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.
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To be completely honest, I think my longtime partner may have tendency toward some kind of mania, or bipolar, or something, and I happened to find this book when he was in sort of a tough place. It did not do that at all. Electroboy is not a book about diagnosing and dealing with the reality of manic-depressive disorder. Andy Behrman comes across as a spoiled rich kid from the get. He has a crazy amount of sex and does an astounding amount of drugs.
His morality is dubious and extremely fluid. He hurts all the people around him, with varying degrees of intent and satisfaction. He is incredibly narcissistic. He is way, way, way out of control, and is virtually unchecked for most of his life.
Where were his parents? Where were his friends? Why was no one paying attention to this volatile, self-destructive person? Here are some things Andy does.
He runs and works at various PR agencies—very successfully, in fact—launching and enhancing the careers of a while slew of awful people. He also works as a go-go boy and sometimes prostitute. He makes and drops friends at a, well, manic pace, just as quickly as he meets and discards therapists and medications. I think the point was that the reader would feel bad for him, because the mania is driving him or whatever, but he was just so unapologetic, so boastful, so preening and proud.
It was all very hard to stomach, and very hard to enjoy.
Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania
"Electroboy" Andy Behrman: "Ich war der American Psycho"