Mania, Greg. “Born to Be Public”, Clash Books, 2020.
Life as a “Pariah Prodigy”
There have been many coming-out memoirs over the years so in order to have something new and different, it is not easy. Greg Mania succeeds wonderfully with “Born to Be Public”. He brings us a unique and vert funny look at his life as what he calls a “pariah prodigy”. He came out to his Polish immigrant parents without meaning to do so and then jumped into the New York nightlife scene where we was able to find a place in the world of comedy and his own identity. We read how he did this as he explored himself through sex, mental health and various relationships. This was not easy as his life was filled with both mistakes as well as successes. He holds nothing back and he is raw as he is relevant and relatable.
Mania is a fine writer and I was soon turning pages as quickly as possible. He was born near Trenton, New Jersey and from an early age he knew that he was special and different. When he entered the New York scene, he did so with is special ideas about the world and at first, he was a hair stencil artist, then a go-go boy and a studious student. New York then was changing and he discovered that there was more than just one Manhattan.
Yet he was self-assured and confident as he tried to find himself (he claims to be still trying to do so). He exudes charm on every page and is very, very funny. Mania shares how he was able to reach self-expression and how to make people laugh. It seems that he can make people laugh about anything and he certainly had me laughing as I read. I was reminded how when in high school, we often try to break into the “A” group and when we finally do, we discover that there is an “A+” group.
“Born to Be Pubic” is a poignant memoir on self-reflection that is filled with ideas that we all can use.