A Memoir of Mania
By Andy Behrman
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780812967081, 304pp.)
Publication Date: February 11, 2003
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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.
Andy Behrman is a manic depressive who has undergone nineteen electroshock treatments. He has worked as a PR agent and an art dealer. His writing has been featured most recently in The New York Times Magazine. A graduate of Wesleyan University, he knows most of the all-night diners and after-hours bars in the major cities across the country. He currently lives mania-free on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. You can reach him at www.electroboy.com.
"Electroboy is as surreal as life can get, proving that truth is stranger than fiction. Andy Behrman’s nightmare anecdotes are addicting."
-Eric Bogosian, author of Mall
"What a wild, mind-ripping, hellacious, and hysterical ride! Like some cranked-up, amoral Horatio Alger trapped in the dark fun house of his own brain, Andy Behrman is the stuff demented legends are made of. Electroboy is a brilliant, riveting instant classic of the American dream run amok."
-Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight
"Pull down the safety bar, because Electroboy, like the manic depression it limns, is a roller-coaster ride of white-knuckled highs and lows. Courageous and dazzling--a heartbreaking journey into the mind untamed."
-Deborah Copaken Kogan, author of Shutterbabe
"Without ever sounding self-serving or apologetic, Behrman tells the story of a man utterly at
the mercy of his impulses. It’s sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying, always fascinating."
-John Taylor, author of Falling
"This stark and unsettling memoir mimics the patterns of the manic mind. An astonishing story of uncontrolled desire told by one of the most endearing madmen you’ll ever encounter."
-Katie Roiphe, author of Still She Haunts Me