GIRLS LIKE US
“Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon-- and the Journey of a Generation” by Sheila Weller. A little ways in I thought to myself: this is one of the best books about music that I’ve ever read. Eventually I realized no, this is just plain one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Weller chronicles the lives and work of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon while contextualizing them in the era they’ve moved through. The intertwining stories have a lot to say about what it’s meant to be female during this time, and how each woman has both affected and been affected by the norms and changes thereof.
While I’ve always appreciated Carole King and have been a longtime Joni Mitchell fan, the real surprise here has been delving into the work of Carly Simon. I’d never really listened to her before, and delving into her first few albums, I have to say she’s an ingenious writer. Even the radio hits I’ve thought I was familiar with resonate a lot more with the background provided in this book.
“Girls Like Us” does a great job of exploring the work and personal lives of each subject, getting just as intimate as necessary for an examination of such confessional artists. This is a truly rewarding book. I’ll probably read it again someday.