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Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  33,486 ratings  ·  2,648 reviews
From a leader of feminist punk music at the dawn of the riot-grrrl era, a candid and deeply personal look at life in rock and roll.

Before Carrie Brownstein codeveloped and starred in the wildly popular TV comedy Portlandia, she was already an icon to young women for her role as a musician in the feminist punk band Sleater-Kinney. The band was a key part of the early riot-
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Riverhead Books
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Lori If you are interested in Carrie's achievements as an artist, and her experience with her band and the PNW music scene, then you will enjoy this book. …moreIf you are interested in Carrie's achievements as an artist, and her experience with her band and the PNW music scene, then you will enjoy this book. You will find no mention of Fred Armidsen or Portlandia. This is also not a novel steeped in salacious gossip. So if you are looking for that stuff, you might be disappointed.(less)
KC Hadassah je crois qu'il existe seulement en anglais en ce moment …moreje crois qu'il existe seulement en anglais en ce moment (less)
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Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
This isn't a book for readers looking for voyeuristic thrills from their memoirs. It's a passable music memoir, certainly of interest to all the Sleater-Kinney fans out there, but even they will be disappointed (as I was) by a book that feels too thin.

It takes a while for this work to hit its stride. The first third is spent recounting Brownstein's early years. This is the least compelling section of the memoir, poorly paced and thin. There's little depth to the content, and it is horrifically o
Jun 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, memoirs, audiobooks
What a fantastic music memoir! Carrie Brownstein writes beautifully about her development as an artist and how she became a successful musician.

Carrie grew up in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington, and she started playing the guitar at a young age. She says she was an anxious and melodramatic child, but she loved to perform. In high school she started playing with bands, and eventually formed Sleater-Kinney, which Time magazine once described as America's best rock band. The book covers Carrie'
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, memoir-bio
“All we [Sleater-Kinney] ever wanted was just to play songs and shows that mattered to people, that mattered to us. Music that summed up the messiness of life, that mitigated that nagging fear of hopelessness, loneliness and death.” –Carrie Brownstein

I’ve been floundering in my reading pool, trying to stay afloat and not sink into a reading slump. I can usually tell I’m headed that way when it takes me days to decide what to read next. I’m an unapologetic mood reader, and a very recent bout
reading is my hustle
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it

I was so excited to read this and what an excellent read! Some might be disappointed- this is not a typical memoir. Carrie Brownstein is one cerebral lady. She tells a story that supports the idea that art saves lives. She does not dish. Not even once. Instead she explains how Sleater-Kinney saved her. She explains about tour. She shows us her regard for Corin Tucker & Janet Weiss. And she tells us how she broke up the band.

The feminist punk scene & riot grrrl musi
Elyse  Walters
Audiobook.... read by the author!

I had never heard of Carrie Brownstein until I read Vanessa’s review.
( thank you Vanessa).

Still jazzed from “Daisy Jones and The Six”, by
Taylor Jenkins Reid, I thought it might be fun to listen to Carrie read her memoir....AND IT WAS!!!
Carrie has a dynamite voice with a bubbly disposition.
We learn about her family - ( her escape from the toxicity), and her music.
It’s intimate- raw - honest.

Wonderfully genuine.

Universal themes of painful growing years break ou
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein is a 2015 Riverhead Books publication.

I must confess I know next to nothing about this artist, the rock band ‘Sleater-Kinney’ or punk music. I never fully embraced that form of music, pretty much sticking to my classic rock, blues, and jazz formats, especially during the time this band was at its peak.

By the mid-nineties, I was working sixty to seventy hours a week, dealing with two pre-teens who had signed up for every sport and activity imag
Oct 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
At once an honest depiction of otherness and an interesting examination of the 1990's music scene--especially punk rock in the PNW. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, the title coming from a Sleater-Kinney track, covers Brownstein's youth and emergence into a career in music. She's genuine, indulgent and witty. Though I know very little about the Riot grrrl scene, and I'll be honest, care very little about it, her writing was superb and infused the narrative with something quite special. I mostly kn ...more
Joe Valdez
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs
This 2015 memoir by Carrie Brownstein, co-founder of grunge rock trio Sleater-Kinney (and known far and wide today for the IFC sketch comedy series Portlandia she acts in, writes and created with Fred Armisen) is devoted purely to Brownstein's emergence from uncool teenager and suburban music geek in Redmond, Washington to recording and touring with what a critic at Time Magazine called in 2002 the best rock 'n' roll band in America. Rather than promoting Sleater-Kinney's import as artists or bl ...more
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it

Carrie Brownstein

Many people probably know Carrie Brownstein best as an actress on the TV sketch-comedy show "Portlandia."

