Do Something: Coming of Age Amid the Glitter and Doom of '70s New York (Hardcover)

Do Something: Coming of Age Amid the Glitter and Doom of '70s New York By Guy Trebay Cover Image
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An evocative coming-of-age memoir—the story of the education of a wayward wild child and acidhead who, searching for meaning and purpose, found refuge in the demimonde of the ruined but magical metropolis that was New York City in the 1970s.

“In his beautiful memoir, Do Something, Guy Trebay paints a picture of a vanished, pre-AIDS Gotham that’s both gritty and dazzling.” —The New York Times Book Review

Born in the Bronx, Guy Trebay was raised in an atmosphere of privilege on Long Island’s North Shore after his entrepreneurial father struck business gold with Hawaiian Surf, a wildly successful cologne company that capitalized on the optimism of the 1960s as marketed to “an adventurous new breed of men.’’ But behind the facade of material prosperity lay the emotional disarray of a household dominated by a charismatic, con artist father, a glamorous yet lost and careless mother, a family haunted by tragedy. By the time Trebay established a foothold at the fringes of Andy Warhol’s Factory and the diverse artistic tribes that thrived in Manhattan in that pre-digital era, his father had lost his fortune, his younger sister had been arrested for armed robbery and fled underground, the family house was in ashes, and his mother was dead.

Unschooled and on his own, Trebay became a striver, wending his way through a seemingly apocalyptic landscape populated by a vibrant cast of characters, including washed-up Hollywood screenwriters of the ’30s; Warhol superstars like Jackie Curtis and Candy Darling; fashion geniuses like Charles James; and emerging artists, filmmakers, writers, designers, photographers, and deejays who would powerfully influence mainstream culture in the decades to come.

About the Author

GUY TREBAY has chronicled culture, high and low, since the 1970s, writing for The New Yorker, The Village Voice, Interview, Esquire, Artforum, and many other publications. For the past two decades, he has been a style reporter and critic for The New York Times. Among his professional recognitions, Trebay has twice been the recipient of the Meyer "Mike" Berger Award from Columbia University. His work is widely anthologized, and he is the author of In the Place to Be: Guy Trebay’s New York. He lives in New York.

Praise For…

“In his beautiful memoir, Do Something, Guy Trebay paints a picture of a vanished, pre-AIDS Gotham that’s both gritty and dazzling.”
The New York Times Book Review

Do Something is so beautiful and so personal that one feels like an intimate friend after reading Trebay's tale of New York in the 1970’s. I loved it all. It's the mark of something powerful when a voice lingers in one’s head after one reads a book, and Trebay's voice rings incredibly clear.”
—Tom Ford, fashion designer and filmmaker

“In tracing what led to his amazing career at The New York Times, Guy Trebay captures a 1970’s Manhattan that we’ve almost lost, but cannot forget. He does this in brilliant and exquisite prose that is at once lyrical, lavish, and yet thoroughly unlacquered. A work that reminds one of raw times in a city that is forever reinventing itself, and with it, those we’ve once been and are not unhappy to become.” 
—André Aciman, New York Times best-selling author of Find Me and Call Me By Your Name

“Guy Trebay's Do Something is prodigal in its riches. It is so action-packed it could be three or four memoirs, with a cinematic cavalcade of contrasting scenes and landscapes. It mixes heartbreak and exhilaration and melancholy and laughs, youthful hijinks and later-life rueful wisdom, in vividly bright, tightly economical prose. You will read it so fast you may want to put the needle back at the start.”  
—Lucy Sante, award-winning author of I Heard Her Call My Name

“Guy Trebay’s Do Something is an absorbing account of his coming of age in the fabled New York City of the 1970s. On his own early, because of family tragedies, Trebay’s invention of himself took him into several scenes and his vivid descriptions are cultural history of enormous value. These undergrounds were soon devastated by AIDS and many in the fascinating array of people Trebay met in those days probably would not be remembered were he not their witness. Memory here is both straightforward and complicated, honest and unsentimental in a way that Joan Didion would recognize.”
—Darryl Pinckney, award-winning author of Come Back in September

“If you came of age in New York of the 1970’sa seedy, intoxicating freeport for creative spiritsyou were lucky but didn’t know it. If you weren’t there, my condolences. But it’s not too late: read Guy Trebay’s gorgeous, harrowing memoir of his wild youth adrift in the city’s demimonde among the artists and outlaws who changed our culture. Do Something is polished like a gem yet pungent like the soil from which the author mined it. And it addresses a question fundamental not only to literature, but to all of us: how do we become who we are?”
—Judith Thurman, National Book Award-winning author of A Left-Handed Woman

“Guy Trebay might be best known for writing about the lives of others, but in this memoir, the writer shares his own story—and we should all be paying attention. Trebay writes beautifully about his childhood … and takes readers deep into the world where he escaped it: an exciting, dangerous, overwhelming 1970s New York where he spent time with some of the era's most celebrated characters and ultimately discovered himself.”
—Town & Country, “Must-Read Books of Summer 2024”

“A young man leaves his fraying suburban family to find a new one among New York City’s gay demimonde in this fascinating memoir from New York Times style reporter [Guy] Trebay. . . . A rich portrait of the city and its characters. . . . An engrossing story of family dysfunction redeemed by self-reinvention.”
Publishers Weekly

“[Trebay's] sentences are long and often languid, rife not with verbiage but the voice of a skilled and patient storyteller. . . . The most affecting part of this quest to piece the past together is the author’s longing—and literal search through the ashes—for proof of love. A generous and deeply felt memoir.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Guy Trebay is an elegant wordsmith. . . . A quirky and engaging memoir.”

“It’s always a little nerve-wracking when a beloved journalist writes a book outside their beat: Will they find their footing? [Guy] Trebay, who’s been a style reporter and critic at the New York Times for decades, quickly puts those fears to rest. He’s a lovely writer whose recollections, which begin with a not altogether happy childhood and move quickly to a bohemian life in New York, are riveting. . . . Trebay isn’t a sensationalist. He knew the toast of downtown at its arguable cultural peak, but he doesn’t bend over backwards to place himself at its center.”
, "The Top New Books for Your Summer Reading List"

Product Details
ISBN: 9781524731977
ISBN-10: 1524731978
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English