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Another Planet: A Teenager in Suburbia

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  623 ratings  ·  69 reviews
In a 1970s commuter town, Tracey Thorn’s teenage life was forged from what failed to happen. Her diaries were packed with entries about not buying things, not going to the disco, the school coach not arriving.

Before she became an acclaimed musician and writer, Tracey Thorn was a typical teenager: bored and cynical, despairing of her aspirational parents. Her only comfort c
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 7th 2019 by Canongate Books
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  623 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Essentially a psychogeography field trip to the places we leave behind, Tracey Thorn's 'Another Planet' will resonate with anyone who grew up in a place where "very little happened... over and over again".
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I got the best possible intro to Another Planet when I heard the author read excerpts as part of her book tour. Reading the rest myself didn’t disappoint.

This is a warm and witty account following Tracey, as she returns to the landscape of her formative years, Hertfordshire commuter-ville, Brookmans Park. In the words of her own Everything But The Girl track Missing, she quite literally steps off the train, and walks down her street again.

Told through extracts from her teenage diaries penned i
Kevin Tindell
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are of a certain age and had a similar upbringing to Tracey you will love this book. I did and thought it was brilliant.
Mike Clarke
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Home thoughts from a broad: Tracey Thorn’s writing mirrors her singing: studied, understated, poised. Another Planet uses extracts from her childhood and adolescent diaries (“every triumph, every fight, under disco light”) to meditate on something very specific and finished: suburbia in England from roughly the late 1950s to the late 1990s. The claustrophobia, paranoia and competitiveness embodied in three television channels, the Ford Escort parked on the drive, a three-bed semi that’s nearly b ...more
Andrea Hurt
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
The author's notes at the back of the book mention that parts of this book were actually published previously in articles for newspapers and magazines. Finding this at the end helped make sense of why the book didn't feel cohesive to me. It seemed to jump from place to place, theme to theme with Tracey being the only thing binding them together. She relies greatly on her teenage diaries, but as she admits, they speak more of the things she didin't do rather than things she did. Went to the shops ...more
Fiona Mackie
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved it but it was a quick read and very short. I wanted more!
Nicky Neko
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this. Extremely moving in parts.
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
Definitely seemed bitty from 80% onwards. When Tracey Thorn states at the end that it’s partly made up of articles written for other publications, which have been chopped up and redistributed, it made sense. A few times I wondered at the lack of editing as something was mentioned again, but with more of an explanation; as if the former inclusion had been added in later. (It was another quote from the same book.)

Can someone please tell the author that boredom and loneliness was also a feature of
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Tracey Thorn pieces together a meditation on suburbia. It began life like an essay and feels like it. It's an amusing read and memoir. You could do worse for a time waster, but I'd only recommend it for fans.
Yağız Ay
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love u Tracey Thorn . Your music means so much to me.
Jack Bates
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tracey Thorn is a great writer and this is an excellent quick read about suburbia, the 70s, and growing up. It’s also very perceptive about class, motherhood and being a daughter. Top stuff.
Steven Duffy
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Captures 1970s growing up beautifully. More than just a remembrance of that era; an understanding of parenthood, especially during teenage/young adulthood
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, phd
Not to be dramatic, but this is revolutionary.

What Just Kids did in 2010 to the music memoir genre, Tracey Thorn has taken the next step in 2019. This book is aware of its place in the music memoir canon, specifically the canon of female musicians, and engages with the dialogue the genre has brought to the table in the last decade. I'm blown away by what I've just read and this is definitely going to be a primary text for my thesis.

The subtitle of this memoir is 'A Teenager in Suburbia' and that
Jackie Law
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tracey Thorn is one half of pop duo, Everything But The Girl, the other half being her husband, Ben Watt. The couple met at Hull University in 1981 and have been together since – writing, making music, raising their three children.

I had not heard of the author prior to picking up this book. I noticed the publicity when it (Thorn’s third memoir) was released in hardback but, put off by the photo on the cover, had ignored whatever was being said. What drew me to pay more attention was the premise
Juliet Mike
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Very interesting how her teenage diary seems to document the absences, non-events, and failures... things that didn't happen, boots she didn't buy, discos she didn't go to.
The diary also omits some very significant, painful things that she later discussed in therapy:
"Years later, a therapist would have to do all the detective work of uncovering the words I hadn't said, which I had hoped I had forgotten, but which instead wrote themselves on my brain instead of the page." p.82
Love her advice to h
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Didn’t find this as interesting as Tracey’s previous books I’m afraid. The diary entries are pretty slim, but I did enjoy her revisiting her old haunts, and her sociological analysis. I found it annoying that she managed to pass her Os and As with precious little effort, but I suspect that says more about me than her!
Scott Collins
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I had a diary when I was a teenager.

Or rather, I liked the idea of having a diary but completely lacked the discipline or interest in compiling, exploring and examining the minutiae of my life and then, try to make it remotely readable. The initial attempts were honest but as I remember it now, it was just a simultaneously impassioned/dispassionate take of the every day where I essentially complained that "Nothing happened today." Such is adolescence...

Tracey Thorn's third memoir, "Another Plan
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan of Tracey Thorn for many years, we are a similar age, I love her music, and I adore her writing. I was introduced to her at the Costa Book Awards earlier this year, and admit to coming over all fan-girl, and just shaking her hand and mumbling incoherently!
A few years ago I read and reviewed her book Naked At The Albert Hall, I really enjoyed it. I knew that Another Planet was going to be a treat, and it is, a huge huge treat. I loved it.

