Monday, November 8, 2010
Book Review: Talking to Girls About Duran Duran
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran (2010) by Rob Sheffield
Inside Jacket: Growing up in the eighties, you were surrounded by mysteries. These were the years of MTV and John Hughes movies, the era of big dreams and bigger shoulder pads. Like any teenage geek, Rob Sheffield spent the decade searching for true love and maybe a cooler haircut. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is his tale of stumbling into adulthood with a killer soundtrack. Inept flirtations. Dumb crushes. Deplorable fashion choices. Girls, every last one of whom was madly in love with the bassist of Duran Duran. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is a journey through the pop culture of an American adolescence that will remind you of your first crush, first car, and first kiss. But it's not just a book about music. This is a book about moments in time, and the way we obsess over them through the years.
Review: There was a time in my life when I religiously read and collected Spin, Q, and Rolling Stone. I was insanely up-to-date on music, bands, albums and who's who in the recording industry. I was buying new CDs twice a week. This is no longer the case (and I feel tenderly for those days, I do, but it was like a full-time job). However, reading Sheffield's book was kind of a nice throwback to reading about music. Despite the fact that I am happily able to sing along to Depeche Mode, the music of Sheffield's teenage years is a little before my time. But he recounts the 80s--and the music of the 80s--with a self-aware nostalgia that's hard not to like. Sheffield's memoir is funny and tender, both intimately personal and universally applicable. His lovingly humorous accounts of life with his family, trolling the streets in his ice cream truck, and rockin' out make for a bittersweet snapshot of times gone by and Sheffield's own coming-of-age.
Conclusion: 4/5. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran is deftly written, peppered with humor, pop culture commentary, and introspection about what it means to be a teen growing up on the tunes of the time.