Thursday, October 22, 2009

Girls Like Us

Today I finished reading Girls Like Us, despite the fact that I'd been trying to drag it out to make it last as long as possible. I can say honestly that it ruled on a lot of different levels... because despite the fact that I was born in 1983 I am actually deep down inside a middle aged woman. Yet, the book was of course really eye opening for me since I actually didn't live through the 40s,50s, 60s,70s, and therefore didn't know that everyone actually wanted to be Laura Nyro, that the generation that invented "having it all" had a really hard time having it all, that Jacki O was actually a funny prankster, that polio has residual effects, and hell I really still don't get why James Taylor was so hot. Girls Like Us is the tri-biography of Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Carly Simon. I went into it with totally different ideas of all three women. For instance did you know Carole once married one of the guys from The Fugs - he was fresh out of high school and she was fresh out of a crazy divorce. Or that Joni Mitchell used to dress up like a black pimp (there was a lot of Joni stuff that made me feel super uncomfortable about her). And Carly was actually raised in a really sex positive household with access to birth control so she managed to live the sexual revolution in the way you might dream of doing if you had a time machine and Carly's body. Actually the juicy gossip was pretty awesome - collectively they notched their bedposts with the likes of Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens, Kris Kristofferson, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, Jack Nicholson, Jackson Browne, Milos Forman, Terrence Malick, Charles Larkey(of the Fugs), and a smattering of Jazz musicians, music producers, hot foreign dudes, and much younger hotties. The one thing I still don't get is how they could all love a tool like James Taylor. Oh but how could I forget the hot makeout with Marvin Gaye, and getting propositioned by a mid 1960s Sean Connery on an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic. Aside from those tidbits, the book does a really amazing job of painting a picture of the options available for women who were born in the 40s and came into their own in the 60s and 70s. Teen motherhood could change the course of your life whether you kept the baby or gave it up, and the expectations put on women to keep all your emotions, sanity, and success wrapped up in the career of your husband was a tough one for these talented three whether they followed the rules or not. Even Carly who was born into an affluent and liberal minded family was forced early on to fight against all her advantages of beauty and wealth in a time when sex was a currency and feigned poverty was the look. I really enjoyed that the book took into account these three women yet managed to acknowledge all those who had made them possible- the women of motown, Joan Baez and Judi Collins, their mothers, and the often times forgotten singer/songwriters women who were lost to the cruelty of the times. It also dealt with the truly ugly side of aging- the cancer, the dropping record sales, and the uptight reviews, while showing the realistic antidotes of activism, ambivalence, more boyfriends, and continually awesome albums.

My fav. Carly Simon song is Why.

Watch It's Too Late in Music | View More Free Videos Online at

Its pretty amazing how many songs Carole wrote that we know but attribute to other singers or groups.

Watch Carole King - I feel the earth move in Music | View More Free Videos Online at

1 comment:

nan said...

thanks for the memories. CArole King taestry was one of the first albums i bought. I remember being about 12 lying in my twin bed listening to am radio carole king singing Its too late and feeling so sad! It was one of the first songs that really moved me. I quoted Joni Mitchell as my yearbook entry. Sang to CArly for years. Remember one of my best friends cying when she heard the song "Coming around again" she was in a not so great marriage and pregnant with her 5th child...she had to believe in love... DId you know that is Pat Metheny in the yellow shirt playing with Joni in "Free Man"?