Andy Behrman was Superman. He slept three hours a day. He learned new languages in a week. He was a dealer, a hustler and an art forger who made millions. He flew from Geneva to Anguilla then back again to balance out the hot and cold. He gave strangers spontaneous gifts of thousands of dollars from the cash he kept in a refrigerator. Then he was arrested for art forgery, went to prison and soon after that found out he was mad. Following intensive bouts of electric shock therapy, he was cured. No longer Superman, but Electroboy. This is his story.
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Put sex, drugs, art forgeries, and manic depression into a blender, run it at top speed for 10 minutes, and out pops Electroboy, Andy Behrman's high-octane autobiography. The story begins as an exhilarating view into the manic's world, with spontaneous flights to Tokyo, sketchy East Village bars, and a nonstop inner dialogue that makes your pulse race just to keep up. The remainder of the book slows down considerably, starting with Behrman's New Jersey childhood and winding through a successful education, a rapid accumulation of debts, a forged painting scam that lands him in prison, and finally a series of electroshock treatments that allow him to find some balance in life at last.
Between titillating tales of stripping for extra cash and excessive drug use, Behrman charts his experiences with therapists and a wide variety of prescription medications. No clear picture is presented of his attempts at counseling; there is much skipping around between therapists, from whom he manages to hide the extent of his difficulties. In his first experience with Prozac, he doubles his original dose "to speed up" and later fires his psychiatrist for "medicating him like an absolute lunatic." This tale alone makes his doctors come across as more sympathetic characters than Behrman might have intended. Like many confessional memoirs, Electroboy is a blunt tale that relies heavily on the shock value of his über-yuppie behavior, which ends up detracting from the potentially fascinating story of his illness. --Jill LightnerFrom the Inside Flap:
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.
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0140288856