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

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...

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

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451227119
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/4/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    inspiring

    Danny Evans really puts himself out there in this memoir. It is about coping with life after he lost his job and became a new father during the same time period of september 11th 2001. He became clinically depressed and his book accents his highs and lows of his life. It is told with a great sense of humor, even when he is writing about the saddest times that he felt. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to look into the life of depression, or to anyone who would like to see a different aspect of life through someone else's eyes. I found the book to be enlightening, honest, and extremely funny. A good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    BUY THIS BOOK!

    Rage Against the Meshugenah is raw and brutally honest. It is the book equivalent of standing in gym class naked. And yet, Danny manages to effectively use humor to talk about his depression without depressing you. I laughed out loud many times while reading it.

    As someone who has suffered from bouts of depression for years, I really related to what Danny had to say. It's funny, some people think that admitting that you suffer from depression makes you weak, especially if you are a man. I think it is just the opposite. I think Danny is brave. Because he was willing to talk about what he went through, I think he will help countless people. People who will see that they are not alone. People who who will see that it is possible to be happy again.

    If you, or someone you care about has ever suffered from depression you should buy this book. If you haven't suffered from depression, you will still appreciate Rage Against the Meshugenah.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A must read

    This is one of the most entertaining books, honest and witty. You will find yourself laughing non stop and find yourself having similarites to the author. Thank you Danny Evans!!

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    A Candid look at Depression

    I bought this book because I love the word, Meshugenah. I enjoyed reading it because I thought Danny Evans did a super job of letting us get inside his head and experience how he felt from the onset of his illness to the progression of getting help for it. You sort of felt like a window in his head was opened to the reader and you knew how he felt. He didn't just tell you, you were there with him.

    Well done.

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