Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Book Review by Gary Kaill | 27 Nov 2015
Book title: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir
Author: Carrie Brownstein

'This what it feels like to be a fan: curious, open, desiring for connection, to feel like art has chosen you, claimed you as its witness.' In her long form debut, Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein emerges as a fan with an almost unquenchable thirst. And it's against this background, of how she shapes and directs her controlling passions, that her story plays out. 

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl succeeds on enough levels to make familiarity with Brownstein's career largely unnecessary. At times you want to look away: witness the death of her dog, and how her father deals with it, as a brutal indicator of family breakdown in extremis. But be prepared to laugh as she describes her early musical ventures ('We were like Fleetwood Mac but without the sex and the drugs and the hair and the music.') and routinely mocks her own undefined early position in a disorienting scene. 

Brownstein's candid, poetic and ideas-strewn narrative supports a gripping tale, that of a band whose extended hiatus saw them re-group in secret and re-emerge with No Cities To Love, an album comfortably the equal of much of their back catalogue. The final chapter, in which Brownstein reveals what happened when Sleater-Kinney finally played together again, will challenge even the hardest heart. It's an affecting endnote, one that perfectly bookends a dedication that almost writes itself: "For Corin and Janet."

Out now, published by Virago, RRP £16.99