by Jeff Ott
Usually, punk rock confessionals get tiresome pretty darn quick. Stories of excess and regret make good moral fables for the easily impressionable, but lose their car-crash fascination sooner if not later.
On the other hand, you have someone like Jeff Ott, who not only is a veteran of bands Crimpshrine and Fifteen, but also a survivor of just about every near-death (and sometimes deadly) experience an American urban youth can come across. Ott is a voice of reason amongst martyrs and sermonizers, calmly detailing horrifying incidents and observations, without forcing moral judgements at every possible opportunity. More importantly, Ott doesn't practice what he preaches; he preaches what he practices. By today's political climate, Ott's leanings are strongly socialist, if not Communist, but in light of his writing, it's his desire to care for his fellow human beings that makes him so.
My World is a great read, though I can only read so much of it at a time. Perhaps the best example that Ott can provide is the fact that he's survived so much horror, and emerged with his faith in basic human decency untouched. Gripping and unforgettable, it's a book that leaves you with many lessons learned, and learning them through the book is a lot easier than learning them the way Ott did.