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Born to Be Public

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In this unique and hilarious debut memoir, writer and comedian Greg Mania chronicles life as a "pariah prodigy." From inadvertently coming out to his Polish immigrant parents, to immersing himself in the world of New York City nightlife, and finding himself and his voice in comedy. "Born to Be Public" is a vulnerable and poignant exploration of identity (and the rediscover In this unique and hilarious debut memoir, writer and comedian Greg Mania chronicles life as a "pariah prodigy." From inadvertently coming out to his Polish immigrant parents, to immersing himself in the world of New York City nightlife, and finding himself and his voice in comedy. "Born to Be Public" is a vulnerable and poignant exploration of identity (and the rediscovery of it), mental health, sex and relationships, all while pursuing a passion with victories and tragicomic blunders. At once raw and relatable, Mania's one-of-a-kind voice will make you shed tears from laughter and find its way into your heart.


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In this unique and hilarious debut memoir, writer and comedian Greg Mania chronicles life as a "pariah prodigy." From inadvertently coming out to his Polish immigrant parents, to immersing himself in the world of New York City nightlife, and finding himself and his voice in comedy. "Born to Be Public" is a vulnerable and poignant exploration of identity (and the rediscover In this unique and hilarious debut memoir, writer and comedian Greg Mania chronicles life as a "pariah prodigy." From inadvertently coming out to his Polish immigrant parents, to immersing himself in the world of New York City nightlife, and finding himself and his voice in comedy. "Born to Be Public" is a vulnerable and poignant exploration of identity (and the rediscovery of it), mental health, sex and relationships, all while pursuing a passion with victories and tragicomic blunders. At once raw and relatable, Mania's one-of-a-kind voice will make you shed tears from laughter and find its way into your heart.

30 review for Born to Be Public

  1. 5 out of 5

    Greg Mania

    Five stars, because of course.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katherine D. Morgan

    Very charming and very funny. I actually laughed out loud multiple times and I don’t normally do that because I’m tired and bitter. Mania made me want to move to NYC, which I’m shocked about (we have all seen the “Why I’m moving away from NYC” essays). It’s short, sweet, and to the point. I would DEFINITELY recommend it if you like Samantha Irby.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    A punk recollection of a time spent in nightlife, school, and comedy, Greg Mania's [Mahn-ya or Mania] "Born to Be Public" is reflection on the last decade of greatness in New York City. A son of polish immigrants born outside Trenton, NJ, Mania embraced his unique take on the world from a young age and burst onto the New York scene playing the role of hair stencil artist, Bjork-esque go-go boy, and studious student. "Born to Be Public" tells the story of a New York on the brink of change, a New Y A punk recollection of a time spent in nightlife, school, and comedy, Greg Mania's [Mahn-ya or Mania] "Born to Be Public" is reflection on the last decade of greatness in New York City. A son of polish immigrants born outside Trenton, NJ, Mania embraced his unique take on the world from a young age and burst onto the New York scene playing the role of hair stencil artist, Bjork-esque go-go boy, and studious student. "Born to Be Public" tells the story of a New York on the brink of change, a New York I was familiar with myself, that was slowly sacrificing the last few dives at the mercy of encroaching IHOPs (there is definitely more than one in Manhattan these days.) "Born to Be Public" is a quick, zany take on a life that is equal parts grounded in self-assuredness and still trying to find out who you are. Grab a copy and give it a read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Lawson

    Funny and vulnerable all at once.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Anderson

    I read this book over the course of one day...it was un-put-downable. Full of heart, vulnerability, raunch and New York City references that make you feel like you’re sweating in Penn station and somehow loving it, Born to Be Public is hilarious and captivating. Greg Mania lives up to the title as someone whose name we’re going to be hearing for a long time.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katie Smith-Siegel

