Mickey Leigh & Legs McNeil - I Slept with Joey Ramone
Touchstone, $26, 416 pp.
Family psychologists would have a field day with Mickey Leigh's memoir about his brother Joey Ramone. Now in paperback, it dredges up every sibling squabble we've endured, against the background of punk's formation. The normalcy that sickly, obsessive-compulsive Ramone craved seldom produces great artists, and no sudden transformation befell the awkward kid; according to Leigh, when people began to listen, he was the same weirdo as always. Fame, estrangement and clumsy oral history interjections by Legs McNeil distract, but fans will be touched, especially by remembrances of the lanky teenager mocked for his appearance and oddness, finding solace in his Alice Cooper records. Such private escapes supply a more elegant punk origin story than all the spitting provocation in the world.