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When I Grow Up: A Memoir

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  479 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
By the early nineties, singer-songwriter and former Blake Babies member Juliana Hatfield's solo career was taking off: She was on the cover of "Spin" and "Sassy." Ben Stiller directed the video for her song "Spin the Bottle" from the "Reality Bites" film soundtrack. Then, after canceling a European tour to treat severe depression and failing to produce another "hit," she s ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published November 3rd 2008 by John Wiley & Sons (first published August 20th 2008)
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Apr 07, 2009 Ciara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to hate themselves
i'm sorry, i really didn't like this. if we are being honest, i have to admit that i've never really been into juliana hatfield's music, but i guess i have respected the fact that she has continued to do her thing for a good long time. plus, she is a boston musician, & i like to read about the boston music scene, since i live here & all. but this was a real disappointment.

it's structured in a really bizarre way. the overwhelming majority of the book is a kind of tour diary of a tour she
Oct 08, 2008 Kirk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to snag a free copy of this last weekend, but the Wiley sales rep at the trade show I was at obviously saw through my disguise of mature, gray-haired reflection and took me for the slobbering girl-rock fanboy I am. Not even proclaiming my eternal love for Juliana's 1992 classic Hey Babe could melt the woman's heart. So I sent over the Sig-O to strike up a little sisterly empathy and, lo and behold, the book came to her place yesterday courtesy of the mail.

I spent the night reading the f
Apr 24, 2014 Bert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok so it wasn't Just Kids, but I really enjoyed it and I felt like I got to know and appreciate Juliana a bit more by just spending time with her. It's imperfect, but that's kind of the point, she is imperfect, troubled, uncomfortable and moody, but y'know what, she wrote Backseat so i'll always have a place in my heart for her. When I Grow Up is a brave book, honest, unpretentious, at times plodding (though i liked all the stuff about what food she ate on the road etc. - take that goodreaders), ...more
The good.

I’ve always liked Juliana’s music because I found it easy for me to relate to. Really, we seem pretty similar in a lot of ways. Occasionally crippling shyness, awkwardness in groups and parties, chronic depression, vegetarians, we feel the same way about the Replacements… We’re aware that we tend to see huge, debilitating flaws in ourselves that others probably don’t notice, yet we still find ourselves trapped in a shame spiral. It can be very exhausting and difficult to deal with. The
Nov 17, 2008 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
So I'm not her biggest fan, I only have the "Become What You Are" album, but when I saw she wrote an autobiography, it piqued my curiosity, and my expectations were EXTREMELY exceeded. I had no idea she was capable of something this interesting and insightful. The chapters alternate from daily journal entries on her then-current tour and a history of her rise to semi-prominence with the hit single, "My Sister." A lot of the writing isn't even about music, it's just biographical musings from a fe ...more
Laurel Beth
Mar 26, 2012 Laurel Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-the-library, hpl
hatfield is a story-teller.

the first time i really heard "my sister" i cried because i knew i was the older sister who would leave my kid sisters behind and be too fucked up to come through on my promises to take them to all-ages shows. i think i heard the song on daria and then d/l'ed from napster. although i do remember hearing it in the car as a child.

the book is compelling, even if hatfield's constant complaints about touring start to wear by the end. her prose is really quite literary and
Feb 16, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I had the pleasure of speaking to Juliana Hatfield briefly while she was promoting the Beautiful Creature/Juliana's Pony: Total System Failure albums. She was doing a string of in-stores for Newbury Comics and I happened to be working at one at the time.

I wasn't a fan of her music until the album Bed was released. I found the quirky-alterna-girl narratives of songs like "My Sister" and "Spin the Bottle" to be fun but lacking longevity. Listening to Bed changed that for me. With the release of Be
Nov 04, 2013 Chriso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished this book today and found it inspiring, engrossing, confounding, frustrating and highly relatable. Juliana Hatfield has always been a polarizing figure and has never shied away baring her soul, contradictions and all, for everyone to hear or see. The memoir is half tour diary - chronicling her first venture with her 3 piece band Some Girls - and half reflecting on the history of her career up until that point. She writes openly about struggling with her waning interest in her mus ...more
Sep 26, 2008 Paige rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mediadarlings
Juliana Hatfield has always been one of my favorite musicians, whom I've followed religiously for almost two decades (she, along with Tori Amos and Liz Phair, made up the triad of my pre-teen obsession. The latter two declined significantly in their personal appeal to me, while Juliana remained pretty much true and unwavering.)