    Greg Mania is, in many ways, a paradox. An effortlessly gifted student by day and a club kid by night; a connoisseur of highbrow art and culture who is also fluent in reality TV and Applebees menus; a towering, intimidating physical presence (even without the 11-inch mohawk) who makes you feel anything but small while talking to him. Above all else, he's always wearing his heart on his sleeve...even if he's only wearing a sleeveless fishnet crop top. Greg has managed to neatly package these beau Greg Mania is, in many ways, a paradox. An effortlessly gifted student by day and a club kid by night; a connoisseur of highbrow art and culture who is also fluent in reality TV and Applebees menus; a towering, intimidating physical presence (even without the 11-inch mohawk) who makes you feel anything but small while talking to him. Above all else, he's always wearing his heart on his sleeve...even if he's only wearing a sleeveless fishnet crop top. Greg has managed to neatly package these beautiful contradictions in his hilarious and honest debut memoir, "Born to be Public." It's equal parks raw, revealing, vulnerable, heartwarming, inspiring, and one-of-a-kind, just like Greg himself. The experience of reading Greg's work during this dumpster fire of a year is like how I imagine the "Great British Baking Show" judges feel when one baker finally nails the technical challenge after the other ten produce health code violation-caliber bakes: it's a sweet relief. Greg, thank you for sharing the first 20-something years of your life with us in this book! I can't wait to see and read what comes next.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pete Medrano

    It should go without saying that 2020 has been a literal landfill, however, if you're looking to lift your spirits and LOL IRL then look no further than Greg Mania's stunning and heartfelt debut memoir, Born to Be Public. It is rare to find an author who is able to have their written text come alive as if they were in the room with you— But in Greg Mania's case, HE'S RIGHT IN YOUR FACE AND HE SHOWS NO SIGNS OF HOLDING BACK! Do yourself the favor and purchase my favorite book and join the beloved It should go without saying that 2020 has been a literal landfill, however, if you're looking to lift your spirits and LOL IRL then look no further than Greg Mania's stunning and heartfelt debut memoir, Born to Be Public. It is rare to find an author who is able to have their written text come alive as if they were in the room with you— But in Greg Mania's case, HE'S RIGHT IN YOUR FACE AND HE SHOWS NO SIGNS OF HOLDING BACK! Do yourself the favor and purchase my favorite book and join the beloved army of Maniacs.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Hunter

    I had so much fun reading this, and the chapter on Roy spoke to me deeply. There are tons of moments like that: insights so real, so moving, that laughing through tears became the norm.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Juno

    This is literally the funniest book I've ever read. This is literally the funniest book I've ever read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I started reading this book and couldn’t put it down, although, I had to because I want to milk every page as long as I could. I laughed out loud, and got choked up multiple times (in a good way!) I related to this book on some levels, it made me reminiscent of my time spent in NYC nightlife, and the ackward dating experiences I’ve had. So thank you Greg for writing this book. For being vulnerable, and showing humor in those ackward situations we all experienced at least once in our life. Please I started reading this book and couldn’t put it down, although, I had to because I want to milk every page as long as I could. I laughed out loud, and got choked up multiple times (in a good way!) I related to this book on some levels, it made me reminiscent of my time spent in NYC nightlife, and the ackward dating experiences I’ve had. So thank you Greg for writing this book. For being vulnerable, and showing humor in those ackward situations we all experienced at least once in our life. Please BUY this book, it will bring you more joy than a bouquet of mozzarella sticks...well I don’t know about that actually but you get the point.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Whitener

    Jon Stewart—watch out! You won’t be the only comedy star hanging in Lawrence High School’s Alumni Hall of Fame for much longer. In this debut book, Greg Mania has developed his authentic writing voice and it is funnier than his hair is tall. But it is also full of so much heart. I loved getting to start my year reading this memoir, and I can’t wait to see what else Mania has up his yellow-leather-sleeve!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Vignola

    This is a book that everyone should read. It's honest, hilarious and heartwarming. There's not many books I read multiple times, but this one has already been read twice. The author takes you on his journey of growing up, coming out, learning to live with anxiety and all the other rights of passage we all battle with while finding out who we truly are. This is a book that everyone should read. It's honest, hilarious and heartwarming. There's not many books I read multiple times, but this one has already been read twice. The author takes you on his journey of growing up, coming out, learning to live with anxiety and all the other rights of passage we all battle with while finding out who we truly are.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hunter

