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Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  7,969 ratings  ·  1,033 reviews
From the bestselling author of Love Is a Mix Tape and Turn Around Bright Eyes, "a funny, insightful look at the sublime torture of adolescence".—Entertainment Weekly

The 1980s meant MTV and John Hughes movies, big dreams and bigger shoulder pads, and millions of teen girls who nursed crushes on the members of Duran Duran. As a solitary teenager stranded in the suburbs, Rob
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Plume (first published July 15th 2010)
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Start your review of Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut
Apr 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Rob Sheffield's Talking With Girls About Duran Duran is less about Duran Duran and more about the ways boys in the 80s (and any era, really) accessed music to help them articulate what they can't quite say to girls or each other. The book also reads like the memoir of a polite, Catholic indie-rock fan who fears/adores his three sisters, sells ice cream from a truck, and really, really wants a girlfriend.

Sheffield likes to portray himself as a wuss with a weakness for shiny pop but he's way more
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: it-was-density, mmxii
This week I was able to finish 3 books… dog days of summer and all that.

One was a rather depressing tale of orphanism and the south and people who chewed tobacco. I shudder. The other was that horrible Heathers like book Some Girls Are… (not horrible as in horrible writing, but ugh…) and then I finished up this book. I am all over the place. I have a cold and was told that I may be experiencing ‘premenopausal’ symptoms (fuck that shit. I am 41 years old. I’m sweating because I live in New Engla
Jun 02, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I should've known what I was getting into, but I found the intro to be extremely patronizing. "This is just the way we [men] dissect the things we love. But it's tougher to talk to women about the Clash. (They love "Stand by Me" but they don't care that it's really called "Train in Vain" instead of "Stand by Me.")" Yeah, he's not saying all women are like this, but it's sort of a sad attempt at humor through perpetuated gender stereotypes and it ends up angering any women who LOVE the Clash and ...more
Elly Lonon
You ever have someone try and turn you on to something that just doesn’t quite fit you, but you can still tell it’s really, really awesome? Even if you don’t enjoy it as much as you probably ought to? You know, like The Dave Matthews Band, or imported stinky cheeses, or anal sex.

Yeah. So I just read Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. That’s kinda how I feel about the book. It’s good. Very good! It’s just…well…I think I lack the balls to appreciate it fully.

I mean, based on the cover, it screams
3-1/2 stars

Back in the day, in the early to mid-2000's, I used to subscribe to a music magazine called Blender. It was lighthearted, irreverent, super-snarky, and never failed to make me laugh. People who read "real" music magazines sneered at it, but I loved it. That's where I first ran into Rob Sheffield and enjoyed his writing. Blender folded in 2009, so I've been meaning to read his books for a long time now.

This month my library dedicated its theme shelf to "Libraries Rock!" and filled it
Anthony Chavez
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I grew up saturated with music in my household, my father could have opened a record store in our house with the amount of vinyl and cassette's he had (now cds omg... oh so many). All genres too, so I was exposed to everything, except Madonna and Prince he wasn't a fan of them whatsoever, so I could really relate to everything he says in Love is a Mixtape (80's & 90's) and Talking to Girls about Duran Duran (ALL 80's with a dash of 90's, minus the Madonna part). I can imagine his articles for Ro ...more
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
I'm a huge Rob Sheffield fan.  He writes about how life and music intersect so seamlessly and I definitely relate to people who are aware of the soundtrack to their life.

Sheffield's memoir Love Is a Mix Tape pretty much ripped my heart out as it chronicled his love of music and then his love of Renee, his wife who died unexpectedly only five years into their marriage.

In Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Sheffield explores his adolescence in the 1980's through song titled chapters to compile an
Jenn Estepp
alas, the text didn't live up to the totally awesome title. how sad it is when that happens ... as i mentioned whilst reading, the intro starts with some fairly stupid broad gender statements that i hoped would be limited to the introduction. sadly, not so much. the habit of saying things like "girls like this" and "boys do that" is repeated frequently and it was never not-annoying. i get it: you're making a joke. i think. unfortunately, it's not really funny. and that's maybe why, or at least a ...more
Peter Derk
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut by Rob Sheffield

Okay, before we get too far into this, everyone should know that this book doesn't come out for a whole week.
This is very exciting for me.
Not only did I hold the book in my hands before the unwashed, unshaven, apparently wholly uneducated about hygiene masses, but the version I held was special. And not just because it was an uncorrected proof. Not just because Steve Perry was named Stev
Jun 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of music myself - Duran Duran as well, though not all too passionately - and a female, I couldn't get over just how one sided this book really is. Quite often it seems like Sheffield is looking down on female listeners, making them seem as if they were incapable of understanding music, only ever focusing on the look and image of a band. Whereas male listeners, of course, sit down to discuss the music, the lyrics, the meaning and the connection to other happenings in the world. I am awar ...more
Feb 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pl_peoria, nf_memoirs
This was a tough book for me to rate. I had to think long and hard about it as I wanted to be fair; it didn't seem right to write it off as a bomb just because it didn't fit my personal tastes. But after much consideration I did give it only 1 star, which equates to a Bomb/Skip It in my system. Here's why.

