From a celebrated figure of the food world comes a poignant, provocative memoir about being young and gay during the 1970s punk revolution in America
Long before James Oseland was a judge on Top Chef Masters, he was a teenage rebel growing up in the pre–Silicon Valley, California, suburbs, yearning for a taste of something wild. Diving headfirst into the churning mayhem of the punk movement, he renamed himself Jimmy Neurosis and embarked on a journey into a vibrant underground world populated by visionary musicians and artists.
In a quest that led him from the mosh pits of San Francisco to the pop world of Andy Warhol’s Manhattan, he learned firsthand about friendship of all stripes, and what comes of testing the limits—both the joyous glories and the unanticipated, dangerous consequences.
With humor and verve, Oseland brings to life the effervescent cocktail of music, art, drugs, and sexual adventure that characterized the end of the seventies. Through his account of how discovering his own creativity saved his life, he tells a thrilling and uniquely American coming-of-age story.
About the Author
James Oseland is the editor-in-chief of World Food, a book series launching from Penguin Random House in 2019. Prior to that, he was the editor-in-chief of Saveur, America’s most critically acclaimed food magazine. He has won multiple National Magazine and James Beard Foundation awards and has been a judge on Celebrity Apprentice, Iron Chef America, and all five seasons of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. He is also the author of Cradle of Flavor, which was named one of the best books of 2006 by the New York Times and Good Morning America. He lives in New York City.
“Oseland writes this vibrant coming-of-age memoir in an instantly lovable voice, part surly teenager and part sweetly naive dreamer. . . . At times, Jimmy Neurosis echoes Patti Smith’s Just Kids . . . but Oseland tells this story with a poignant style all his own.” — Rolling Stone
“Affecting . . . Here we see the power of the punk scene before it grows corrupted, and even of those brief flashes of intimacy, physical or otherwise, which Oseland shares with his anonymous partners, a strategy to expose and, in some way, to mitigate his vulnerability and loneliness.” — Los Angeles Times
“A page-turner about a timid adolescent who hurls himself out of 1970s suburban California into New York and San Francisco’s electric gay scenes. This gripping and inspired tale of the artist as a young man vividly shows that it does in fact get better.” — Andre Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name
“I rooted for Jimmy Neurosis on every page of this brave, engrossing, deeply touching memoir.” — Francine Prose, author of What to Read and Why
“In this triumphant book, James Oseland not only reminds you how hard it is to be teetering on the edge of adulthood, but also what it takes to move forward. For the first time in my life I finally understand the appeal of Punk Rock.” — Ruth Reichl, author of Tender at the Bone
“Nonstop entertainment with an irreverent voice and a beautiful lens over a golden age now gone.” — Out Magazine, “9 Queer Books to Read This Month”