    Born To Be Public is a super funny coming-of-age memoir, but also a ‘cementing of stardom’ memoir, if there is such a thing. The best way I can describe this book is that it feels like when your really funny, slightly depressed and low key smartest friend recounts the events of their life while y’all share a bottle of wine, and at the end you realize that this friend is pretty much Bette Midler. Greg Mania is so funny, especially when getting real about experiences that can be tricky to talk abo Born To Be Public is a super funny coming-of-age memoir, but also a ‘cementing of stardom’ memoir, if there is such a thing. The best way I can describe this book is that it feels like when your really funny, slightly depressed and low key smartest friend recounts the events of their life while y’all share a bottle of wine, and at the end you realize that this friend is pretty much Bette Midler. Greg Mania is so funny, especially when getting real about experiences that can be tricky to talk about. There’s a lot of talk about mental health in here, and as someone who constantly jokes about my tears to an uncomfortable, wincing crowd, I was all here for it. Mania and I have lived very different lives in a lot of ways, but seeing the places where we diverged was my favorite. It’s altogether a really enjoyable book, and I’m sure you’ll finish it in one sitting.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Cornwall

    This is the book to grab when it's been a rough week, and you need total immersion in funny, authentic gay humor. Greg's descriptions are hysterical making you feel like a live action voyeur. I bought six copies for friends who need to laugh and ones that need an honest attitude adjustment for their overly judgy pompous brains. I'm still waiting to see how my religious zealots take to the book. I sent them to Mr. Mania and he signed and forwarded them. This is one time I would love to be there f This is the book to grab when it's been a rough week, and you need total immersion in funny, authentic gay humor. Greg's descriptions are hysterical making you feel like a live action voyeur. I bought six copies for friends who need to laugh and ones that need an honest attitude adjustment for their overly judgy pompous brains. I'm still waiting to see how my religious zealots take to the book. I sent them to Mr. Mania and he signed and forwarded them. This is one time I would love to be there for the book reveal ... a fly on the wall if you will, with a video camera. Eventually, I will ask to see the book when I visit the zealots. Maybe, I can get Mr. Mania to show up with cameras. Comedy gold could be in the making!!!! Good read. Fabulous fun! This could be my own son's story. Buy it, read it, you will love it!!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Adam

    This guy is like David Sedaris meets Samantha Irby: extremely funny, poignant, and heartfelt, the latter of which I was pleasantly surprised by. I was not expecting this level of vulnerability; he is open about his struggles with mental health, toxic relationships, and sexual blunders, all while being extremely relatable and hilarious. I'm a middle-aged straight guy, and I picked this up because a friend recommended it. Just judging by the dude on the cover, I thought we couldn't be any differen This guy is like David Sedaris meets Samantha Irby: extremely funny, poignant, and heartfelt, the latter of which I was pleasantly surprised by. I was not expecting this level of vulnerability; he is open about his struggles with mental health, toxic relationships, and sexual blunders, all while being extremely relatable and hilarious. I'm a middle-aged straight guy, and I picked this up because a friend recommended it. Just judging by the dude on the cover, I thought we couldn't be any different. Turns out, we're more alike than I thought. I'm thankful I came across this book. It truly is for everyone, even if you're just looking for a laugh.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Charlene Elsby

    Greg Mania explains, in this book, how he came to be able to express himself in the correct rhythm and with the exact number of syllables required to elicit laughter from his audience, and dagnabbit it works! He’s hilarious, no matter what he’s talking about. There’s also an element of “getting some insight into the behind the scenes of the cool kid group” throughout this book, but Greg’s prom picture is enough to convince me that one day I could be cool too.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Crissy

    I laughed my way through this hilarious and poignantly honest memoir. How often can you say a book makes you laugh out loud? If you’re a fan of Greg Mania’s internet presence (how could you not be?), this book is a delightful door into a long form tweet. It has the same sharp humor we all love interspersed with thoughtful anecdotes and glimpses into Greg’s self-discovery. I loved every chapter and can’t wait to see his career in comedy take off!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Idelle Nissila