I despise cooked onions. But I love liver. And 99% of diners everywhere serve it smothered with sauteed onions. If I don't specify "no onions" when ordering and am thus presented with a dish pi
Marc Weitz
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a fan of Duran Duran and being a fan of talking to girls, this book was right up my alley. It helped that I am an 80s kid who remains a big 80s fan. This is the type of book that I used to resent reading when it was about the baby boom era for the baby boomers. They always seemed full of obnoxious glorification of an era that was mediocre at best when viewed against the greatness of the eras that preceded it. However, this is my book, for me, that is glorifying my mediocre era, and I just ...more
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Life is a Mixtape on the recommendation of a friend late last year, and found it to be a really poignant biography of life and loss with music as a tremendously powerful backdrop. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is similar in construct, but is more of a series of memoirs about growing up in the 80s, once again using music as the backdrop to all of life's lessons. While I found many of these stories funny, and in some cases even insightful, it never really came together for me as a unif ...more
This. Book. Was. Made. For. Me. :)

I loved it. I didn't want it to end. I related to it through the music.
I loved that music lyrics were used as sentences in here through his many stories of growing up during the 1980's. I loved his ingenious idea to name the chapters after his favorite songs from the fab 80's decade. Sheffield listed his 25 top songs. As a self proclaimed 80's freak. I will also share some of my favorite songs from the 1980's (in no particular order what so ever)!!

1. I Ran - F
Jun 20, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish

I was excited to read this, as I really liked the author's previous book, Love is a Mixtape. Plus, I like 80s music and reading memoirs about music. However, this book rubbed me the wrong way from the start, and I gave up pretty early on. Perhaps I didn't give it a fair shot, but all of his observations seemed to be based on ridiculous gender stereotypes about music. I got particularly annoyed when he was talking about The Clash (a band that boy's like, according to the author), and says how gir
Jennifer Spiegel
I love this book because of two things: the writer’s voice is warm, sweet, and honest, and we’re talking about Duran Duran. I think it’s like comfort food, which I’ve heard includes things like biscuits and gravy. For me, it might be BBQ baby back ribs from Don and Charlie’s or a Peanut Buster Parfait from DQ. Though my own LOVE SLAVE is set just after the death of Kurt Cobain, the eighties were like the biblical breath of life for my beloved grunge-haunted characters. They might be struggling w ...more
Sep 09, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

It took me less than three days to finish Rob Sheffield's equivalent of a sophomore album - his second book, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. I was a huge fan of his memoir, Love is a Mix Tape, so I had high hopes for this book too.

Now I didn't live through the 80s, I'm not a Duran Duran fan, not Irish Catholic, and didn't recognize the majority of these songs by name, but I ripped through this book. I would get to the end of a chapter (each chapter title a different song) and think, "oh...ju

Oct 19, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked several of the essays very much. Most of them were just okay, though, and I think the book went on too long. I loved reading about Sheffield's totally awesome sisters. I think he should write a straight memoir about growing up with them shepherding him through life, it would be such fun. I remembered nearly all the songs, but with considerably less fondness than the author did, so that perhaps contributed to my overall sense of malaise regarding the majority of this book. Sheffield also ...more
Dawn Michelle
I love Rob Sheffield's books - they always make me laugh and they sometimes make me cry and this one was no different. A look back at a time that was also my musical youth, it was so awesome to hear his perspective on many groups that I too loved at a time when I barely knew who I was, but knew all about my favorite bands and singers [with HUGE HUGE HUGE love to Duran Duran]. With a chapter dedicated to his late wife [hence the tears], this was an amazing musical read. If you grew up in the 80's ...more
Christine Bilaniuk
Nostalgia! Loved this!
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People discredit the music of the 80s. One comedian—who I’ve purposefully and successfully forgotten the name of—says 80s tunes are what Satan listens to while using the bathroom. Others dismiss New Wave and 80s dance as fashion-and-video-obsessed crud. This is also the music I grew up with.

