Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Girls Like Us, Sheila Weller, Atria Books, 2008, 527 pp

Though the writing is weak and actually slowed my reading, this is the best book I've read about music, the 60s and 70s and the female musicians of my generation. Joni Mitchell, Carole King And Carly Simon are featured section by section, in an ambitious triple biography that is also social history. Weller follows each of these woman from early childhood through their respective peaks of fame and on up to the present.

Carly Simon is the only one who consented to interviews so the rest is based on research and interviews with people surrounding these women. One wonders about the reliability of those other interviewees. Still I was absorbed in these women's lives, their many love affairs and marriages, and the stories behind their songs. The organizing principle behind the book is the connection with feminism which the author handles well.

Having been a fan of Joni Mitchell since I first heard her perform in 1968 and even met her backstage, just before her first album was released, I was most interested in the Joni sections. I learned things about her that I've not read elsewhere. Carole and Carly have never been favorites of mine though I like reading about Carly and James Taylor.

But this is a good book for any woman born between the mid-1940s to early 1950s, because whether famous or obscure, we all lived through the second women's movement toward independence and self hood and our story must be preserved. We've come a long way and it is not over yet for the women of this world.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder when a good writer will take on the subject of Melanie Safka. I have beena fan of hers for 39 years and know VERY little about her. Such a closeted life should be let out. (i don't mean she is gay) All I mean is, Melanie is one strange cookie and the box should be opened for all to see. There is a big untold story here.
    To start, let's get her into the rock and roll hal of fame. That Woodstock dress needs a nice resting place.
    Jim Baldwin
    Spokane WA
    My Melanie website:
    LetHerIn dot org