Book Review #164 – Girl in a Band, by Kim Gordon

Hey everyone!

Here’s yet another non-fiction review. It’s Girl in a Band, by Kim Gordon.

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Synopsis:

Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women, now tells her story—a memoir of life as an artist, of music, marriage, motherhood, independence, and as one of the first women of rock and roll, written with the lyricism and haunting beauty of Patti Smith’s Just Kids.

Often described as aloof, Kim Gordon opens up as never before in Girl in a Band. Telling the story of her family, growing up in California in the ’60s and ’70s, her life in visual art, her move to New York City, the men in her life, her marriage, her relationship with her daughter, her music, and her band, Girl in a Band is a rich and beautifully written memoir.

Gordon takes us back to the lost New York of the 1980s and ’90s that gave rise to Sonic Youth, and the Alternative revolution in popular music. The band helped build a vocabulary of music—paving the way for Nirvana, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and many other acts. But at its core, Girl in a Band examines the route from girl to woman in uncharted territory, music, art career, what partnership means—and what happens when that identity dissolves.

Evocative and edgy, filled with the sights and sounds of a changing world and a transformative life, Girl in a Band is the fascinating chronicle of a remarkable journey and an extraordinary artist.

 

Pros:

  • fun to read even for not fans

 

Cons:

  • a lot of name dropping
  • bashes women constantly while praising men in the same breath
  • kinda pretentious at times
  • doesn’t want or doesn’t know how to dwell on more personal thoughts

 

Verdict:

I’m not a Sonic Youth fan. Actually, I think the first time I actually listened to them was after reading this book. The title made it seem like something I would like to read, regardless. And I did and ended up having a lot more thoughts about it than what I was expecting. Like myself, you don’t need to be a fan of Sonic Youth to get this book. You just a need a bit of context to the scene and even that isn’t too necessary. But I think that’s where the things I enjoyed about this ended. From the start, I was kinda uncomfortable with the talking down on other females and constant praise of men. It felt unnecessary and out of place. As did other commentaries, especially about Courtney Love and Billy Courgan. And the constant name dropping. I wanted to hear about Kim Gordon and not a bunch of other people, mostly who I did not know at all. All these remarks just made the author seem pretentious and a bit full of herself. Which is totally against anything else she praises in the book. Also, I felt like there were many things just brushed off. On contrary to the topic of her divorce and her ex’s affair (which felt kinda weird to so publicly discuss but hey, it might be one of her ways to cope with it) some other things she talks about and then doesn’t give them any depth or even much thought. It just seems like she doesn’t want or doesn’t even care to share those things. That kinda defeats the whole purpose of a memoir but ok, I respect the aspects of one’s life decided to show publicly. Maybe I’m being too picky about it. Not sure. There were just some things that bothered me about this and I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. I just wanted more about being a girl and in a band.

Have any of you read this? Thoughts?

Until soon,

Cat.

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