Rage Against the Meshugenah: Why it Takes Balls to Go Nuts

Rage Against the Meshugenah: Why it Takes Balls to Go Nuts

by Danny Evans
     
 

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In his early thirties, Danny Evans had a smokin' hot wife, a new baby boy, and the highest paying job he'd ever had. Then, in the span of one week, a sudden layoff and the events of 9/11 plunged Evans into a crushing depression. At turns poignant and uproarious, Rage Against the Meshugenah vividly traces Evans' journey through the minefield of mental illness

Overview

In his early thirties, Danny Evans had a smokin' hot wife, a new baby boy, and the highest paying job he'd ever had. Then, in the span of one week, a sudden layoff and the events of 9/11 plunged Evans into a crushing depression. At turns poignant and uproarious, Rage Against the Meshugenah vividly traces Evans' journey through the minefield of mental illness from a modern man's point-of-view, including his no-holds-barred confrontations with infuriating sexual side effects, self-medication with beer and porn, and a therapist named Neil Diamond.

Danny Evans is here to tell readers the truth about depression, in his own unique style. Skillfully combining self-deprecating humor, absurdly ridiculous insights, and astute pop culture references, Evans reveals his universal struggle to make himself feel happy in a world gone mad, and he's willing to let readers in on his rollercoaster ride of laugher, tears and a whole lot of meshugenah.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Danny Evans has written a moving, funny and relentlessly honest account of depression. His family must be kvelling."
-A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY and THE KNOW-IT-ALL

"Danny Evans wrote the book that needed to be written. In RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH, Evans goes where most male memoirs don't, recounting the one-two punch of unemployment and depression with hard-won self-awareness. Even in the darkest days of his life, Evans sense of humor shines through and his story, while heartbreaking in parts, is ultimately uplifting and hopeful. In short? RAGE is raw, wry, and riveting."
-Jen Lancaster, New York Times bestselling author of BITTER IS THE NEW BLACK and BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG ASS

"RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH is quite possibly a cure for depression all by itself. Danny Evans skillfully tackles the often-overlooked topic of male depression by sharing his own harrowing - but also hilarious - road towards treatment and recovery. A razor sharp, witty new voice with loads of heart."
-Josh Kilmer-Purcell, New York Times bestselling author of I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS and CANDY EVERYBODY WANTS

"Before reading this book, I thought depression was like other mental illnesses — it only touched a select few of us. Danny's story has shown me that depression is different. It's like an evil genie, lurking inside all of us, waiting to rise up and take over when we are least able to defend ourselves. Read this book, and I guarantee you that you'll see yourself in his story, because it could happen to any of us, especially in today's uncertain world. Highly recommended."
-John Elder Robison, New York Times bestselling author of LOOK ME IN THE EYE

"Danny Evans demonstrates unequivocally that funny people get depressed, and depressed people don't lose their sense of humor. His memoir is honest and unblinking in its portrayal of how depression colors a life, and yet it is as funny a book as you're likely to read. Wholly original, and a real pleasure to read."
-Robert Rummel-Hudson, author of SCHUYLER'S MONSTER

"RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH is a candid, gripping and hilariously detailed account of what happens when a once-stable family man temporarily loses his mind. A must-read for anyone who has struggled with depression, loved someone who has, or just plain loves a great story."
-Amy Sohn, author of RUN CATCH KISS and PROSPECT PARK WEST

"Way more palatable than Prozac, Danny's true tale of battling depression actually made me laugh out loud on every page. RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH was so gripping, brazenly honest, absolutely hilarious and ultimately hopeful that I ended up read it in one sitting. Who would have thought a book on depression could be downright fun to read?"
-Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of IT'S NOT ME, IT'S YOU and NAPTIME IS THE NEW HAPPY HOUR

"Danny Evans has managed to write a book about depression that is not depressing. Far from it, RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH is funny, naughty, heartbreaking and gives the reader a first class ticket on the crazy train. Better than a double dose of Prozac with a tequila chaser, this book is for everyone who has ever wondered what it's like to fall on your face, stay there awhile, and then learn to stand up again."
-Robert Wilder, author of DADDY NEEDS A DRINK and TALES FROM THE TEACHERS' LOUNGE

"Danny Evans is the rare breed of writer who can exhibit both a razor-sharp wit and a heart of gold, often in the same sentence. His ability to mix perfectly- worded hilarity with sincere emotion and then toss in a few fine-tuned neuroses makes me suspect that he is, indeed, the love child of Dave Barry and Woody Allen."
-Martha Kimes, author of IVY BRIEFS

"Brutally honest, profoundly insightful and absurdly hilarious, Danny Evans' memoir of depression is surprisingly not the slightest bit... depressing. Evans insightfully writes about his struggle with depression and it's side effects with a sort of David Sedarisesque self-deprecating hilarity. RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH will be a must-read for every man dealing with depression and it's side effects, an originally voiced memoir of self-recognition and family love, charming, cocky and painfully honest, a sort of self-help book on crack, for the modern man."
-Rebecca Woolf, author of ROCKABYE

"It takes balls to go nuts," says Danny Evans. Well, it takes balls to write like this too. With heart, hilarity, and unsparing candor, Danny Evans has managed to plumb the murky depths of modern depression, yet never loses sight of the light (and the jokes) at the end of the tunnel. A great read." -Rachel Shukert, author of HAVE YOU NO SHAME?