    This book lives up to its hype. I knew it was going to be funny because I've been following the author on Twitter for some time (if you haven't yet followed him, you should), but I wasn't expecting such heart and sensitivity to shine through. It's tucked neatly into the book, preserving the author's brazen humor, yielding the perfect harmony between heart and humor. It's also a quick read, which are my favorites. This book lives up to its hype. I knew it was going to be funny because I've been following the author on Twitter for some time (if you haven't yet followed him, you should), but I wasn't expecting such heart and sensitivity to shine through. It's tucked neatly into the book, preserving the author's brazen humor, yielding the perfect harmony between heart and humor. It's also a quick read, which are my favorites.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brynn

    "But that's the thing: identity is never neat. It's messy, ever-changing, grainy, unpredictable, frenetic, all over the place, and we'll never be able to reconcile ourselves because we're not supposed to. Every time we think we have ourselves figured out, we go and change again." (29) "From the first night, Magic Monday had this familiar sense of family, like these were people I've known my whole life and that night was just a missing piece of the puzzle I was trying to find in the scheme of tryi "But that's the thing: identity is never neat. It's messy, ever-changing, grainy, unpredictable, frenetic, all over the place, and we'll never be able to reconcile ourselves because we're not supposed to. Every time we think we have ourselves figured out, we go and change again." (29) "From the first night, Magic Monday had this familiar sense of family, like these were people I've known my whole life and that night was just a missing piece of the puzzle I was trying to find in the scheme of trying to find where I belong." (75) "Two best friends WHO SHALL REMAIN UNNAMED went door to door in one of the friend's apartment building asking each tenant if they had any Xanax like they were neighbors asking to borrow a cup of sugar." (136) "I wish I had responded with something deep and pensive, some hoopla about how the past is the past, and what matters is the future, BLAH SMEH UGH. Some musing about how, as a writer, my memories are malleable and never far off—all it takes is the right combination of words, peppered with a sometimes painstakingly thought out verb to conjure whatever image I want in your head. Perhaps I could have deployed an elaborate metaphor, calling upon my theater days, when saying "scene" indicates the beginning or end of a scene: it's the start and the stop, going from one end to another and back again, and arriving at the point that growth is more cyclical than linear. But I'M NOT THAT SMART. It took me no fewer than forty-five minutes to come up with that metaphor just now, as I finish writing this book. This book where I metabolize my past, present, and future, sometimes all at once, turning the memories I have made into stories I will continue to tell, promising him that the person he wishes he had known would be introduced to him—to everyone—on page one, and that all you have to do to meet him is go back to the beginning. But being a writer means never having the right words the first time." (179)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Denning

    I love Mania’s writing and humor style! it was well written with so much honesty and nostalgia and the last chapter basically had me crying because even though my twenty something story is different than his, I think the story of connecting with the people who helped us grow into adults and seeing each other be successful even when we grow apart is so beautiful and universal. Thank you for sharing your story!! Really impressive especially for a first book. Can’t wait to see Mania’s career contin I love Mania’s writing and humor style! it was well written with so much honesty and nostalgia and the last chapter basically had me crying because even though my twenty something story is different than his, I think the story of connecting with the people who helped us grow into adults and seeing each other be successful even when we grow apart is so beautiful and universal. Thank you for sharing your story!! Really impressive especially for a first book. Can’t wait to see Mania’s career continue to grow and blossom in absurdity and authenticity true to his brand!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Destinee Sutton

    I usually like comedian memoirs, but I could not get into this. Maybe because I hadn't ever heard of Greg Mania? I think I picked this up because it was on an NPR best of 2020 list. But the voice sounded kind of generic to me, like so many social media accounts making the same kind of jokes over and over. Maybe I'm not giving Mania credit for creating this voice that has now been copied to death? Maybe I'm just not the audience for this. Mania jokes that his book is a 200,000-character tweet and I usually like comedian memoirs, but I could not get into this. Maybe because I hadn't ever heard of Greg Mania? I think I picked this up because it was on an NPR best of 2020 list. But the voice sounded kind of generic to me, like so many social media accounts making the same kind of jokes over and over. Maybe I'm not giving Mania credit for creating this voice that has now been copied to death? Maybe I'm just not the audience for this. Mania jokes that his book is a 200,000-character tweet and that about sums it up for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joan Kleinmann

