Robin's Reviews > Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation

Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller
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Oct 15, 13

bookshelves: feminism-and-fem-lit, non-fiction, i-own-a-copy
Read from March 10 to October 14, 2013

I found this book through a feminist reading list and thought, sure, I'd like to know more about female musicians that came 'before my time.' I grew up listening to Carly Simon and Carole King because my mom loved them, but I didn't know anything about them. I discovered Joni Mitchell independently in college and fell in love with her album Blue.

Anyways, I digress from the review. This book would have benefited from a heavy handed editor. The author did a magnificent job rounding up friends/colleagues/partners (or lovers or ex-partners) of the musicians in the book for interviews, double-checking accuracy by verifying statements made by one person with other people, etc. So you have a pretty good feeling about the accuracy of the information. Unfortunately, the writing sort of drowns in asides, long quotations, and unnecessary levels of detail, which definitely drags the pace of the book down.

I think the best part of reading this book for me has been the unveiling of misogyny prevalent in the music industry in the 60's and 70's (though I'm not sure we've gotten much better...) as well as a general misogyny prevalent in the culture at the time. Especially for me, I get sooooo tired of hearing people talk about how music in the 60's and 70's was the *BEST EVER-END OF DISCUSSION* as if there were no problems in the magical time back then, and now everything in music sucks. This book was a nice balance to that view, demonstrating that at least for women, the 60's was not quite so magical, but these three tough women somehow made it work.

The last few chapters of the book seem sort of hurried, as if the author realized she was producing a massive tome and decided to skip over a lot of the information to save a few pages. Considering how thorough the first half/two-thirds were, it's a bit strange.

All the criticisms aside, I think this book is worth a read--or at least a partial read, for those who aren't feeling up to the entire book.
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10/15/2013 marked as: read

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