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen on Portlandia

Prior to starring in this hit show, however, Brownstein was (and is) a successful guitarist and singer in the feminist punk rock band Sleater-Kinney, which emerged from the Pacific Northwest region that spawned a slew of alternative rock bands.


In this memoir, Brownstein reveals a love of performing that began in ch
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I totally ate this book up. Thanks Carrie for your brave honesty and intelligence. Your personality shines through so strongly, not only through your music but through this well written memoir. A perfect mix of her not so glamorous rock and roll life and her personal struggles. Her love for animals and her pets really won my heart over. I’m totally a fan after this.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I actually am not overly familiar with the band Sleater Kinney. Look, I grew up in the northwest in the 90s but because I was overly sheltered and only "allowed" to listen to Christian music, the most daring I got was sneaking a listen to Z100 or secretly borrowing Ani DiFranco and Lilith Fair level music from friends. Sleater Kinney is more a product of the grunge-riot-grrrl bands that would have been more on the periphery as it was, and I am full of sorrow to say I lack any personal experience ...more
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
It pains me to say I'm not a Sleater-Kinney fan. (I own exactly one of their seven albums--2002's "One Beat", given to me by a fellow "college rock"-aficionado who insisted I should be a Sleater-Kinney fan--but could only find sonic love with their anthemic "Far Away"...and nothing else). Don't know why I have had this total disconnect with them. They just always...I don't know...intimidated me? I'd read about their successes as seminal (if unwitting) pioneers of the Riot Grrrl punk rock moveme ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Terrific: sharp, smart, introspective, complex, funny, and sad. What you (I) want in a music memoir—a little creative process, a little zeitgeist of the times, a lot of self-awareness without too much self-indulgence. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that Brownstein can really write, but it made me happy. Real review to follow. ...more
I'm never often enough left to my own devices these days - not nearly as often as my taste would dictate. However, when ever I AM left to my own devices, I'm apt to binge watch Portlandia, revisit the Sleater--Kinney Spotify and You Tube catalog, reminisce about my grungy, nascent feminist, Oregonian youth by reading wonderful books like Sara Marcus's "Girls to the Front" and watching great documentaries like "The Punk Singer," both about Kathleen Hanna and the Riot Grrl movement. I love that th ...more
“I carried my guitar without a case, out in the open, both shield and sword.”

On my list of TV-shows-I-want-to-watch-but-never-manage-to-get-to-because-I’m-re-watching-“Community”-for-the-umpteenth-time, there was “Portlandia”, and I finally got to it during the lockdown. In fact, once I started it, I binged it pretty severely; while I hadn’t expected I could fall in love with Carrie Brownstein any more than I already had listening to Sleater-Kinney for the past fifteen years (when I heard that “
Jason Koivu
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Way more serious and far less funny than I expected. Also, very little about Portlandia. One sentence to be precise.

But that's okay! Having loved Sleater-Kinney and collected 7"s from that band and her prior, Excuse 17, back in the 90s, I probably would've read this book anyway. I'm always ready to hear more stories about riot grrrl and Olympia!

Back then her S-K bandmate Corin Tucker was the one I gave a shit about. I'd fallen in love with Tucker's voice from her previous band, Heavens To Betsy.
Rose Behar
Jan 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
I'm a fan of Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia, as I think probably most of the readers of this book are, so I'd like to issue a general warning that there is no insight in to her comedy prowess here, nor the creation of Portlandia, nor her motivations, her fears, her beliefs-- in fact, there's barely anything in this book at all apart from an incomplete chronological list of events and the frequent repetition of the word "insular."
Is my frustration evident already? I just expected so much more
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: loud librarians
Recommended to Mariel by: robin
I felt like no one was really looking out for me, that I was marginal and incidental. I compensated by being spongelike, impressionable, and available to whatever and who whoever provided the most comfort, the most sense of belonging. I was learning two sets of skills simultaneously: adaptation- linguistic and aesthetic- in order to fit in, but also, how to survive on my own.

There was an imaginary listener who would find the pink, gold, faberge and fragile crucify yourself eggs in your soundscap
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Riot grrrl is not for girls like me," she thought wistfully, confidently, behind layers of black lipstick and pale foundation, blinking thickly lined eyes, retreating to the safety of Marilyn Manson and Inkubus Sukkubus; Lacuna Coil and Videodrone. The righteously angry, thrashing punk; the seemingly-false claims of camaraderie -- none of it sat quite right. She was alternative, she hated all that mainstream bullshit, but she hated it as a goth girl -- she belonged in the spiderwebby dark.

I sti
Rachel Reads Ravenously

I was listening to the audio of the book, read by the author. I have not listened to SK or watched Portlandia. I made it to about the third disc when I realized I couldn't stand this woman and didn't care about her life. I only picked this book up because it was in the GR group Our Shared Shelf.

