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One of the best books I read this year. Whether you know her work or not, the beauty of the writing raises this way above the ordinary.

brownsteinCarrie Brownstein will be increasingly known to modern audiences for her “other” work: writer and star of the award-winning satirical comedy series Portlandia and as a regular on the hit TV series Transparent.

But that’s not what this brilliant memoir is about. First – and absolutely foremost – Brownstein is one-third of the rock band Sleater-Kinney, which was born out of the feminist riot grrrl movement in America’s Pacific NW in 1994. Twelve years later, with seven studio albums under their belts, the group was named by critics as one of the most important rock groups of the ‘90s and ‘00s.

The structure of this early-life autobiography is conventional enough: unusual childhood, misfit teen, early music tries and failures, troubled touring life, success.

What makes it exceptional is the beauty of Brownstein’s writing and her unflinching honesty about herself and her life. She lays herself bare, and the reader is generously invited to see the world through her eyes and mind and heart.

After a personally disastrous final tour, the band went on hiatus in 2006. For their final show in Portland, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder joined them on stage, representing the respect the band had earned from many in the industry. Sleater-Kinney reformed in 2014, and will tour Australia early next year promoting a new album.

This is a treat  for anyone interested in music writing.

Corinna Hente

Book published in October 2015. This review first appeared in the Herald Sun’s Weekend magazine.

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