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Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania [Paperback]

Andy Behrman
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb 2003
Electroboy is an emotionally frenzied memoir that reveals with kaleidoscopic intensity the terrifying world of manic depression. For years Andy Behrman hid his raging mania behind a larger-than-life personality. He sought a high wherever he could find one and changed jobs the way some people change outfits: filmmaker, PR agent, art dealer, stripper-whatever made him feel like a cartoon character, invincible and bright. Misdiagnosed by psychiatrists and psychotherapists for years, his condition exacted a terrible price: out-of-control euphoric highs and tornadolike rages of depression that put his life in jeopardy.

Ignoring his crescendoing illness, Behrman struggled to keep up appearances, clinging to the golden-boy image he had cultivated in his youth. But when he turned to art forgery, he found himself the subject of a scandal lapped up by the New York media, then incarcerated, then under house arrest. And for the first time the golden boy didn’t have a ready escape hatch from his unraveling life. Ingesting handfuls of antidepressants and tranquilizers and feeling his mind lose traction, he opted for the last resort: electroshock therapy.

At once hilarious and harrowing, Electroboy paints a mesmerizing portrait of a man held hostage by his in-satiable desire to consume. Along the way, it shows us the New York that never sleeps: a world of strip clubs, after-hours dives, and twenty-four-hour coffee shops, whose cheap seductions offer comfort to the city’s lonely souls. This unforgettable memoir is a unique contribution to the literature of mental illness and introduces a writer whose energy may well keep you up all night.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade; Reprint edition (Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812967089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812967081
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 12.7 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 404,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"Behrman writes so vividly that his turbulent mood swings are brought to the page unnervingly intact…This true story is remarkable" -- The Times

"Behrman’s chronicle of his descent into madness reads like a kind of rake’s progress for the late 20th century" -- Esquire

"Electroboy is the story of a very modern lost soul" -- Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"Electroboy is like a non-fiction version of American Psycho…His life is a metaphor for the ‘80s – everything is overblown and out of control. But Electroboy is also a sensitive account of manic depression – medication, analysis, an obsession with suicide and, finally, electric shock treatment. This fusion is pure genius." Dazed & Confused

"Andy Behrman’s Electroboy truly is an astonishing piece of writing…That it really happened to the author is, quite frankly, astounding, tragic and hilarious by turns…even sober and sane he is totally outrageous…He makes Elizabeth Wurtzel, America’s queen of drugs and depression, look like Mary Poppins" Sunday Express --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A staggering book 20 Sep 2008
`Electroboy' is the memoir of Andy Behrman: a PR man; an art fraudster; a habitual drug user; a man who is hyper-sexual and who has bi-polar disorder. The book follows him from his childhood through to adulthood and through misdiagnosis from seven psychiatrists. In his thirties, almost all drug combinations having failed, Behrman has electroconvulsive therapy (considered by most to be a last resort) and gradually begins to feel he is regaining some control.

This an incredible book, not least because it's written as if he is manic: darting from one thing to another, cramming in as many experiences and sensations as he can. At times, reading this book can be exhausting but it is an incredible story and at times extremely funny. If you're easily offended then it might not be one for you (there's plenty of detail about experiences with drugs and prostitutes in this book) but otherwise, it's highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 7 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An amazing read. Great insight into a type of mindset that society so often closes out, forgets about. We should embrace people with more equality. This book really shows what it's like to deal with Bipolar Disorder. It has really educated me and a recommend it to anyone with even the slightest interest in this topic area.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm still catching my breath! 18 Mar 2002
For most of his life Andy has hidden his raging mania under a larger-than-life personality until he turns to art forgery. Then he became the subject of a New York scandal, jail & house arrest until, finally, when he knows he can no longer control himself, he opts for electroconvulsive therapy.
Andy Behrman, inspite of his mental illness, has written an engaging & exhausting, hilarious & horrifying memoir of where he came from, how it all started & what happened. How he moved from authentic into full throttle forgery - both in the field of his art dealing &, as the disease overwhelms him, in his life.
His monumental To Do List is a sign of things to come!
ELECTROBOY is a bit longer than needed. No excuses for the turmoil that tumbles out! You will find yourself holding your breath & then squeaking with relief tinged with chuckles. On & on he goes, round & round he swirls on highs so high he's looking down at the sky & then, in a blink, he's so at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, he can't see daylight.
Extra-ordinary, & a thought-provoking, memorable read! I will not look at my life the same way again!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars up and down without a break 15 Jan 2012
By melita
I really enjoyed it and red it in a day which is quite unusual for me.
Basically it opened my eyes to this terrible illness that plays tricks on people and eats away at their integrity. Very complex illness and difficult to understand I never realised just how disabling it is.
The stigma associated with mental illness is often very damaging to people that struggle and didn't ask to have a mental illness.
Thank you, Andy Behrman for sharing your personal story and raising awareness about bipolar disorder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electro boy 23 Oct 2011
By Vanessa
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book came from the USA early than expected, really enjoying reading it. The quality is first class, I would certainly us this seller again.
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