"The author writes with astonishing honesty, infusing the intensely interior narrative with powerful imagery and penetrating insights… At turns cautionary and inspirational, Clegg's saga embraces both the weaknesses and strengths of human nature, while only alluding to the possibility of salvation.

A gritty, lyrical and potent portrait of what it really means to be addicted." -Kirkus

"Clegg's spare, nearly minimalist style complements the drama inherent in his material: it's addition through subtraction. At first, his understated approach can seem sketchy, even vague, but the effect is cumulative. By focusing on the struggle through each gray day, Clegg draws the reader into his claustrophobic existence. His distance from both his character and the world short-circuits the addiction memoir tendency toward melodrama. When specific details do seep in—selling his mother's silver, a drug-fueled threesome—the impact is powerful." -Publishers Weekly


"Among the reasons to stick with PORTRAIT is the lightly narcotized sensorium of Mr. Clegg's prose. He nails the 'weary authority' of the Empire State Building, with its 'shoulders of colored light.' He describes swaying in time, while high, with another addict, the pair of them 'like two underwater weeds bending to the same current. He can write." -The New York Times

"An exceptionally fine addition… deserves to become a classic of psychiatric literature… 'Harrowing' is far too banal and insipid a word to describe Clegg's ugly (and rather swift) descent into crack addiction. 'Portrait of an Addict' should be read in a single sitting. No one I know has been able to put the book down." -Chicago Tribune

"This memoir is as much a dark passage as it is the ultimate cautionary tale….this book needed to be finished in one sitting." -Huffington Post

"Clegg's operatic madness is vividly rendered… [the book] rings true in brutal, blunt strokes." -The New York Times

"Heart-wrenching, shocking and powerful."

"Both harrowing and hopeful: a triumph." -People Magazine

"Few memoirs so clearly, in crisp, absorbing prose, depict such a telling likeness of an addict." -Sunday Oregonian

"It turns out there is room on the shelf for one more addiction memoir. The true-life horror here: A hotshot literary agent opens his own shop while falling hard for crack cocaine. Clegg spare no one's feelings, least of all his own; it's not the brutality that makes this worthwhile but rather the strange beauty in the stream-of-consciousness prose. We're voyeurs, as helpless to stop the carnage as the author himself." -GQ

"For all the literary musings on drugs, the business of literature is a rather sober and cerebral place. That fact may explain why the memoir of literary agent Bill Clegg, which recounts a nosedive not so very long ago into crack addiction, seems as shocking as his ability to construct gorgeously poetic scenes seems intuitive." -Interview

"…a streamlined, hair-raising, high-torque memoir, most of which is dedicated to his final, punishing binge, with flashbacks to the life that led up to it." -Vanity Fair

"Bill Clegg has produced a lyrical, moving crack addiction memoir, PORTRAIT OF AN ADDICT AS A YOUNG MAN that is utterly frank and utterly readable." -Out Magazine

"cuts through the addiction-memoir noise, recounting the glamour and pathos of self-destruction with efficiency and disturbing clarity." -Details

"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 … But really, forget comparisons. Read the book." -Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours

"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, author of Be Near Me

"Bill Clegg's memoir is a startling, hair-raising, and compulsively readable account of one man's descent into the hell of addiction. That Clegg lived to tell his story is amazing. That he has captured the details of his experience with such beauty is even more so. Unforgettable." -Danielle Trussoni, author of Falling Through the Earth

"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, author of Trainspotting

"A sharply etched portrait of the addict's mindset: the veering between paranoia and a compulsive sociability." -Publishers Weekly

"I devoured PORTRAIT OF AN ADDICT AS A YOUNG MAN, couldn't put it down. The writing throughout is beautiful, and all the while it is reportorial and efficient and honest — a rare combination of feats!" -Elinor Lipman, author of Then She Found Me and, most recently, The Family Man

"PORTRAIT OF AN ADDICT AS A YOUNG MAN by Bill Clegg isn't coming out until June, and I hesitate to review it six months in advance of its publication date. But the book is so damn good (I read it in two sittings) that I don't want to wait and let its impact fade…. This is going to be a big one, folks. It's not often I'm floored by a memoir, and I am by this one." -Jen A. Miller,

Photo of Bill Clegg