25 January 2016

Review: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Review: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie BrownsteinThoughts before Reading/Listening

  • I'm not sure why I picked up Carrie Brownstein's memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl because I've never seen Portlandia or listened to Sleater-Kinney.
  • What's more, I usually run like a crazy person from author-narrated audiobooks.
  • However, I'm always interested in the truths behind a so-called glamorous or blessed life. As for the audiobook, I figured Brownstein's experience on the music stage, in front of the camera, and in the recording studio would serve her well.
What's It About?
  • Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is a well-written and thoughtful memoir by musician, writer, and actor Carrie Brownstein.
  • She talks about her childhood, her parents, and the rise of her band Sleater-Kinney.
  • More than just a chronology, Brownstein has things to say about sexuality, feminism, the music industry, and friendship. She talks about her insecurities and strengths, her successes and failures.
Thoughts after Reading/Listening
  • Being famous can often mean giving up privacy and control of your personal sphere. For example, Brownstein writes about being outed as gay in a magazine article before she had found the time, place, and way to tell her family and friends.
  • Sexism is as present in the music world as it is any other profession. One message of Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl is the fact that even in the twenty-first century, artists like Brownstein and cutting-edge bands like Sleater-Kinney are always described with some variation of the word female or woman: A great girl band, a powerful female vocalist, and so on. Why not just a great band period?
  • I was impressed with Brownstein's honesty and self-awareness, though this is not a tell-all memoir.
  • Life on the road sucks.
  • It pays to be bold, but not recklessly so.
  • This is a fairly literary memoir; Brownstein is articulate and well-spoken. She does, however, engage in some subtle name-dropping, and I wasn't always sure of the point--except perhaps that she wanted to say "I knew this musician / designer / artist."
  • Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl has little to say about Portlandia.
  • Fans of the Riot Grrrl movement and of Sleater-Kinney will love the details about song writing and album making. Even if you're not familiar with Brownstein's music, these sections are still interesting.
Thoughts about the Audiobook
  • Carrie Brownstein did a fine job narrating Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl. She was easy to understand and expressive. Brownstein was clearly enthusiastic about telling her story but didn't cross the line to over-the-top dramatic. Don't hesitate to try the audiobook.
  • Audiobook bonus: Don't miss the interview between Carrie Brownstein and Sarah Jaffe (audiobook producer). I loved hearing Brownstein's unrehearsed reactions to the questions and gaining extra insight into her personality.
  • Data: Penguin Audio; 7 hr, 4 min
Published by Penguin Random House / Riverhead, 2015
ISBN-13: 9781594486630
Source: Review: print & audio (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Literate Housewife 1/25/16, 7:37 AM  

I've got a copy of this waiting for a listen. I'm looking foward to it. I am familiar with her because of Portlandia, but I'm most interested in her life in music. It sounds like this delivers. Thanks for the review.

Daryl 1/25/16, 9:18 AM  

never watched portlandia - not a fan of the actors - and while this sounds interesting non fiction is not my cuppa .. but thanks!

Majanka Verstraete 1/25/16, 11:16 AM  

Never heard of this book, but it sounds interesting. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

Majanka @ I Heart Reading.

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/25/16, 12:28 PM  

This sounds like something my niece would enjoy, great review here.

Jackie Mc Guinness 1/25/16, 1:51 PM  

Added to my TBR list, thanks!!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) 1/25/16, 6:41 PM  

I've been thinking about this one but wavering on the audio book -- glad to hear she was a good narrator of the story!

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