Porträt eines Süchtigen als junger Mann
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Porträt eines Süchtigen als junger Mann

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  1,809 ratings  ·  287 reviews
Bill Clegg hatte alles: eine aufstrebende Literaturagentur - er ist der Entdecker solch renommierter Autoren wie Nicole Krauss und Andrew Sean Greer -, einen wunderbaren Lebensgefährten, Anerkennung und Erfolg. Aber alles, was er wollte, war Crack. Er war gerade dreißig, als er plötzlich nicht mehr in seinem Büro auftaucht, und niemand wusste, wo er ist. Was folgt, ist ein...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published by S. Fischer Verlag (first published January 1st 2010)
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Tayari Jones
This book was pretty engaging. There is a train-wrecky appeal and Clegg is pretty good with phrase. (I especially liked it when he described a woman's accent as "tricky.")

I would have liked it better if he had really reflected on the way his race/class kept him out of jail. While I was really fascinated by the idea that there are secret crack addicts everywhere, Clegg could have been omre reflective about the fact that addicts who can't check into Manhattan hotels to get high and order vodka for...more
Wendy S.
Sure I read it (hence two stars), and I read it quickly because 1) I'm addicted to books about screw ups, AND 2) I'm constantly looking for something that will make me feel differently about this particular disease. This "memoir" makes me sick. I don't care about Bill Clegg's self-indulgent childhood issues. In fact, they bore me. He comes across as an insecure, egotistical name-dropper who clearly has a long way to go if in fact he is still "recovering." Much like all books about addiction, my...more
Kristin
When I read the sentence, "At the very center of things and at the farthest edge," I was hooked. How many of us have felt this way? This isn't your typical "how I overcame my drug addiction memoir." Bill Clegg explains in detail his descent into crack madness and his overwhelming guilt in letting his family, friends and basically, everyone he knows down. Except, unlike most, he is addicted to crack and doesn't care about making amends or the consequences or losing his life. It doesn't matter. On...more
Brittany
"It doesn't feel the least bit wrong in those first seconds after exhaling the familiar smoke, no more than a reunion with an old friend, a returning to the most incredible conversation I've ever had, one that got interrupted seven months ago and, now that it's started up again, hasn't skipped a beat. But it's more than just a conversation, it's the best sex. The most delicious meal, the most engrossing book-it's like returning to all of these at once, coming home, and the primary feeling I have...more
Michael
Harrowing, with a can't-look-away-oh-god-I-want-to-look-away quality that fairly pulls the reader through the pages. I know crack addicts but haven't read any accounts of the addiction from the inside, and I found Clegg to be adept at giving a sense of what serious substance abuse must be like for the user. The rampant paranoia, the way the drug extends and collapses time, the peaks of the highs versus the plunges into the blackest of lows—he nails all of this with an unflinching eye, and withou...more
Judith
I admit that I am a sucker for stories about addiction. You could even say I am addicted to them. (groan!) But now I know what I want for my last "meal" ----and it is a nice chunk of crack. Really, it sounds like something that everyone should experience once in a lifetime but can't for obvious reasons. To paraphrase the poet, it sounds like . . ." all we know of heaven and all we need to know of hell. . "

Bill Clegg is a literary agent in NYC and he was living the dream. He appears on his book...more
Claire
Stellar writing, excellent editing; deserves 5 stars.
This memoir is a roller coaster ride the reader takes with Bill Clegg as he remembers episodes pursuing various intoxicating experiences. An unflinching account- Clegg does not spare himself as he tells of the road he traveled with his addiction. This is not easy reading, the highs and desperate lows are so vivid.
Some call this a cautionary tale. I don't know. I think some would read the descriptions and say, 'I'd like to feel high like that...more
Christine
I first read an excerpt from this drug-addiction memoir in New York Magazine earlier this summer. While I've had my fill of drug-addiction memoirs (and memoirs about nervous breakdowns, in case you care) and thus find any craving of such subject matter more than quenched, I found myself totally enthralled by the text, and in particular, Bill Clegg's voice. Plus, the guy was a wildly successful literary agent, an insider, whose decline was marked by an addiction to crack. I wanted more. I put my...more
A
A grippingly horrifying and unrepentantly sexy memoir of addiction. Clegg seems/seemed like a truly horrible human being with absolutely no regard for those who care anything about him; yet reading many parts of this book had me aching to live his Glamorous Life ("It ain't much") of flashy literary parties, hot yuppie boyfriends, and bleary-beautiful late nights in $500/night boutique hotels. Indeed, I REALLY appreciated that he didn't turn this into a tale of repentance, recovery, treacly senti...more
Glenn Sumi
Bill Clegg had it all: a glamorous, prestigious job as a literary agent; a handsome and caring indie filmmaker boyfriend; a gorgeous Manhattan apartment; a glittering social life; J. Crew catalogue model good looks...

