cover image Face It

Face It

Debbie Harry. Dey Street, $29.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-074958-3

The singer of the New Wave band Blondie and star of art-house movies Videodrome and Hairspray looks back on lots of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll in this rough-and-tumble memoir. Harry recounts her plunge into bohemian New York in the 1960s and her navigation of the music scene as it shifted from hippiedom to disco to punk. It’s a story of creative ferment, as she infused the burgeoning punk aesthetic into her own glammed-up style—Marilyn Monroe with “a dark, provocative, aggressive side”—and used Method acting techniques to hone her singing while slogging through gigs in gloriously grungy clubs including CBGB’s and L.A.’s Whiskey a Go Go . Her portrait of Blondie’s success in the late ’70s feels less effervescent, full of wearisome touring and business wrangles. Harry offers a frank look at her life on the edge, including “oversexed” erotic adventures, a mugging and rape that she shrugs off (“the stolen guitars hurt me more”), an attempted abduction by a man she thinks may have been serial killer Ted Bundy, and unapologetic drug use. (“Heroin was a great consolation,” she reflects of a period when she supplied herself and her hospitalized bandmate and boyfriend Chris Stein with the narcotic.) The narrative rambles, but Blondie fans will love its piquant atmospherics and the energy and honesty of Harry’s take on her singular saga. (Oct.)