Sunday, 21 February 2016

A Girl In A Band - Kim Gordon Book Review

My first read of 2016 and it's one I asked for for Christmas which you'll already know if you caught this post. If there's 2 things I love reading about it's autobiographies by women and non-fiction books about rock stars. So when one of the most iconic women in rock & roll, Kim Gordon, wrote about her life as a woman in a band, I was keen to see what she had to say. Although I listened to Sonic Youth a bit in my teens, I know very little about her.

Now that I've read this book, I wish I still knew very little about Kim Gordon because what I learnt, I didn't like. Seemingly, the agenda of this autobiography is to bad mouth her ex-husband and any other people she takes a disliking to. It's as if she knew what she wanted to say about those she dislikes but had to attempt a roundabout way to loosely tie it in to the rest of the book.

I find it interesting that throughout her book, she paints herself as sensitive, a pushover and at times, a victim (at the hands of her husband and schizophrenic brother) yet, she attacks Courtney Love on FOUR separate occasions. Although Kim has a first hand experience of how un-funny and not to be taken lightly mental illnesses are, she tells Lana Del Rey to top herself?! Unnecessary, problematic and tacky. I would go as far as to say that A Girl In A Band reads like a glorified burn book. Gordon's bitterness leaves a sour taste in the readers mouth. Even her sections on being in the band or her love of art is peppered with name dropping, deeming it boring and shallow.

I am very in touch with the fact that feminism and liking/being nice to all women are not synonymous but given she makes some very valid and positive feminist points, it's disappointing she attacks other women in her industry. If I were to have a following so big that I got a book deal, would I be using my autobiography as a mouthpiece to talk about people I don't like? Nope.

Cattiness aside, against the rawkus stories of say, Marilyn Manson's autobiography, the Amy and Cobain film documentary or Poppy Brite's relaying of Courtney Love's life so far, Kim's story falls a little flat. Yes, the common denominator in the aforementioned is drugs but alongside that, each of these individuals they had interesting personalities, crazy stories and Gordon just...doesn't.

From a writing point of view, I do love some of the wording and description used, especially when describing how she felt on stage. I also found it an easy and relatively quick read. The bottom line is, I just didn't like Kim as a person, based purely from the way she has portrayed herself in her own book. She makes herself sound like a whiney girl relaying all the people who have wronged her and how she can't let it go. I couldn't really relate to her and I frankly found her a bit dull. This book is definitely one you can give a miss.

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