I step off the train
I'm walking down your s
Martin Samuels
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tracey Thorn's books (like her albums) are well worth waiting for. In this, her third book, she explores the experience of being a teenager in suburbia. Although centred on her own life, and drawing extensively from her diaries, the book is in many ways a reflection on what it is (or was) to be a teenager, the nature of life in the suburbs, and parenting. This could be quite heavy stuff, but Thorn covers it in her usual clear and accessible style, with (mainly) short chapters, flitting between q ...more
Stewart Sheargold
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I like to think that I’m London but... I have suburban bones.”

Reading Tracey Thorn’s Another Planet is like bumping into a long-lost childhood friend and spending a whole afternoon in a coffee shop reminiscing about the good and the bad, the pain and the heartache, and the sheer delightful sentiment of being young and trying to find your place in the world.

Thorn writes of her youth with a poignancy and a self-deprecating wit that charms enormously. Though many of her teenage diary entries exud
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I spent 3 years at a boarding school near Potters Bar, allowed out in our suits on a Saturday afternoon when we reached the Lower Fifth. Brookmans Park could be described as a Des Res mainly middle class development nearby. Tracey lived in a semi detached, but many were detached, much like many Surrey Roads, grass at the front, drive, plenty of space and dreadful if you don't have a car. Which means that boyfriends that do, are well sought after. She uses a diary she ...more
Kate Karko
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great, really enjoyed her insights and the way it was organized: chapters about her memories of events interspersed with the current trip to revisit and nostalgic musings/historical and autobiographical anecdotes. It reminded me of growing up in Herts, just down the road. I played ‘Hatfield 1980’ afterwards! Lots of nostalgia. A bit of a lag in the middle, maybe the repetition of mundane events lifted from her diaries stretched the bounds of my patience. However, I know my diaries were written j ...more
Mariza Mentzou
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I came completely spontaneously to the purchase of this book. Didn't think two seconds of it. I'd stumbled upon Tracey Thorn's articles a few times and I recognized her writing as something that 'speaks' to me. And of course, my younger self has been singing her songs on repeat.
So I came to this book with no expectations.

By page 50 or so I thought this was a pleasant read about teenage boredom in suburbia. But later when Thorn deeps into the blank pages of her teenage years' diaries, steering h
Jeff Howells
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tracey Thorn is carving out just as impressive a career as a writer as she did as a musician. This is her third book, in addition to her fortnightly column in the New Statesman. To call it a memoir of a suburban teenager would be doing it a disservice. She mines her teenage diaries (which she readily admits leaves out so much of what she was really thinking and feeling) to describe the banality of her teenage years where she is starting to chafe against the limitations of suburbia (Brookmans Par ...more
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A moderately thought-provoking recollection of and reflection on growing up suburban. I wasn't entirely convinced by her thesis, or even sure what it was, but since she is about my age and I've been aware of her since we were both in our late teens, we have enough in common that I found this kind of relatable and certainly enjoyable.
She hangs her thoughts on the hook of diary entries from her teenage years, a pretty basic but serviceable device. Her writing has improved since she was thirteen, b
Lesley Malone
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Autobiographical musings on suburban adolescence, music, parents, music, waiting for life to happen, and music. Plus some insightful commentary on the social history of post-war England, class and social mobility, housing, and Green Belt planning policy, along with some really poignant reflections on place, ageing, the passing of time etc. ‘Another planet’ is a slim volume and a memoir of just a few uneventful years, but Tracey Thorn packs in an incredible amount to ponder, thanks to her pithy e ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The premise of this book (Tracey Thorn's teenage diaries plus ruminations on growing up in suburbia) doesn't sound inspiring but the reading experience was totally engrossing and I ended up getting through half of the book in my first session. It's always interesting and also made me think back to long-forgotten little moments in my own similar experiences growing up in suburbia, longing for escape to an Exciting Glamorous City, in a family that had done well in buying a council house and who di ...more
Zoe Radley
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and intriguing insight into a 90s band member life in the suburbs, how touching and how wince inducing the sharpness of her love and hatred for that time in her life. How she talks about her parents with love and frustration that we all can connect with.... the youth of the day vs the youth of yesterday but now grown to see their own young haranguing them for similar reasons they may have done.
This is a changed yet still familiar world to some people, and possibly is why we have t
Carolyn Lochhead
Mar 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Tracey Thorn writes convincingly of her years of teenage angst, and the years preceding them, when there was simply a lack of everything - a lack of drama, a lack of anywhere to buy decent clothes, a lack of a sense of identity. She weaves her personal story into reflections on the nature of suburbia in general and her own suburb in particular, drawing on research and her personal return visits as an adult. For me, this didn’t quite have the verve of Louise Werner of Sleeper’s recent memoir, Dif ...more
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
OK, Tracey Thorn is nine years older than me, she clearly snogged a lot more boys than I did, and she became a pop star on TOTP! Apart from that, Another Planet could have been my planet. So much of what she writes about was like my life growing up on a number of new-build estates down in Dorset (we had moved house six times by the time I finished my A Levels).

The Guardian describes Thorn as having a 'clean style' of writing and it's what makes this book so refreshing. Not surprising she got an
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