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Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man: A Memoir [Hardcover]

Bill Clegg
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

10 Jun 2010

This is the story of one of the most gifted, charismatic and successful young literary agents in New York and his catastrophic fall into full-blown crack addiction: a collapse that would cost him his business, his home, many of his friends and - very nearly - his life. An utterly compulsive narrative of extraordinary frankness, we are led through the grimiest back-rooms of Manhattan's underbelly, through scenes of blank-eyed sex and squalor, into the febrile paranoia of a mind gone out of control. The story is intercut with terrifying flashbacks to his childhood, where a secret physical condition triggers shame, psychological abuse, and the beginnings of his hidden life and addictive personality.

This is not a book about a literary agent, or publishing, or New York - nor is it a book about recovery and redemption - it is a completely compelling, brilliantly written account of how a dynamic young middle-class professional can find himself finally exposed as a helpless addict, de-railed and alone, living for months on a steady diet of crack cocaine and vodka. Written with great literary skill and originality, this is a memoir of disarming honesty and huge emotional power, but it is also, at its heart, a manifest of pure terror.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; First Edition edition (10 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224089072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224089074
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 372,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description



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)

Book Description

A masterful account of a crack-addict's freefall

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't take drugs! 25 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Moving account of a young mans struggle with crack cocaine addiction.
Never read a book like it!Felt very blessed that I never took up drugs.
The first hand account is so compelling I couldn't put the book down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars You'll get the picture ! 10 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've never smoked crack and being British I haven't seen the epidemic reach the scales it has in the States but I do know people who have danced with that particular devil and found this book quite informative.

It's a very straightforward day to day account of what the life of a serious crack smoker entails.
The author is unapologetic, honest and intelligent, he takes a reasonably phlegmatic approach to his writing giving the reader the facts and letting him or her make his mind up.

"Enjoyable" may not be the best way to describe this work but "informative" or "enlightening" might be better adjectives. It's well written and engrossing. I hope to read more of this man's work.

If edgy voyuerism is your thing give Last Seen in Bangkok a whirl..
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing but readable 15 Aug 2012
By trudije
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book rather dull, sorry to the authour. Honesty I guess. I read a lot of biographies and found this flat. Never really drew me in or made me feel any sense of emotion coming from the paqes. Disappointment for me but others may gain well from a good lesson of recovery and redemption
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