You don't have to be Jewish to appreciate the expressiveness of the Yiddish term meshuga, a term that covers extreme eccentricity and downright insanity. In the case of Danny Evans, the author of this feisty, full-bodied memoir, his meshuga-ness took the form of a post–September 11th depression that left him desperate for even temporary relief, much less a cure. To ease the mental pain, he self-medicated with pills, beer, and hardcore porn. Nevertheless, his pugnacious resilience somehow pulled him through, giving this book an upbeat tone that Dave Eggers might envy.
Publishers Weekly
Former Los Angeles ad exec Evans takes a humorous approach to a serious subject as he addresses the depression that descended on him over various periods of his life, leaving him dangerously immobilized. A recent bout of depression precipitated a more aggressive approach to his mental illness: a few days before 9/11, Evans was suddenly laid off from his fancy job at an ad agency and offered two weeks' severance; soon he became anxious about how to support his wife and children in their new house in suburban Southern California. Watching the news about the World Trade Center attack only compounded his sense of helplessness and grief, and he clearly recognized that he had “hit rock bottom.” His account—by turns grossly humorous, extremely self-critical and brutally honest—depicts months of indulging in porn, beer and denial before forcing himself to seek professional help and mend the precious relationships in his life such as with his wife and two young children. Therapy prompted him to ponder his own childhood growing up a good Jewish boy in Simi Valley, Calif., and the issues of anger and agency he wrestled with. Evans addresses feelings of fear and confusion that men are often not allowed to express, and readers may find his wisecracking memoir most useful. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
A nice Jewish boy reflects on his experiences with depression. Evans initially positions himself as a 30-something descendant of the Borscht Belt. "I knew precisely what my future held," he writes. "I would be a rabbi. I would be a learned Torah scholar who... would marry a Jewish woman (presumably one with a hairy mole on her face)." This approach provokes mild chuckles but little more. Growing up in the white-bread California suburb of Simi Valley, the author began wrestling with therapy during adolescence, due to "an epic battle of wills" with his overbearing parents. "My first therapist's name was Neil Diamond," he writes, "but he didn't wear sequins, didn't bring me flowers, and most certainly did not turn on my heartlight." Evans remained dismissive of the therapeutic process in his 20s, and focused on the accidental good fortune of a "hot blonde" wife and cushy job in advertising. In 2001, he was laid off abruptly, days before the 9/11 attacks. This juxtaposition of personal stress and national tragedy provoked the onset of more serious depression. By the standards of contemporary memoir, Evans's "bottom" is less than impressive. He obsessed over porn, drank a lot and tried multiple antidepressants that interfered with his sexual functions-all of which seem like fairly universal rites of passage for white-collar men today. Over time, his experiences as a father and with his long-suffering wife began to improve, while his return to therapy (with a practitioner superior to "Neil Diamond") allowed him to unpack his confused resentment over his upbringing, especially regarding the unique tribalism of American Jews. Unfortunately, the tone is overwhelmingly muddled and repetitive, andthe narrative is riddled with the standard blog-influenced tactics of digression and incessant pop-culture references-as well as unpleasant flashes of juvenile misogyny. Tedious and ultimately mediocre. In-store author appearances on West Coast. Agent: Karen Gerwin/The Creative Culture

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451227119
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/04/2009
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
915,325
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

John Elder Robison
"Before reading this book, I thought depression was like other mental illnesses -- it only touched a select few of us. Danny's story has shown me that depression is different. It's like an evil genie, lurking inside all of us, waiting to rise up and take over when we are least able to defend ourselves. Read this book, and I guarantee you that you'll see yourself in his story, because it could happen to any of us, especially in today's uncertain world. Highly recommended."--(John Elder Robison, New York Times bestselling author of LOOK ME IN THE EYE)
Jen Lancaster
"Danny Evans wrote the book that needed to be written. In RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH, Evans goes where most male memoirs don't, recounting the one-two punch of unemployment and depression with hard-won self-awareness. Even in the darkest days of his life, Evans sense of humor shines through and his story, while heartbreaking in parts, is ultimately uplifting and hopeful. In short? RAGE is raw, wry, and riveting."--(Jen Lancaster, New York Times bestselling author of BITTER IS THE NEW BLACK and BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG ASS)
A.J. Jacobs
"Danny Evans has written a moving, funny and relentlessly honest account of depression. His family must be kvelling."--( A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY and THE KNOW-IT-ALL)
Josh Kilmer-Purcell
"RAGE AGAINST THE MESHUGENAH is quite possibly a cure for depression all by itself. Danny Evans skillfully tackles the often-overlooked topic of male depression by sharing his own harrowing - but also hilarious - road towards treatment and recovery. A razor sharp, witty new voice with loads of heart."--(Josh Kilmer-Purcell, New York Times bestselling author of I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS and CANDY EVERYBODY WANTS)
Robert Rummel-Hudson
"Danny Evans demonstrates unequivocally that funny people get depressed, and depressed people don't lose their sense of humor. His memoir is honest and unblinking in its portrayal of how depression colors a life, and yet it is as funny a book as you're likely to read. Wholly original, and a real pleasure to read."--(Robert Rummel-Hudson, author of SCHUYLER'S MONSTER)

Meet the Author

Danny Evans is the founder of the popular blog DadGoneMad.com, which has won national recognition and has led to speaking engagements on Sirius Satellite Radio, among others. Danny has also been a contributing writer for Babble.com, Disney’s Family.com, and his work has appeared in Good Housekeeping, Details, Men’s Health, and elsewhere. He lives in Orange County, CA, with his wife Sharon and their two children. Rage Against the Meshugenah is his first book.

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