Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Book Review: Girls Like Us

book cover
Even though I’ve been listening to Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon for decades, I had no idea I would enjoy Girls Like Us so much. Sheila Weller is a pop trivia queen and had to have spent hours hunched over microfilm machines, researching the minutiae of these ladies’ lives.

The interviewees go all the way back to neighborhood playmates and school chums, and the book is filled with information about the music scene starting in the early sixties, when Carole King started plinking out the melody to “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” with her husband, Gerry Goffin, in the Brill Building.

Out of the three, it's Joni Mitchell's music I enjoy the most. Her songs are more introspective and her talent can't be matched in the female singer/songwriter genre. Her song "Little Green" off her famous Blue album hinted at the baby she gave up for adoption when she was just a 21-year-old unknown named Joan Anderson, and I was touched at just how it affected her life until she finally met her daughter as a 32-year-old woman with a child of her own.

The tidbits of information on Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, Judy Collins, and others hanging around at that time are just as titillating. And if you have any interest whatsoever in James Taylor, there's no need to reach for a biography on him. You'll learn more than you'll ever want to know in Weller's book, and will feel for Carly Simon and what she went through during her marriage to this heroin addict.

Girls Like Us and Alice Hoffman's newest book duked it out on my nightstand every night for weeks, and more often than not the Girls won the fight.

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