Asylum: Hollywood Tales from My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery, and Being My Mother's Son

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Asylum: Hollywood Tales from My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery, and Being My Mother's Son

Format:  Hardcover,

260 pages

Publisher: Perseus Books Group

Publish Date: Apr 2012

ISBN-13: 9781602861350

ISBN-10: 1602861358

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The following content was provided by the publisher.
In this deeply moving and resourceful memoir, beloved actor-director and "New York Times" bestselling author Joe Pantoliano takes aim at the stigma attached to what he calls "brain dis-ease" by writing candidly and humorously about his own journey through clinical depression and addiction. Most people know Joe Pantoliano from his memorable roles in such blockbuster movies as "The Matrix," "Risky Business," "The Fugitive," and "Memento," or from his Emmy-winning performance on "The Sopranos." But despite all this success, the actor, known as "Joey Pants," struggled with what he later found out was clinical depression--or brain dis-ease, as he calls it. Asylum is the story of Joe's quest for the Hollywood success he was sure would cure him, and the painful downhill spiral into depression and addiction that followed his success. Weaving deeply personal experience together with informative discourse, this memoir creates an unflinchingly honest portrayal of the true nature of the disease, as well as Joe's own eventual diagnosis, recovery, and ongoing efforts to educate others and remove the stigma from mental illness.


Publisher: Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: Apr 2012
ISBN-13: 9781602861350
ISBN-10: 1602861358
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 260
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.05
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.0

Chapter outline

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: No Kidding, Me Too!p. xiii
Abandon All Hope for a Better Pastp. 1
Lying for a Livingp. 14
An Egomaniac with an Inferiority Complexp. 48
Let the ShameBegin!p. 76
The Hunchback of Hobokenp. 108
If it Ain't One Thing, It's Your Mother!p. 123
The Monkey Was Off My Bach, But the Circus Was Still in Townp. 151
These Are the Good Old Days!p. 166
Stuck on Stupidp. 183
The Great Depressionp. 210
Twelve Steps out of the Mile Squarep. 226
Epilogue: An Open Letter to the Late, Great Frank Caprap. 242
Book Acknowledgmentsp. 247
Indexp. 252


Review by Library Journal (2012-04-01)

Pantoliano, known for his roles in The Sopranos and The Matrix among other shows and films, follows his first book, Who's Sorry Now: The True Story of a Stand-Up Guy, with this memoir of mental illness and mean mothers in the vein of Augusten Burroughs's Running with Scissors and Darrell Hammond's God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*caked. His primary focus is not Hollywood but his and his mother's clinical depression, which he calls "brain dis-ease", or BD. Pantoliano writes about the road to becoming an actor, his failed relationships, and how he self-medicated with alcohol until he found the help he needed.

Verdict: The "bada-bing" staccato tone of the book recalls the smart-aleck characters Pantoliono has played; however, his consistent inclusion of his insights about mental illness in the story of his quest for theatrical success is distracting, and the raw emotion makes this a difficult read. This is a noble effort to end discrimination against those with mental illness, but it feels more like a lecture than a Hollywood memoir.

-Rosellen Brewer, Sno-Isle Libs., Marysville, WA

(c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

Most people know Joe Pantoliano from his memorable roles in The Sopranos, The Goonies, The Matrix, The Fugitive, and Risky Business, but the Emmy-winning artist has another important role—as an outspoken advocate for smashing the stigma of mental illness, or mental “dis-ease” as he prefers to call it. As a kid in Hoboken, New Jersey, he was just “Joey Pants,” the son of a fiercely controlling, schizophrenic mother. As he grew up, Joey always knew he was different. “It was as if I was born with a huge hole inside of me,” he writes. Much later in life he would be diagnosed with clinical depression, and now he has a message for the millions of people who suffer from mental illness, and for the friends and family who care for them: you are not alone.

Asylum is the story of Joe’s Hollywood success, his undiagnosed mental illness, and substance abuse, and how all three led to his awareness, diagnosis, recovery, and public activism. Picking up where his first memoir, Who’s Sorry Now, left off, this unflinching memoir will resonate with victims of mental illness and others who have witnessed its devastating effects and will give all his readers understanding and hope for the future.

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