The basics: Carrie Brownstein, a writer, musician, and actress, tells the story of how she got into music, her early experiences with bands, and her time with her best known band, Sleater-Kinney.
My thoughts: I used to own more than one Sleater-Kinney album. They were band I desperately wanted to like. I pretended I liked them because I thought they were so cool, but I'm older and wiser than I was in the 1990's as a teenager, so I'll confess: despite many attempts, I do not really like Sleater-Kinney's music. But I still like the three of them and would love to just hang out and chat. All this is to say, my interest in this memoir is not the music, so I was somewhat disappointed that it's mostly about the music. Despite this knowledge, I still really liked this memoir.
Brownstein is a wonderful writer. This isn't a revelation, of course. She's been writing songs for many, many years. She co-created and writes Portlandia. Still, she balances the tension of writing a memoir about her time with Sleater-Kinney beautifully to appeal to fans of a variety of levels. Those familiar with the music will appreciate the insights into how certain songs came to be and will revel in the details of specific shows. I was less familiar with the music (despite my attempts), but by writing so well about the music, Brownstein helped me clarify (and come to terms with) why I don't really care for Sleater-Kinney's music.
Audio thoughts: I'm glad I opted for this book on audio. Brownstein's narration shines throughout but there were many times I had trouble imagining a particular scene on the printed page instead. As a bonus treat for audio listeners, there's a lovely interview with the audiobook producer and Carrie at the end.
The verdict: Brownstein is a fine writer, and I admired her bravery in this memoir. Her insights into the life of a touring musician were fascinating, but it was her insights into her life that shined brightest for me. If you're a fan of Sleater-Kinney, Portlandia, feminist memoirs, or Carrie herself, make time for this one, even if it focuses mostly on the music. As I listened to this book, I found myself trying, yet again, to listen to Sleater-Kinney on Spotify. I still don't like the music, but I did appreciate listening to songs after hearing Brownstein's insights into them.
Length: 7 hours 4 minutes (256 pages)
Publication date: October 27, 2015
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