    I loved this short and poignant memoir. As someone who works in mental health, I appreciated the author discussing his struggles with his depression, anxiety, and OCD. I also appreciated his insight on therapy and toxic relationships. Parts of it definitely had me laughing out loud. I didn't too much relate to the references of NYC culture but those who live there Im sure who appreciate those references. Easy read, flew through it in less than 24 hours. I loved this short and poignant memoir. As someone who works in mental health, I appreciated the author discussing his struggles with his depression, anxiety, and OCD. I also appreciated his insight on therapy and toxic relationships. Parts of it definitely had me laughing out loud. I didn't too much relate to the references of NYC culture but those who live there Im sure who appreciate those references. Easy read, flew through it in less than 24 hours.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Debutiful

    Someone cast 50-something Sarah Jessica Parker as 20-something Greg Mania in the HBO adaptation Gay and the City ASAP. This book had me rolling on the floor. Greg Mania is one of the funniest people writing. Full stop. His interviews have a bite that makes you want to reread them. His tweets will have you clutching your chest. His memoir will have you rolling on the floor. His memoir is big, gay, and hilarious.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Naviya Singla

    -i hate comedy and biography so, i wasnt expecting to like it and i was right - just blah, i read it for a bookclub - hate to be humorless but the book reads like one giant clout tweet // it's not witty or observational it's just formulaic in the way it tries to be funny // predictable - there are no other people in the book, he talks alot abt himself and it's not even introspective -i hate comedy and biography so, i wasnt expecting to like it and i was right - just blah, i read it for a bookclub - hate to be humorless but the book reads like one giant clout tweet // it's not witty or observational it's just formulaic in the way it tries to be funny // predictable - there are no other people in the book, he talks alot abt himself and it's not even introspective

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beth Brewer

    I read this book in a day. I don't really laugh out loud, even at funny books, but this one had me cracking me up almost every other sentence. You don't need to be queer or live in NYC to enjoy this book, which is what makes "Born to be Public" so special–there's something for everyone. I know this will be a book I revisit in the future, especially anytime I need a pick-me-up. I read this book in a day. I don't really laugh out loud, even at funny books, but this one had me cracking me up almost every other sentence. You don't need to be queer or live in NYC to enjoy this book, which is what makes "Born to be Public" so special–there's something for everyone. I know this will be a book I revisit in the future, especially anytime I need a pick-me-up.

  26. 5 out of 5

    FabulousRaye

    This is one of Auntie's top 10 of 2020. It's fabulous, wonderful, hilarious and quotable. It's probably my most highlighted kindle book, EVER. You need to buy this. Also, Greg Mania needs to be more well known. This is one of Auntie's top 10 of 2020. It's fabulous, wonderful, hilarious and quotable. It's probably my most highlighted kindle book, EVER. You need to buy this. Also, Greg Mania needs to be more well known.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alice Ziemlinski

    This is one of the funniest books I've ever read. I read a lot of amusing books, but this one had me laughing out loud. He knows when to put a brake on the humor and hit you with something powerful and insightful. I am looking forward to following this young author's career. This is one of the funniest books I've ever read. I read a lot of amusing books, but this one had me laughing out loud. He knows when to put a brake on the humor and hit you with something powerful and insightful. I am looking forward to following this young author's career.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lori Zimmer

    Hilarious, thoughtful and honest. Mania lets you into his intimate world of New York nightlife and self discovery. Couldn't put it down. Hilarious, thoughtful and honest. Mania lets you into his intimate world of New York nightlife and self discovery. Couldn't put it down.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bree Roberts

    LOVED THIS! Clever, witty and charming memoir by an equally charming writer! This is for anyone who ever partied in NYC, or felt like an outsider, or both. Can't wait to read his next book. LOVED THIS! Clever, witty and charming memoir by an equally charming writer! This is for anyone who ever partied in NYC, or felt like an outsider, or both. Can't wait to read his next book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Manon McLull

    This book had me laughing out loud, which I don't usually do—not even with funny books! It's clear that Mania is poised to have a prolific career. What a debut! This book had me laughing out loud, which I don't usually do—not even with funny books! It's clear that Mania is poised to have a prolific career. What a debut!

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