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Memoir Monday: Hunger Makes Me A Hungry Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, Carrie Brownstein

Happy Monday!

Today is the beginning of a new series on The Book Gawker in which a memoir that I read the past week will be featured every Monday! Memoirs are some of my favorite books to read. They lend a sort of authenticity and relatability to people who we typically see from afar, their stories laid out for us to read or listen to in a such a way that we might understand the experiences that shaped their lives both privately and publicly.

It's Women's History Month, so I found it fitting that this week's memoir was, Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein. Maybe (presently) best known for her work in the comedy series, Portlandia, Carrie Brownstein first made her name known as one third of the indie punk rock girl band trio, Sleater-Kinney. I found her memoir to be funny and insightful as she chronicled her days growing up in Redmond, Washington putting on talent shows with neighborhood children, to haunting record stores as a highschooler and eventually making her way into the indie punk rock scene after leaving college to pursue her career as a musician.

Brownstein's memoir begins with the day that Sleater-Kinney, the band that helped shape her life, her "rescue and salvation," ceased to exist - blown to oblivion by the author herself. From here, she backtracks, retelling stories of her childhood and upbringing in the Seattle suburb of Redmond and her adolescent yearnings to find herself as a musician. As a high school student, she learned guitar, forming one loose band after another before graduating and briefly attending Western Washington University. Her time at school was short, as she met Corin Tucker and moved to Olympia to pursue music.

Influenced by Seattle and Olympia based feminist punk rock bands such as Bikini Kill, 7 Year Bitch, Heavens to Betsy, and other riot grrrl bands of the 90's Brownstein and Tucker formed Sleater-Kinney to produce their own feminist, rock n roll sound. The formation of Sleater-Kinney and the years that followed were the most gripping parts of the memoir for me. The lives of these women, like the music they made, were gritty, raw and wholly unromantic. I loved that these qualities translated to Brownstein's writing of this book, it was an opportunity to really get to know the cool girl musician that she is.

Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl is for the feminist punk rockers, or anyone interested in an inside look at one of the most critically acclaimed rock bands of the 90's. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if you're looking for a great memoir this is one to consider adding to your list.


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