Girl In A Band: A Memoir By Kim Gordon (5 out of 5)

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Okay, I’m going to say right off the bat how exceptional this memoir is. My friend Dave is a huge Sonic Youth fan; I confess my education is still ongoing, although I do love the fact that Kim Gordon is such an iconic woman in rock. (I think if I were to write a short form essay about her, I would title it ‘Iconic Madonna”. Which is even more ironic considering that she’s such a fan of Madonna… more on that in the book). My reluctance laid in Thurston Moore. Something about Thurston simultaneously alienated and aggravated me. Yet, without two parts, how can you have a whole? Kim talks about everything you would hope, and then some. And not only do you sit up and listen, you take notes, you speak into a Dictaphone, and you spread the word to the masses. Or in this case, those who may run into a book blog reviewing this memoir. In this case, take no prisoners. Buy the book, read the book, recommend the book. All will be done in little or no time, or in my case, a few hours. Once you start reading this, there’s no letting up. You are completely, and unabashedly, in love with her amazing life and the memories that accompany it.

In case you’ve been living in a moon rock up on Pluto, you have to have some nominal idea of who Kim Gordon is. She was bassist and vocalist in Sonic Youth. She was a visual artist before Sonic Youth and Thurston Moore entered her orbit. She was also in bands Harry Crew, Free Kitten, The Supreme Indifference, and Body/Head. She found time to raise a family with Thurston; daughter Coco. She’s produced albums for other artists, most memorably Hole’s Pretty On The Inside (she put up with Courtney “Train Wreck” Love AND the album itself is pretty solid. Give this woman major credit!). She’s had roles in movies. She’s had a number of gallery exhibits of her work. She found time to co-own her own clothing label, albeit for a short period of time. My question: “Do you ever sleep? Can we clone you?” My answer: “She can’t be duplicated. She’s a true original.” (Yes, this conversation would occur. I’m fond of talking and answering myself, even while reading books).

What Kim Gordon manages to do with this memoir is to share her amazing life with us. Simply written and with such eloquence, it may seem from the slim volume of the book that Kim is a woman of few words. This woman has had (and continues to have) an amazing life and has packed so much into her years, so naturally you think she would have a huge whomping book the size of Billy Corgan’s ego. Not the case. And you know why? This amazing woman has managed to do the unthinkable- capture those of us who were already ensnared in her silken web of a career and to do so, with very concise descriptions of her life, loves, passions, and pathos (see: Thurston and the end of her marriage). And she doesn’t need a dumpster truck full of overflowing wordiness to get straight to the point. She’s remarkably straightforward, yet her voice is so vibrant in the way she describes her life and events, that you can feel every single emotion amplified. Her joys are quietly exuberant, her sorrows quietly heartbreaking. That isn’t an easy thing to do when writing a memoir. No filler here, folks.

My friend Dave reviewed this book for Examiner.com (http://www.examiner.com/review/kim-gordon-s-memoir-is-endearing-and-enthralling). His overall impression is that this is a book about love. I think he nailed it. Except it’s far better than any horrible Hallmark card or movie you may have had the misfortune of running into in your life. It’s hard to pick any highlights in a book where every single chapter completely captures your attention and keeps it hostage. It’s hard to find anything wrong with this book, because quite simply, it’s perfect. I don’t think there’s a single thing that Kim could have done differently, except bash Lana Del Ray more (please) or ruminate further on the meaning of circus sideshows (Billy and Courtney). For my spiteful, cynical side really did enjoy the observations on those individuals. Seriously, though, I wouldn’t change a thing in this book. Except I would likely kick Thurston in the junk if I ever ran into him on a street. Because Kim Gordon- amazing musical icon, family dynamo, visual artist extraordinaire, Superwoman- kicks ass and takes names, and you can’t help but think she has to be the perfect woman. And now she’s written the perfect memoir. Bravo!

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~ by generationgbooks on March 5, 2015.

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