Book Review | Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, by Carrie Brownstein
I think all of us hold an imaginary version of ourselves in our hearts.
Just a little picture of what might have been, or could be, or won’t ever be but you still kind of pretend that you are really that person, just hidden under responsibility and maturity and all that.
Or is that just me?
Somewhere under the surface, completely invisible to the naked eye, I hide a secret persona inside.
My secret life as a rebel, a punk, a rocker.
It sneaks out, that persona.
It’s what gives me more of an attitude than you expect. It’s what makes me push the bounds of office appropriate.
It’s the person I might have been – if I’d gone to more shows in high school. If I’d been a bit more dedicated to playing the bass. If my first tattoo hadn’t been quite so painful. If I tolerated late nights better. If I’d been more into the scene when I lived in Olympia.
Most of me knows that isn’t me. Not the real me. But it’s lurking under the surface.
And, man, if it didn’t love the hell out of Carrie Brownstein’s memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.
For those of you who need a memory jog – Carrie Brownstein was a founding member of the riotous Sleater-Kinney, killing it on stage in the riot grrrl era of feminist punk in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. The band’s lineup featured Corin Tucker, Janet Weiss and Carrie Brownstein, and was named America’s best rock band in 2001. After a hiatus, Sleater-Kinney returned in 2015 with a new album, No Cities to Love, and announced a tour.
Carrie Brownstein also hit the mainstream with the ever binge-watchable Portlandia.
Remember when I was complaining about slugging my way through Les Mis? This was the opposite reading experience. I started and finished this beautiful beautiful book within a matter of 48 hours.
And I was trying to pace myself.
I was struck as soon as I opened the book by the smooth and academic sound of Brownstein’s written word. If any of you are familiar with the quasi-chaotic mix that is Sleater-Kinney, you might find it a bit surprising as well. Brownstein’s writing is measured – contemplative and introspective – articulating deliberately and clearly the world that she grew up in, and the home she made in the riot grrrl movement.
It’s a special thing, to get a glimpse inside of someone else’s world.