Title: Girls Like Us (Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon – and the Journey of a Generation)
Author: Sheila Weller
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Reading Dates: 8/16/09 ==> 8/31/09
I really like a couple of things about this book. First and foremost it is great to read the background behind these fantastic songs of my teen and early 20’s. Second, it’s fun to read about all the gossip of the life of the stars.
But what I liked is overbalanced by things that I find distracting. Reading as a man, I do not have the same feminist view of history; even realizing that filter, it seems that Shelia Weller sets the women up on pedestals and makes them into heroines; It all just seems so much about women fighting the male culture and we don’t get enough of the other influences of the 60s and 70s – Vietnam first and foremost. The author disses virtually every male in the book. She goes on and on early about males marrying much younger women early on, but doesn’t seem to pass that judgement on Carole and Joni when they get older and hit on young men. More that anything I see their careers as “typical” of an artist: the art means everything and everything (and everyone) has to jostle for 2nd place. Artists are narcissists.
I also got annoyed with Ms. Weillers writing style. There are too many paranthetical statements (with sometimes brackets within them [even those being starred for footnotes]). Here is a standout example writing about Joni Mitchell’s song “Blue” on page 314
“Asher thought the song (which Rolling Stone’s Timothy Crouse would call “beautiful[ly] mysterious and unresolved”) was extraordinary. (its references to a drug addict’s “needles” and Joni’s proffering a she shell to her lover – John Fischbach remembers Joni giving a seashell to James on evening in L.A. – make it fairly clear that “Blues” is about James.) …
So the sentence is “Asher thought the song was extraordinary”. And then we get a whole sentence that is ONLY in parentesis.
It seems like it could have been written more directly.
Come the end of the book, I like Joni Mitchell less than I did before; talk about vain, after giving permission for the book, she didn’t want to be included with 2 other artists. I learned much more about Carole King; I knew she wrote hits in the 50’s but didn’t know the details. And Carly I like more. Starting off, I thought that maybe Linda Ronstadt or Bonnie Raitt would have made a better 3rd. It also turns out that