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The Importance of Music to Girls by Lavinia…

The Importance of Music to Girls

by Lavinia Greenlaw

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1059114,970 (3.11)8



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Interesting and disturbing. I think disturbing because to me it felt so incomplete- the vignettes were so brief, so sketchy that it didn't give me much of a sense of Greenlaw as a person. Once I got over the notion that I was going to learn anything about her, the going was easier. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
memoir, music ( )
  CNeedham | Sep 20, 2009 |
A review I read somewhere characterized "The Importance of Music to Girls" as a feminine "High Fidelity." I think it's much more emotionally unsettled, ambiguous and thorny than that, although it does share the same fundamental passion for music as an informing thread in one's formative years. And yes, the mix tape as love letter and personal statement makes appearances here, too.

Uneven at first (perhaps attributable to some of the pieces being published or read elsewhere), the collection picks up momentum and cohesiveness and gains focus as Greenlaw gets to punk music and, ironically, struggles with what she wants to do with her future. "Unquiet," which links Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther" and Shakespeare's Hamlet with Joy Division's enigmatic and tragic Ian Curtis, is particularly moving. ( )
  vickiz | Feb 17, 2009 |
Although there are some lovely moments in the prose, overall this book is weak and self-indulgent. This writer may be talented and sensitive in other texts, but this one left me uninterested and uninspired. ( )
  laVermeer | Nov 11, 2008 |
If Nick Hornby was a girl and wrote memoirs, this is what he'd write. But instead, it's music geeked out from a woman's point of view. Really wonderful, one to own. ( )
  sarahlouise | Nov 8, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Book description
Read over Christmas 2008. Woman grew up in Essex suspectedly very close to my home town of Chelmsford as various references. Found pretentious self absorbed and didnt gain much insight into what made her tick
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374174547, Hardcover)

The Importance of Music to Girls is the story of the adventures that music leads us into—how it forms and transforms us. As a soundtrack, it’s there in the background while we go about the thrilling and mortifying business of growing up: raging, falling in love, wanting to change the world. Lavinia Greenlaw turns the volume up loud, and in prose of pure fury and beauty makes us remember how the music came first.

For Greenlaw, music—from bubblegum pop to classical piano to the passionate catharsis of punk rock—is at first the key to being a girl and then the means of escape from all that, a way to talk to boys and a way to do without them. School reports and diary entries reveal the girl behind them searching for an identity through the sounds that compelled her generation. Crushing on Donny Osmond and his shiny teeth, disco dancing in four-inch wedge heels and sparkly eye shadow, being mesmerized by Joy Division’s suicidally brilliant Ian Curtis—Greenlaw has written a razor-sharp remembrance of childhood and adolescence, filtered through the art that strikes us at the most visceral level of all.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:46 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A girl's emotional and aesthetic response to music is the chief concern of British novelist and poet Greenlaw's (Mary George of Allnorthover) memoir. This introspective tale of coming of age in and around London, primarily in rural Essex in the 1970s, conveys the growth and formation of the protagonist's character through her evolving relationship to music in all its forms, from the Sex Pistols to her mother's singing to disco dancing in platform heels, and the insecure, adolescent Greenlaw finally finds understanding in punk music.… (more)

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