But he risked throwing it all away – along with tens of thousands of dollars – because of his addiction to crack cocaine, a downward spiral he chronicles with frank honesty in the harrowing, hard-to-put-down memoir Portrait Of An Addict As A Young Man.

Clegg interweaves tales of his...more
Maria
Disappointing. Clegg was/is a star literary agent but he is not a writer. Or a likeable narrator. A repetitive, self-aggrandizing tale without insight --- a bit of James-Frey-syndrome at work here with some of these detailed episodes he recalls years later. Too bad that this book was published because of Clegg's connections in publishing --- while others' stories of overcoming their addicitions will never find an outlet.
Matthew Gallaway
Harrowing account of an addiction to crack cocaine, written in sparse but beautiful language. For me it raised interesting and important questions about the obsessive nature of (many) gay men trying to come to terms with their attraction to other men in a society still reeling from AIDS and homophobia.
Adam Dunn
When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Many things came to me while reading this book and I had to stop reading several times to just sit and think. The main one is reflected in the quote above, how did he go through this again? How was he able to get past the shame and guilt of this time in his life to be able to write it down and then to be able to share it with others? I spent a lot of the book marvelling at that.

"Nothing but death can keep me from it"...more
Jeannie
May 06, 2011 Jeannie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who can handle it
Shelves: i-own
Reading this book was like being on a runaway train that you know is going to crash. Like seeing a tornado heading your way and not being able to get out of its path. His writing was so deep it had my mind on overdrive.

I got sucked into his story from the very first chapter. I was headed down this path at one time so I can understand the allure of crack, the rush of that first hit, the need to chase it, the horrible craving and searching for more ,not caring how I looked or acted, not caring who...more
Brielle Charmasson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike
Lyrical, yes, profound, maybe not. One inevitably keeps going for the prurient details. It's like watching a NASCAR race: are you just waiting for the final crash? Despite some horrific details from his upbringing, there's no cohesive cause and effect, and there really couldn't be, as the author wrote this early on after he stopped abusing drugs. Too soon, I judge, to really process what's happened to him. That's why the ending feels unearned; respecting the confidential nature of his recovery,...more
Andre
There are few books I can honestly describe as absorbing, haunting, or engulfing; books whose clean, paranoid prose flies with bullet trajectory towards inevitable ruin, self-destruction, and also self-regeneration; books who gesture the dissonant rhythm of a doomed soul that must be responsible for their actions, yet prudent about their tortured origins -- I can't like or dislike Bill Clegg. His is a story of turbulence from birth spread out through his youth and spread-eagled into the angelic,...more
Jazmine Green
Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is a memoir by Bill Clegg. Bill is the Owner of a thriving business in New York, a book-publishing agency. However, as he gets sucked deeper into addiction his business begins to fall a part, his long time relationship with his boyfriend, Noah, crumbles and the rest of his life gets shattered to pieces. This memoir was very well written in my opinion, therefore making it interesting to read. However, I do feel that it was a bit confusing at times and I found...more
christa
The first time Bill Clegg tries smoking crack he’s in an apartment in New York City with an upstanding citizen from his hometown, a handsome silver-haired lawyer who is older than even his father. And, whoa, is this a good time. Clegg describes it as a new surge of energy, a perfect oblivion, a kind of peace, kinetic, sexual and euphoric, a hurricane, a warm tender caress.

The naughty, drug fueled, paranoia and urination fascination memoir Portrait of a Young Man as an Addictis the literary agent...more
Alexis
This is the disturbing story of literary agent Bill Clegg's complete fall into drug addiction. I agree with Susan Juby's review about the fetishization of crack smoking throughout the book- there are long passages about crack smoking and every detail of the process. In fact, I'm not quite sure how the author managed to write this without a relapse. Apparently he wrote it while he was in rehab, so that might have been part of the process.

