end, with a character arc. This is a portrait of addiction. If you approach the book with that in mind, I think that you will be quite satisfied with the story.
22 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Quick read - but a bit too thin - 9. Juni 2010
Von Peter Elliott - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
After reading about Bill Clegg in the NY Times Style section and then reading the book excerpt in NY Magazine, I bought the Kindle version (high price at $14.99) and devoured this thin volume in a day. The truth is if you read both pieces mentioned, you've pretty much read the book (except for the back-story of his life, which focuses on the author's inability to pee and high school and college days that show an addictive personality at an early age).

The book reads well and moves along quickly(you keep on waiting for a pay-off that doesn't ever seem to come). There doesn't seem to be a lot of depth though. In a way, it's like a celebrity biography ...'and then I did this...' but replaced with ...'and then I took another hit...'

I was hoping for more.

Oddly enough, this book is not a harrowing read like the (fictional) James Frey's book. For an excellent read on addiction and recovery, check out "Liquid Lover" by John Moriarty.

I wish Bill Clegg the best with book and his career and his recovery!
14 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Utter, utter crap 2. November 2010
Von A. M. Lighter - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Some reviewers have lauded the ostensible crystal clarity, the tight prose, the momentum of the narrative. Yep, I finished this book in a couple of hours. No, it wasn't because it was such a riveting read. My momentum came from the sense that I was reading a new version of "The Emperor's New Clothes" -- who, I wondered, was going to call out the protagonist as the hopelessly self-absorbed, self-contradictory ass he was? I kept waiting for Clegg to reflect in any meaningful sense upon the events he paraded out on page after tedious page, but he seems to believe that we will remain interested in the details of his each and every crack purchase without any contextualization of his addiction beyond a tenuous and undeveloped connection to difficulty urinating as a child.

Irritating inconsistencies abound, e.g. he concludes in one chapter that the fourth floor of a building isn't high enough to kill himself from, then calculates in the next with annoying authoritativeness that the third floor is certainly high enough from which to commit suicide. It is also profoundly off-putting to have Clegg seeking the reader's sympathies for, say, the disgusting state of the very expensive cashmere sweater he wears for days straight during his hit-bottom binge and how the shop-girl looks at him when he enters a boutique and buys a new, equally expensive cashmere sweater to replace it. (Who feels sorry for you here, seriously?) Elsewhere he writes of feeling out of place among all the rich people as a graduate of a non-Ivy college; but he cannot resist, sans irony, repeatedly referencing his prodigious bank balance. The last chapter is a needlessly oblique fantasy sequence that feels utterly contrived and offers no resolution or insight.

I truly believe that the only reason this book has seen the light of day is that Mr. Clegg's buddies in publishing allowed their personal connection to or affection for him to cloud their literary judgment. It reads like a lightly edited version of the sort of therapeutic confessional that addicts are asked to write in their first weeks of rehabilitation before they have gotten beyond the first flush of narcissism, so if that is your cup of tea... well, here you go. Me? I mourn the loss of the evening I'm not getting back.
48 von 63 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Oh really? Please! 18. Juni 2010
Von Mistress - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A major drawback of 'Portrait' is that the book relies heavily upon events. This is a common weakness in many memoirs; the author believes you'll find the events interesting in and of themselves. But they aren't. What's missing is the interpretation. Good memoirs include reflection about why these things happened and how they shaped the writer's life. It adds the necessary meaning to the story.
In one chapter Mr Clegg does a ton of crack and then writes "I find three bottles of wine in the kitchen and drink them." And we, as the reader, are to believe he remembers all of this? Tell ya what, why don't you (and by "you", I mean anyone reading this) do a bunch of crack right now, then drink three bottles of wine, let a couple of years go by, then write about the experience. Right. I think you get my drift here.
If you read the free chapter that is offered here on Amazon, then you don't need to read anymore. Trust me on this one. Yawn.
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