Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon: And the Journey of a Generation
Sheila Weller. Atria, $27.95 (584pp) ISBN 978-0-7434-9147-1
The epic story of three generational icons, this triple biography from author and Glamour senior editor Weller (Dancing at Ciro's) examines the careers of singer-songwriters Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, whose success reflected, enervated and shaped the feminist movement that grew up with them. After short sketches of their early years, Weller begins in earnest with the 1960s, switching off among the women as their public lives begin. A time of extremes, the '60s found folk music and feminist cultures just beginning to define themselves, while the buttoned-down mainstream was still treating unwed pregnant women, in Mitchell's terms, ""like you murdered somebody"" (thus the big, traditional wedding thrown for King, pregnant by songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, in 1959). Pioneering success in the music business led inevitably to similar roles in women's movement, but Weller doesn't overlook the content of their songs and the effect they have on a generation of women facing ""a lot more choice,"" but with no one to guide them. Taking readers in-depth through the late '80s, Weller brings the story up to date with a short but satisfying roundup. A must-read for any fan of these artists, this bio will prove an absorbing, eye-opening tour of rock (and American) history for anyone who's appreciated a female musician in the past thirty years. B&w photos.
Reviewed on: 03/31/2008