Reading this book, I had the harsh realization that as much as Juliana may speak to me in song, we probably would not connect well as people. Hearing her speak in her mos
This is not a well-written book. There are a lot of details about Juliana's meals while on tour or mundane conversations that just don't add anything. Get this girl an editor!
There are definitely a lot of interesting details as well, although names were changed or not mentioned whenever anything juicy came up, and that was frustrating. The entire chapter on Paul W. could have been cut down to a paragraph, and, as another reviewer said, HOW ABOUT TELLING US ABOUT WHEN YOU ACTUALLY MET PAUL, JULI
Will White
Mar 23, 2015 Will White rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the Blake Babies in college and thought they were the one of the best alternative bands back then and still do. I kept following Hatfield after she split to start a solo career. I was always enchanted with her lyrics and voice. The book further opened her personality and life to the reader. It also includes a narrative of life as a lead singer of an alternative band on the road, in the recording studio, magazine interviews, and more. I also appreciated the stories about her encount ...more
Realistic view about life on the road, touring with a band---travel, grumpiness, eating, cheap places to stay etc...realistic, but not that interesting.

The background of her times in various places in her life, her family and musical lessons in life brought this book up by a star and a half.
Courtney E. Smith
If you have kids and they think they want to be in a band or be a pop singer but you think it's a terrible idea, get them this book.
D. B.
May 05, 2012 D. B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit it: I'm an obsessive Juliana Hatfield fan. When I was a kid, of course I--the super-cool grunge and metal dude I thought I was--made fun of "My Sister," and then she kinda disappeared, and I forgot about her. In 2001, a friend recommended 2000's Beautiful Creature, which is one of those rare albums that completely blew me away on the first listen. I've been a fan ever since. I'm noting this because I'll be the first to admire my appreciation for her, and the impact her music has had o ...more
I've been a fan of Juliana Hatfield for 16 years. In fact, I think discovering her music when I was 14 really shaped my identity in a lot of ways. It was at that point that I discovered that I didn't have to struggle to fit in and be the perfect Southern belle that my family and friends wanted me to be: that it was okay to be independent, strange, and socially disaffected. Her music opened me up to the fact that there were other people like me out there and that one could actually derive meaning ...more
Self-esteem has never been my thing, and a girl I was dating during a particularly annoying (both to myself and others) downswing said something memorable to me: "If you keep telling me what a loser you are, eventually I'm going to start to believe it." Well, Juliana Hatfield spends a lot of this book telling us that she's probably not the sort of person we'd actually like to get to know, and I'm now inclined to believe it. It's a little hard to take, given that she's been my absolute favorite m ...more
Apr 23, 2012 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A summer 2004 tour serves as the backdrop for Juliana Hatfield's memoir. Interspersed with chapters about the tour are recollections from her earlier life, chronicling her troubled family, her early success, and her later professional and personal decline.

The chapters that chronicle the tour suffer from a lack of dramatic interest. It's no secret that life on tour is hardly a non-stop party for rockers past their prime. They play in crappy venues, to indifferent crowds, and make little money. Ju
Nov 25, 2016 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I developed a major crush on Juliana Hatfield in the early 90's when I first heard her single My Sister, and unlike a lot of the 90's era alterna-rockers I phased through back then, I enjoyed her music more with each new album. When I heard she had written a memoir, I knew I had to check it out.

When I Grow Up is equal parts memoir and tour diary, with chapters form Hatfield's past trading off with chapters chronicling the surprisingly unglamorous life of a touring rock band. Her rise to (semi)st
I kept waiting for this book to get good - it didn't. After awhile, it become somewhat of a chore to pick up and read, and it was bothersome how the chapters alternated between Juliana's tour with Some Girls, and pieces of her life. The tour was not terribly interesting to me, although maybe I've read too many rock bios. However, parts about her dealings with the music industry were interesting and I really enjoyed reading about the formation of the Blake Babies. (I loved when they all first sit ...more
Apr 18, 2015 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in less than 24 hours..another enjoyable memoir from a musician I've recently begun exploring. The tour chronicle doesn't shy away from the less-than-glamorous shitty hotels and dressing rooms, peeing in cups, missed riders, and weird fans, but also celebrates its triumphs and uses sardonic wit to temper the downright repugnant. Juliana's more traditional memoirs follow a similar pattern. Not afraid to discuss debilitating battles with depression and anorexia, nor to explain how she realize ...more
Jul 08, 2014 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We get it, Juliana -- you're a person who suffers from insecurity and depression, yet can overcome to be a good musician with equally informed insight into the human condition. Unfortunately, every other chapter about being a "bitch" or "depressed" and never providing any further insight (mentioning you were being treated is great, what did you learn -- this is a memoir).

