Review: Girl in a Band

Kim Gordon’s memoir of nearly 30 years of marriage and music.



Read: Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

Stars: Three

Drinking: BlackcurrantĀ & Vanilla, Twinings

I did not enjoy Gordon’s memoir as much as I hoped. Gordon is an artist, a feminist, and a musician who lived through a formative period in modern American art and music. She name drops connections from modern art, the New York art scene from the 70s and 80s, and musicians from the No Wave and punk movements. I have no frame of reference for most of these things, and frequently she just assumes that the reader knows who she is talking about and moves on. Despite her great writing style, I struggled to connect.

I think my main problem with Gordon’s memoir is that it is tinged with regret and lingering anger over the breakup with her longtime husband and music partner, Thurston Moore. A lot of sections, particularly in the series of essays about their albums and tours and specific songs, where she talks about how she “should have known” or how Moore treated her badly are incredibly bitter and difficult to read. Her perspective of the albums and the band’s history is affected by the breakup. The focus on their failed relationship inhibits more than enhances the narrative.

Also, can we talk about the title? I know it’s meant to reflect what the music magazines were calling her (“What’s it like to be a girl in a band?”), but for a woman who is so invested in feminism, it’s an odd choice.

I really wanted to like Girl in a Band. I wanted it to be another on my list of great feminist memoirs. But it falls short.

Author: Lisa M Fry

Freelance writer & copy-editor. Book lover. Feminist. American in London.

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