Oseland, James. “Jimmy Neurosis: A Memoir”, Ecco, 2019.
Gay During the 1970s Punk Revolution in America
I must begin this review by telling you that before I got this book, I had never heard of James Oseland or Jimmy Neurosis. That could very well be due to the fact that I was out of the country during the punk revolution of the 70s or because I was from the south and these stories just never got to us. Be that as it may, I know now who he is because of his beautifully written memoir.
Today, James Oseland is the editor-in-chief of World Food, a book series that is coming from Penguin Random House in 2019. He was the editor-in-chief of “Saveur”, the critically acclaimed food magazine. Oseland has been a judge on “Celebrity Apprentice”, on five seasons of “Top Chef Masters” and on “Chef America”. He lives in New York City. But before
James Oseland was a judge on “Top Chef Masters”, he was a teen rebel who grew up in the California, suburbs. He really wanted to do something wild and became very active in the punk movement of 70s America. He took the name Jimmy Neurosis and became part of the vibrant underground world that included visionary musicians and artists. He left California and headed to Manhattan where he learned about friendship and testing the limits. He was part of the fun and the dangers of the time.
He shares his life that was filled with music, art, drugs, and sexual adventure and he discovers a creativity that saved his life. I am so glad that we are reclaiming gay history and there are several who are now writing their memoirs so that we can know how LGBT life really was once and before AIDS. Oseland gives us a coming of age story that was unique to America at the time and I find it wonderful to read the words of someone who was once considered a misfit and then went on to become an important part of our community. This is a book about a time and a place that we will never have again. It is also the author’s personal story
of discovering his own creativity saved his life, he tells a thrilling and uniquely American coming-of-age story. By sharing his memories, we become part of his life and his world. I was so mesmerized by what he has to say here that I read his book in one sitting and then immediately began to read it a second time.