I like the mix of tour diary in between faint remembrances but when I pick up a book about a musician by said musician, I do w
Hannah Jo Parker
Because I must read every rock musician memoir out there, especially the ones written by women, I slogged through this one. Strengths -- honest, gritty details about how brutal it is to go on tour in a van and play small rock clubs; interesting first-person perspective on how the music industry changed in the mid-90s thanks to the Telecommunications Act of 1996; and a good description of what the pressures are to look and act a certain way if you're a woman in the indie music world. Weaknesses: ...more
Oct 09, 2008 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've owned this book since around when it came out in September, but I had kind of been "saving" it. Saving for a time when I needed to feel like I'm not the only awkward, socially inept, introspective, self-sufficient, yet still lonely person out there. Maybe it's just the annoying fan girl in me, but when I read things that Juliana Hatfield writes, I feel that I could really get along with her. We think in a lot of the same ways. Not saying I'm some kind of weird doppelganger, we really aren't ...more
Feb 09, 2013 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an interest insight into the life and times of a professional musician. As a person who has spent times in bands I found I could relate to some of the content. However, being a musician is definitely not a prerequisite. This book is much more about the experiences of her life as a working musician than the profession itself.

Juliana recants her memories in a candid, conversational tone throughout. She does not hold back about her issues with depression and their effects on her perso
I used to LOVE Juliana Hatfield. I remember going to see her play at First Ave. in Minneapolis when I was 16, on her "Become What You Are" tour. It was amazing. I've always had a soft spot for her and her music. I kind of lost track of her and her new music, but I was really excited to read this memoir. It's okay. The tour info and music industry stuff is interesting, but I felt like it was missing a lot. Where is the tale of playing bass with the Lemonheads? Also, anorexia has been a huge part ...more
Dec 15, 2011 Kristina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the most boring autobiography I've ever read! I usually like autobios about musicians and actors but with this one, I found myself skipping over the last few chapters. I agree with the GoodReads reviews that say this is more of a boring tour diary. I got sick of all recollections of conversations word-for-word and Juliana's attitude in general. I especially disliked one part where she says it's not in her job description to be cheerful and accommodating to her fans. I almost gave this bo ...more
Feb 27, 2009 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it took me a really long time to read this book I found it to be fascinating. I loved the real life look at life as a "rock star". It certainly made it clear to me that I do not want to be one for a couple reasons. 1) I certainly don't have the music in me that she definitely does (proving that if you hear the music in you, you should totally go for it because not all of us have it) 2) Touring sounds like a night mare to me (all the hauling of gear, long car rides and gross hotels. no t ...more
Alison Coffey
I must admit to being disappointed by this effort. Juliana Hatfield has always been of interest to me--I suspected we had a lot in common and we do (vegetarian, shy, outsider, hate parties type o people), but I think she needed a better editor. Someone willing to tell her to shape it up a bit and leave out the boring stuff (what she had for lunch, mundane conversations with tour managers). It's too clunky and too repetitive and honestly, not juicy enough. She writes an entire chapter about her o ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an interesting, quick read. Juliana Hatfield writes in a conversational tone, like you're just listening to a friend tell stories about their past, and she's certainly honest about herself. The book alternates between chapters about her past and her career and chapters about a current tour, the day-in-day out of touring. She doesn't paint herself in a particularly rosy light though; she gets cranky, she lashes out at people when she's hungry, she has trouble maintaining relationshi ...more
Jul 27, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm seeing the reunited Juliana Hatfield Three play at Doug Fir in 10 days, and hoped to finish this memoir before the meta visit. This memoir is fascinating to someone (me me!) who has followed Juliana's career through the years, but is fuzzy on the details. She uses an interesting technique bouncing from a tour diary in 2003 to a retelling of her memories leading from the Blake Babies up to the heyday of "My Sister" and the aftermath. This was published in 2008 so I'm interested how she would ...more
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Juliana Hatfield (born July 27, 1967 in Wiscasset, Maine, United States), is an American guitarist/singer-songwriter from the Boston area, formerly of the indie rock band Blake Babies. She currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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