The book is extremely graphic and disturbing. I read it all...more
Julie Ehlers
May 09, 2014 Julie Ehlers rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one.
Shelves: memoir
This is the story of a privileged white dude who apparently became more addicted to crack than anyone has ever been addicted to crack ever before. He blames this on his childhood, which, although not perfect, is certainly no worse than the childhoods of countless people who have never smoked crack even once. He treats all his friends and loved ones shockingly poorly because all he cares about is crack, but they stay loyal to him anyway, I guess because they're all codependent? In a way, this boo...more
Paula
I heard Bill Clegg interviewed on the Rosie O’Donnell radio show and felt compelled to read the book, which describes his descent into drug addiction so extreme it causes his to leave his job, his lover and drain his bank account. Reviews were large positive for the book but I couldn’t help but feel that massive self-indulgence permeated everything about his story. This made me feel mean-spirited and ungenerous, but so be it. Supposedly, abuse suffered during his childhood fed the need for the a...more
Robert
It shouldn't be surprising how quickly a drug can really mess up your life. In this book Clegg shows how he took a very successful job and social life along with someone that loves him, and just flushed it all down the tube in a split second. The fact that he had the courage to write about this all made for a very good book, and hopefully started him back on his road to recovery. The whole book is really just the depiction of one or two days in his life, but there is so much going on that it mak...more
Jennifer
Golden boy gone wrong in NYC. This was a great story told in the first person about endless crack binges all over NYC over a three year period. A true testament to an addict having to hit rock bottom and come to terms on their own. The amount of vodka, crack and money spent are staggering (I think he spent like $70K or something over the 3 years)he holes up in all sorts of places such as $500 + per night Hotel Gavensvort to full on crack dens. I barely blinked while reading this (not from speed)...more
Eris
This was a breathless ride through hell, and brilliantly done for the most part. The author is not someone you pity, nor someone you would ever want to be. His descent into complete paranoia is captured in a way that makes your chest hurt as you read along. You can practically smell the stink of the life he has chosen when he looks up and finally realizes how far he has fallen.

Only four stars because the book does contain some extraneous material that does not really help the telling. The very l...more
Zachary
My wife had finished this book and put it in a stack of items to be returned to the library, and I picked it up one night before bed, thinking that I would only read the first page. I couldn't put it down. The author takes you on a horrifyingly candid thrill-ride through the weeks-long crack binges that ultimately led to his downfall, narrating the internal rationalizations for his behavior in vivid detail. I especially recommend the sections where he describes his growing delusions about J. C....more
Sara Comuzzo
premetto di avere un debole per i romanzi sulle dipendenze. il libro di clegg è uno delle perle rare del genere. crudo, breve, diretto, reale. la discesa di un uomo, un ragazzo, un agente letterario che cade nel crack. e la droga diventa la sua unica ragione di vita. lascia il suo fidanzato, tratta male chi ama, fa bruscamente scendere il proprio conto in banca. si rifugia nelle camere di alberghi dove si fa fare compagnia da uomini e da incontri sessuali privi di qualsiasi affetto. soffre di pa...more
Anna Lisa
I thought that this book was pretty good, for what it was. Certainly not a feel-good read, but sometimes I'm into that. Clegg is articulate and artistic in his descriptions of himself and his addiction. The book was honest and nothing was sugar-coated, very genuine. Many people still think of addicts as f@#$-ups who made their own bad situations worse by using, however this guy appeared to have had it all...kudos to him for managing to get some of it back.
Mena
My goodness... if you ever wondered what it would be like to be in the head of a crack-addict, pick up this book. It's a fast read - mainly because it's pretty much impossible to put down - and will have your heart racing as you follow Clegg through his complicated childhood and heart-breaking addiction. There are some loose ends, but as it's a memoir that's to be expected. Incredibly well written and poignantly honest.
Daniel
Sparse, elegant and way too truthful. I want to call this memoir narcissistic, but it's much smarter than that. It is the beautiful spiral you find in novels by authors like Bret Easton Ellis and Joan Didion, only told from the internal monologue of the person living it. A remarkable work for its honesty and validation of the struggle not as heroic but as mostly a long line of repeated surrenders.
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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 l...more
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