Bill Clegg: Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man

Some place in the tangle of early life experience lies the cause for taking such desperate measures to belong somewhere, a void so deep that even a great, stable, fulfilling love cannot compensate.

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man. Cautionary tale, I guess, if you want it to be. Certainly Bill Clegg neither moralizes nor preaches; he simply chronicles his rapid descent, and with a clear, sharp eye describes the destruction done to others and to himself. Exposing his psyche as ruthlessly and violently as he once exposed his body in countless anonymous fast-sex encounters and crack parties in cheap hotel rooms or taxicabs or subway lavs, Clegg lets his story stand as painful object lesson. At one point in Portrait he asserts, “I am nowhere and belong nowhere.” One can only hope that crafting this memoir which has earned so much praise will have given him a sense of the place he has earned within the community of writers, and the place he will have to earn anew every day, as a recovering addict. TC mark


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