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10 teosta 1,058 jäsentä 39 arvostelua

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Sheila Weller is the author of many books. A five-time winner of the Newswomen's Club of New York Front Page Award, she is Senior Contributing Editor at Glamour and has written for New York, Vanity Fair, The Village Voice, Self, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Ms., and Rolling Stone. She lives in New York näytä lisää City näytä vähemmän
Image credit: Photo credit: Gaspar Tringale

Tekijän teokset

Merkitty avainsanalla


20th century
New York



This is a really great book that is packed with information about Carrie Fisher and the audiobook is quite pleasant to listen to so much that I listen to it twice and now I know everything that there is to know about Carrie Fisher.
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laurelzito | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 28, 2024 |
I picked this up because (a) it was mentioned favorably on a blog I sometimes enjoy, and (b) as a teen, I was a huge, huge fan of Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell. (I liked Carole King well enough, but she was no Joni.) I'm having a hard time pushing through this book. The prose is too floral, for lack of better word. And the author's attempts to link every moment of these women's lives to cultural and historical touchstones is becoming tedious. It's worse than Forrest Gump. For instance, watching news coverage of the Kennedy assassination, "little did young Carly Simon know that decades later, she would form a deep and playful friendship with Jackie Kennedy." In chronicling Joni Mitchell's reaction to the Kennedy assassination, no one seems to know exactly where she was - or where she stood on Canadian-US relations at the time. Yet the author still feels the need to spend a page on the Kennedy assassination in Mitchell's life!

I get that the author is trying to make a point about women of a certain generation, but I'm not feeling it. These three don't seem to have much in common, other than careers in pop music (duh!) and James Taylor. This book probably would have been better as three long-form magazine articles, without the heavy-handed, clumsily wielded spokeswoman-for-a-generation theme.
… (lisätietoja)
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LizzK | 26 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 8, 2023 |
'Girls Like Us' is a monumental undertaking that ultimately collapses under its own weight. Author Sheila Weller’s attempt to write three simultaneous biographies of young female singer-songwriters whose works upset the male-dominated apple cart of pop music is an ambitious look at too many topics, with too many characters, and not enough editorial oversight.

Weller has chosen as her subjects three significant female voices that emerged from the saccharine pop music scene of the late 1950s, tapping the deep roots of American folk music and thriving in the upturned soil of second-wave feminism. Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon were all babies of the early mid-1940s, all children of the Gray Flannel 50s, and all began to find their own voices and their own identities in the turbulent 60s. Each came into her own via a different path – King married early and cranked out pop hits from the time she herself was still a teen; Mitchell fled the stultifying life of Canadian small towns and poured out a series of autobiographical lyrics that eventually caught the current of the times; Simon grew up in a moneyed family whose social set included the Manhattan literati. All ultimately wound up creating music that served as a soundtrack to the lives of millions of Baby Boomers struggling through the Vietnam War era in a world that was profoundly different than that of their parents.

There are enough significant commonalities in the career paths of these women and in the struggles they faced to make a certain sense of attempting this tripartite biography, and enough differences to make it necessary to follow each one as a separate, intertwining path.

And that’s where the trouble starts. Weller wants to use a microscope on her subjects instead of a wide-angle lens. Her prose is breezy and gossipy, often degenerating into little more than a who’s who list of the 60s and 70s music scene from Greenwich Village to the Haight-Ashbury and Laurel Canyon, with few stops in between. She can’t resist dropping every name on the list, often piling them into a single paragraph or sentence like toppings on a pizza. Here’s a brief example, a partial sentence from a paragraph describing the attendees at a glossy Greenwich Village party, including: “…Jerry Schatzberg's rapier-cheekboned hipster actress girlfriend, in months to be shot-out-of-a-cannon famous in 'Bonnie and Clyde': Faye Dunaway." Neither Schatzberg nor Dunaway have anything to do with the careers of the main characters, nor do they ever make another appearance in the book. The full sentence is just a 101-word conglomerate cramming in 30 unnecessary adjectives and eight semi-recognizable names, apparently to prove how in-the-know and hip the writer is. After a few hundred pages of this breathless, over-adjectivized prose, often recounting little more of substance than who was sleeping with whom, the whole thing becomes overwhelming.

There’s definitely a story line in here, but it’s buried so deeply under the trivial that it asks the reader to do the excavation job that should have fallen to the author. Like virtually every young woman coming of age at the time, King, Mitchell, and Simon were all asked to re-evaluate the traditional male-female roles they had grown up with. As artists, they had to fight battles for self-determination in an industry that was utterly controlled and directed by men. Mitchell was savvy enough and determined enough to retain all the rights to her own work, from the very beginning – an unheard-of demand from a wispy little girl singer from the Canadian sticks that no one had ever heard of. All three had relationships destroyed when the men they had chosen to love were unable to cope with being the lesser-known, lesser-successful half of the partnership. Each of the three women enthusiastically embraced the sexual freedom rising from a combination of factors – the empowering message of feminism, the introduction of the birth control pill, and the rising social acceptance of non-marital relationships. Their combined list of lovers could sustain a book all its own, and there are enough names that would appear on all three lists as to make diagrams and timelines helpful, if not downright necessary.

Weller also chooses to follow her subjects into the 21st century, where all struggle to cope with changing musical tastes, the fallout from failed relationships, and the inevitable reality of physical aging. It’s a sad and largely depressing end to the book, which was published in 2008.

At its best, 'Girls Like Us' will send Baby Boomer readers digging through their music collections to revisit old favorites. At its worst, it will simply bore them. And that is something its subjects, for all their professional ups and downs, never did.
… (lisätietoja)
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LyndaInOregon | 26 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 16, 2023 |
A difficult read but an important one.
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MiserableFlower | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 23, 2023 |



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