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Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--And the Journey of a Generation

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

andlt;bandgt;andlt;bigandgt;andlt;BRandgt; A groundbreaking and irresistible biography of three of America's most important musical artists — Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon — charts their lives as women at a magical moment in time. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;/bigandgt;andlt;/bandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon remain among the most enduring and important women in popular music. Each woman is distinct. Carole King is the product of outer-borough, middle-class New York City; Joni Mitchell is a granddaughter of Canadian farmers; and Carly Simon is a child of the Manhattan intellectual upper crust. They collectively represent, in their lives and their songs, a great swath of American girls who came of age in the late 1960s. Their stories trace the arc of the now mythic sixties generation — female version — but in a bracingly specific and deeply recalled way, far from clichand#233;. The history of the women of that generation has never been written — until now, through their resonant lives and emblematic songs. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Filled with the voices of many dozens of these women's intimates, who are speaking in these pages for the first time, this alternating biography reads like a novel — except it's all true, and the heroines are famous and beloved. Sheila Weller captures the character of each woman and gives a balanced portrayal enriched by a wealth of new information. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; andlt;iandgt;Girls Like Usandlt;/iandgt; is an epic treatment of midcentury women who dared to break tradition and become what none had been before them — confessors in song, rock superstars, and adventurers of heart and soul.

Review:

"The epic story of three generational icons, this triple biography from author and Glamour senior editor Weller (Dancing at Ciro's) examines the careers of singer-songwriters Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, whose success reflected, enervated and shaped the feminist movement that grew up with them. After short sketches of their early years, Weller begins in earnest with the 1960s, switching off among the women as their public lives begin. A time of extremes, the "60s found folk music and feminist cultures just beginning to define themselves, while the buttoned-down mainstream was still treating unwed pregnant women, in Mitchell's terms, 'like you murdered somebody' (thus the big, traditional wedding thrown for King, pregnant by songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, in 1959). Pioneering success in the music business led inevitably to similar roles in women's movement, but Weller doesn't overlook the content of their songs and the effect they have on a generation of women facing 'a lot more choice,' but with no one to guide them. Taking readers in-depth through the late "80s, Weller brings the story up to date with a short but satisfying roundup. A must-read for any fan of these artists, this bio will prove an absorbing, eye-opening tour of rock (and American) history for anyone who's appreciated a female musician in the past thirty years. B&w photos." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Girls Like Us turns out to be unexpectedly captivating... a strong amalgam of nostalgia, feminist history, astute insight, beautiful music and irresistible gossip about the common factors in the three women's lives." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

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What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Marie Angell, July 20, 2008 (view all comments by Marie Angell)
Carole King. Joni Mitchell. Carly Simon. Three of the highest profile women in the music industry.

How did that happen?

Sheila Weller is happy to tell you, and tell you, and tell you, but, you're likely happy to sit there and listen, especially if you lived through the 60s and 70s, .

Ms. Weller does a pretty good job of putting these women in historical context, which gives the reader a chance to be in context as well. She also does a pretty fair portrait of these women and the individual journeys that brought them to the pinnacle of music industry success.

These kinds of books are not easy to write, I'll grant Ms. Weller that, and she bit off a big chunk. At times I felt the approach was a bit too precocious and artsy and would have just preferred that she get on with it instead of meandering around.

Then I felt she gave short shrift to the women's current lives. She tries, I suppose, but realizes that most people are more interested in how they got to the top, not what happens now that they're back among mere mortals like ourselves, especially if it's not full of drama.

While this book will undoubtedly appeal to Baby Boomers, it is a decent read for subsequent generations, who have enjoyed taking the roads paved by these women (and others, such as hey, how about more on Laura Nyro, whom Ms. Weller mentions several times) and probably don't know what the world of music was like for women. Or the world in general, for that matter. (It wasn't so long ago that unmarried pregnant women were treated very shabbily.)

Quite an enjoyable book, packed with a lot of perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed comparing notes with Carole, Carly and Joni.
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(8 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)
Jean MacDonald, June 27, 2008 (view all comments by Jean MacDonald)
I listened to these artists more than anyone else during my formative years. I always suspected that had a big impact on my worldview (especially when it comes to men!), and reading this book helped me understand how. Despite being overlong and in need of a good copyeditor, this book will fascinate any woman born during the baby boom. And any man who wonders where we got some of our ideas...
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(12 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
Stewart, May 18, 2008 (view all comments by Stewart)
Sheila Warner has written an interesting look into, not only the lives of the three great female singer-songwriters of the late '60s/early '70s, but the lives of many young women born around the end of WWII and what they went through during the antiseptic '50s and the open and wilder '60s. While a bit gossipy for my tastes and a tad too long, I did find the chapters on their respective journeys to stardom quite fascinating. I have been a huge fan of all three women's work and was very appreciative of what they had to go through to get to where they wanted.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780743491471
Publisher:
Atria Books
Subject:
Composers & Musicians - General
Author:
Weller, Sheila
Author:
She
Author:
ila Weller
Subject:
Women's Studies - General
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Rock musicians
Subject:
Singers
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Women's Studies - History
Subject:
Biography-Composers and Musicians
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20080431
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
3 8-pg b-w inserts
Pages:
592
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Folk » American Folk
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Rock » History
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Rock » Reference and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Music » History and Criticism
Biography » Composers and Musicians
Biography » Women
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies

Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--And the Journey of a Generation Used Hardcover
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$ In Stock
Product details 592 pages Atria Books - English 9780743491471 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The epic story of three generational icons, this triple biography from author and Glamour senior editor Weller (Dancing at Ciro's) examines the careers of singer-songwriters Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, whose success reflected, enervated and shaped the feminist movement that grew up with them. After short sketches of their early years, Weller begins in earnest with the 1960s, switching off among the women as their public lives begin. A time of extremes, the "60s found folk music and feminist cultures just beginning to define themselves, while the buttoned-down mainstream was still treating unwed pregnant women, in Mitchell's terms, 'like you murdered somebody' (thus the big, traditional wedding thrown for King, pregnant by songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, in 1959). Pioneering success in the music business led inevitably to similar roles in women's movement, but Weller doesn't overlook the content of their songs and the effect they have on a generation of women facing 'a lot more choice,' but with no one to guide them. Taking readers in-depth through the late "80s, Weller brings the story up to date with a short but satisfying roundup. A must-read for any fan of these artists, this bio will prove an absorbing, eye-opening tour of rock (and American) history for anyone who's appreciated a female musician in the past thirty years. B&w photos." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Girls Like Us turns out to be unexpectedly captivating... a strong amalgam of nostalgia, feminist history, astute insight, beautiful music and irresistible gossip about the common factors in the three women's lives."
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