What really got me, as someone who loves animals was (view spoiler)
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to see Sleater-Kinney perform live at Stage AE here in Pittsburgh with my brother and his girlfriend. Sleater-Kinney has long been one of those bands I've been itching to see for the last 20 years or so, but have never made it happen for one reason or another - lived in the wrong place, knew the wrong people, didn't have money, was too well-behaved, whatever. Going to see them this year was like making the 17-year-old me very, very happy.

I also behaved som
I read it last night - review forthcoming - undeniable Nietzschean expression of feminist life force. Really great.
Heather Funk
Nov 13, 2015 rated it liked it
So far, I've found Carrie to be a charismatic, compelling, authentic narrator. This book is authentic to the point that it's a little tough to read as someone who has written on a professional level, which is something I hate to say. I KNOW Carrie is a guitarist and singer, not a writer. But didn't she have an editor? There are two things that I can't get over: her compulsive use of the thesaurus, using words like "ennervated" when "sick" would do, and the HUGE gaps in narration. Like, we would ...more
Joy D
“I’ve always felt unclaimed. This is a story of the ways I created a territory, something more than just an archipelago of identities, something that could steady me, somewhere that I belonged.” – Carrie Brownstein, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

Exceptionally well-written memoir about Sleater-Kinney, a three-person cutting-edge indie band from Olympia, Washington, that started in the 1990s. Author Carrie Brownstein is one of the guitarists. The other guitarist is Corin Tucker. They have had a num
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl' seems to me like a book written by a lonely person. It is very good, and I recommend reading it if, gentle reader, you enjoy lucid intelligent autobiographies and you are curious about music groups which have had a certain level of critical success, but not a huge general public exposure. I recognized a very Pacific Northwest character in the author Carrie Brownstein, having been born and raised in western Washington state myself, although my family was more lower ...more
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Put plainly: I did not enjoy Carrie Brownstein's writing style. Not one bit.

I managed to finish the book despite nearly constant eye-rolling at the incredibly overblown, try-too-hard, simile ridden, overwrought prose. The pacing was just brutal to my ear. Unfortunately for this review I have already given the book back to the library, but here are some of the kinds of sentences that appeared all over the book. (Note: these are not quotes, rather just examples of the style)

*I found that music be
Zack Ruskin
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Before Portlandia, before Sleater-Kinney, there was a girl living in the Pacific Northwest with big ambitions, desperately yearning for an identity all her own. In Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein strays from the normal parameters of the memoir format to give readers an insightful, raw look into her past and the moments that shaped her into the person who would later co-found one of the world’s most influential rock bands. Navigating a past fraught with family turmoil, rejection ...more
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
I probably should not have read this book. I've never been a fan of Sleater Kinney or Carrie Brownstein for that matter. But, I have a close friend who is a fan, so I've heard them more often that I would like. I've also watched Portlandia. I like Fred Armisen but I think the show is very hit or miss. I saw this book on the popular picks shelf at my library and I like biographies, so I thought I would give it a shot. I think that Carrie comes off as self important and judgmental. She sounds like ...more
Cat Woods
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Whether you know Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia or Sleater Kinney, or even if you don't know her, be prepared to embrace her weird wonderful frankness. Honestly, I thought my family was a mess but a gay lawyer dad and a runaway anorexic mum? I pass my trophy on! Emerging in the exciting, petticoat wearing eyeliner smudging, feminist polemic touting Riot Grrrl scene of the early 90s along with Bikini Girl, Babes in Toyland and L7, Sleater Kinney were raw, punk, fierce and fragile all at once. ...more
Rachel León
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
(4.5 stars, rounded up because I have a huge art crush on Carrie Brownstein) I'm not a huge fan of memoirs, but I read them when there is enough buzz about a book--or as in this case, I love the author. My only complaint with this book is that it wasn't longer because I didn't want it to end. Brownstein is smart, funny, witty, and totally kicks ass and this book is all those things. ...more
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Carrie Rachel Brownstein (born September 27, 1974) is an American musician, writer, and actress. She first came to prominence as a member of the band Excuse 17 before forming the punk-indie trio Sleater-Kinney. During a long hiatus from Sleater-Kinney she formed the group Wild Flag. During this period, Brownstein wrote and appeared in a series of comedy sketches with Fred Armisen which were then d ...more

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“My favorite kind of musical experience is to feel afterward that your heart is filled up and transformed, like it is pumping a whole new kind of blood into your veins. This is what it is to be a fan: curious, open, desiring for connection, to feel like art has chosen you, claimed you as its witness.” 73 likes
“Nostalgia is recall without the criticism of the present day, all the good parts, memory without the pain. Finally, nostalgia asks so little of us, just to be noticed and revisited;” 51 likes
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