Book Review: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

| On
November 17, 2015
I will start this review with a confession: before reading this book, I didn’t know much (if at all!) about Carrie Brownstein.

Here are the things I knew: she is a comedian and an actress and though I’ve seen a couple of episodes of her TV show, Portlandia, I have never been able to get into it; she is a musician whose music I “discovered” because my husband is a huge fan; her band, Sleater-Kinney, came back this year after a very long hiatus and we managed to meet them, get some records signed, and catch a show back in April. She wore the cutest outfit that night and I am forever jealous of her fashion choices.

None of that seems to be reason enough to pick up such a personal book about someone you don’t really know that much, but I have read a lot of memoirs/autobiographies this year and I have come to enjoy reading about people’s lives and experiences and how those have shaped the people they are today. So here I was again, going in with no idea of what I was getting into or if I would get bored and tired of listening to someone whose livelihood I was only vaguely familiar with talk about her life, her music, her passions, but hoping it would be good!

It was.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is not a complete memoir in the sense that it only focuses on Carrie’s life up to a point. She talks about her childhood, what it was like to grow up as part of a broken family led by an anorexic mother and a confused and detached father, and also about her experience and involvement in the Northwest music scene and the riot grrrl movement. It also delves into the creation and the subsequent downfall of her band, Sleater-Kinney, going into detail about the songs and the truth behind the glamour of touring life.

Carrie gets very passionate talking about music, not only as a creator but as a fan of it, and it’s easy to see, as you go along, the impact music’s had in her life. It was an escape from her troubled life and it led the way to finding herself, her people and her sound. It was very interesting hearing Carrie talk about it, and this is coming from someone who’s never given music much of a thought aside from the fact that it’s there, it sounds nice and I like to sing along to it! I don’t know, I just really enjoy hearing people talk about the things they’re passionate about.

This book was more than I was expecting. Carrie is an excellent writer and storyteller; she manages to pull you in and keep you in place as she talks through embarrassing, glorious, sad, happy moments in perfect detail that make you wish the book was a little longer so she can keep talking to you about her life. There was never a moment where I hoped she would stop talking about one thing and move on to the next because she made it all sound so very interesting! I listened to the audiobook and her narration just makes it that bit more special.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is heartfelt and honest and raw and it’ll make you laugh and then cry with the turn of a page (no kidding. Just wait for the last chapter…). I would recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of music, especially if the Northwest music scene in the 1990s was your thing! And of course, it’s a must for fans of Sleater-Kinney and Carrie. You will appreciate the insight into some of the band’s best songs and enjoy a trip down memory lane.

Be First to Post Comment !
Post a Comment

Klik the button below to show emoticons and the its code
Hide Emoticon
Show Emoticon