Rob Sheffield grew up with it, too; he’s a very clever, insightful writer from Rolling Stone. He doesn’t apologize for the music. He writes humorous and touching stories about what it meant to him. He lets it
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-mary
I only wish I could blame my poor taste in music on my three Irish sisters...but alas, I have only one (of the Polish variety) and it is entirely likely I would have developed a liking for Duran Duran, Madonna, and Wham! without any female prodding. Hey, it was the 80's and nobody mocked Culture Club or Michael Jackson until many years later! :)

I could relate to this book on many levels -- maybe not quite as much as I did to Ready Player One, but still feel that this could have been the chronicl
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading Sheffield's first book, I was looking forward to reading this one. I thought his writing style evoked deep emotion, and - being a child of the '80s myself - I expected to identify with many of his experiences. It wasn't until I was about 75% through this book that I realized the problem. This book is not about THE 1980s; it's about HIS 1980s. We remember many parts of the decade quite differently. And he tends to be dismissive in a casual manner: "The Reflex" was Duran Duran's "fir ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe if the songs he chose to frame each chapter around were nearer and dearer to my heart this would have been a 5 star, but probably because they weren't, I valued the stories even more. Duran Duran was my first big concert in 6th grade for the Seven and Ragged Tiger tour (thanks mom for letting me go!) and I had a poster of them on my bedroom wall, and even loved nick rhodes and john taylor, but I don't consider myself ever to be the infamous "Duranie," as Rob Sheffield likes to call them... ...more
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is Rob Sheffield's personal story about being a teenager in the 80's and the effect 80s music had on his life. He begins the book when he is 13 years old and each chapter's title is a song from the 80s. He holds nothing back no matter how embarrasing it might be, his awkwardness around girls, his years living as a hermit listening to The Smiths, his glory days as the ice cream man, all are discussed in the book with the music he loved mixed in to help tell the ...more
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those of us who experienced the 80's first hand (and by that I mean ALL the 80's, not just a few of the later years), this book will transport you back year by year, courtesy of a set list Sheffield has laid out. Although the book title leads one to believe that the subject matter will be solely about Duran Duran, (and fear not Duran lovers, the band IS discussed most lovingly), it really encompasses what it meant to be a teenager at that particular time, hearing New Wave sounds for the very ...more
Monica Albright
Okay, I'm a Durannie...I know all 5 of the guys...all three unrelated Taylors, Simon and Nick....I'm a child of the 80' of course I had to read this book. Plus I've read a lot of good reviews too.
I've spent equal time reading and going on YouTube watching the videos that match the music in the book. Some of the titles I didn't remember. Some I didn't know. It's fun. Some of the references I just didn't get...maybe it was the "boy's perspective".
If you loved Duran Duran...pick it le
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK first I'm going to start off by mentioning that I don't write reviews very often for books, but I enjoyed this book so much, I felt the need to spread my love for it on here!! The fact that the title mentioned Duran Duran, one of my most favorite bands, intrigued me. The name Rob Sheffield also sounded vaguely familiar and then remembered he had been interviewed on multiple VH1 Behind The Music and Greatest programs that I had seen over the years. I always had respect for his insight and fant ...more
Jul 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fun look back at the music (and culture) a lot of us grew up on. I enjoyed the chapters on Duran Duran, why John Hughes films are still relevant (one word: Duckie), and cassingles. I wasn't crazy about some of Sheffield's other musings, like those about religion and Morissey (from the Smiths), but I still liked the book overall. The best part was going to YouTube to look up the songs (and videos) and remembering what my life was like then. That is basically what Sheffield writes about: ...more
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, art, in-en, 2013
Though dedicated to his second wife, the book is more about Rob's love for ('80s) music and his sisters, above anything else. I can totally understand his obsession for '80s, music since I'm a sucker for it myself (I can totally kick your ass at SongPop when it comes to '80s and '90s, thank you very much).

I envy people who can identify themselves with a musical decade. I can't call myself a kid of the '80s, since I was still a bit too young to listen to their music on purpose (let alone what wa
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Rob Sheffield is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine. In addition to writing music reviews and profile stories, Sheffield also writes the Pop Life column in the Mixed Media section of the magazine. His work has also been featured in The Village Voice and Spin. A native of Boston, Sheffield attended Yale and the University of Virginia, and is six foot five.

His first book, Love is a Mix

Articles featuring this book

His Favorite Books About Music: Sheffield shares five books that will be in sync with music lovers.
28 likes · 5 comments
“My sisters were the coolest people I knew, and still are. I have always aspired to be like them and know what they know. My sisters were the color and noise in my black-and-white boy world-how I pitied my friends who had brothers. Boys seemed incredibly tedious and dim compared to my sisters, who were always a rush of energy and excitement, buzzing over all the books, records, jokes, rumors and ideas we were discovering together. I grew up thriving on the commotion of their girl noise, whether they were laughing or singing or staging an intervention because somebody was wearing stirrup pants. I always loved being lost in that girl noise.” 76 likes
“But bringing people together is what music has always done best.” 24 likes
More quotes…