Rob Sedgwick’s “Bob Goes to Jail” is a memoir about what happens when a privileged young man becomes involved in a drug ring, is busted in a raid, and then spends a year under DEA surveillance, with a contract on his head. Oh, and by the way, he was also an aspiring actor who got a job playing a drug dealer on a soap opera around the same time.
Sedgwick, now 60, started working on the book years ago. “I thought it would make a great story. It started off as a one-man show idea,” he said. But after sending some pages to a screenwriter friend and asking for feedback, he got bad news. “‘I hate to tell you this,’ my friend said. ‘It’s not really a one-man show, it’s a book.’”
Sedgwick demurred, arguing that he didn’t know how to write a book, but his friend recommended sitting down to write every day, and treating it like a job. “I finished it in about six months,” Sedgwick said. “And then I got a big agent very quickly. But then, long story short, it took 13 years to publish.”
The book chronicles not only his adventures with the law but also his New York childhood, one in which he enjoyed financial stability but also early access to drugs and alcohol. For Sedgwick, who is 25 years sober, part of the story boiled down to “how someone like me ended up like this.”
Writing about his personal travails didn’t please everyone. “A lot of people were angry. I had to take some people out of the book,” Sedgwick said. “But if anybody is taken to task in the book, it’s really me. I’m not pointing fingers, I’m not blaming.”
Rob Sedgwick will be in conversation with Abby Ellin at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a virtual event hosted by Belmont Books.
Kate Tuttle, a freelance writer and critic, can be reached at email@example.com.