I Wanna Be Literated! 109

I Wanna Be Literated! 109

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A critical evaluation of Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein.

The closest I ever got to seeing Sleater-Kinney was seeing Wild Flag play. Standing on the balcony, waiting through the opener’s set, there was Carrie Brownstein standing on the sidelines of the stage watching the set as well. I wondered if we’d get to interact with her. “She’s a rock star,” my then-girlfriend reminded me.

After the show, much to my surprise, a lot of people stayed behind to interact with the band, buying merch as the lights came on. The entire band was out with the crowd, chatting, answering questions, and taking pictures. Everyone, that is, except Carrie. She was indeed a rock star, or more of a celebrity, at that point, and the madness that would ensue if she came out to be friendly can be easily imagined. And that’s why she gets to write a book: out of all the people in Wild Flag and Sleater-Kinney, she’s the one people are most desperate to connect with.

I don’t know exactly where to place Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, because I’m not quite sure what Carrie was going for here. She said in an interview on WTF years ago that she was working on a book, that she was unhappy with how it was turning out, that it’s reading like a bunch of collected emails and that she might scrap that particular idea. Did that happen? I don’t know, but I can say that – whether it’s the same one or not – this book fails to be particularly engaging. In a nutshell, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl documents Brownstein’s childhood and her adulthood in Sleater-Kinney. What’s surprising here is how little she has to say about the whole experience or how little teeth her stories have, and this book does indeed end up reading like fragmented letters discussing her band, the recording of an album, going on tour and playing shows, down-time, and recording the next album. There are no juicy stories, no real gossip and nothing really that’s page-turning. Was life in Sleater-Kinney really so boring as this?

Throughout her adult life, Brownstein has tried to reinvent herself over and over again, as a rockstar, as a movie star, as an academic, as a humanitarian, and (sadly) as a dog owner. All of these interests are presented here as attempts to fill a void that Brownstein sees within herself, but none have met her satisfaction and, in the end, the book ends up feeling a bit hollow. Hunger has indeed made her the modern girl she is but, unfortunately, she’s eaten up most of the experiences, found none completely satisfying and left little for the rest of us. [OLLIE OTTOMAN]




Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl is available now. Buy it here on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Makes-Me-Modern-Girl/dp/1594486638?ie=UTF8&keywords=carrie%20brownstein%20hunger%20makes%20me%20a%20modern%20girl&qid=1464189135&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

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