Until recently, I was a member of the uninitiated. I knew Carrie Brownstein only from her excellent work on the IFC show Portlandia. So when I found this book placed on my desk, I was intrigued. My intrigue soon became embarrassment when I discovered how ignorant I was of Ms. Brownstein’s origins and contributions to modern culture. Guitarist of Sleater-Kinney, a band integral to the Pacific Northwest punk rock scene of the ’90s, and I had absolutely no idea. I must have been living under a rock for the past decade. But, I’ve always been a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to knowledge about music; so, I cut myself some slack and started to read the book.
I devoured it. Ms. Brownstein is one smart cookie. Her prose immediately sucked me in. She has a knack for crafting some of the most vivid descriptions that I have ever had the pleasure to read. This memoir is so literary; it easily stands up to other exalted works in the genre. Ms. Brownstein’s prose is imbued with character and style. She doesn’t just tell you what happened, she immerses you in the event, creating a framework of language that allows the reader to share in her emotional experiences. You are invited, through her words, to consider your own experiences and draw comparisons, which makes this memoir all the more special.
This is a book that you feel lucky to have discovered as a somewhat socially awkward creative teenage girl. Maybe you were an outcast, maybe you just felt like no one understood you. And then one day you find this on the public library shelf and start reading, only to realize that you actually aren’t alone and that maybe, just maybe, being an outcast is really, more normal than you might think.
Kudos to Carrie Brownstein for making us weirdos feel like we have a place in the world.
TEA PAIRING: A book written by such a strong and bold individual needs an equally strong and bold tea to match. Go with a powerful, alluring, and ever so slightly enigmatic tea like the smoky Russian Caravan blend to be transported into Ms. Brownstein’s world of music and self-discovery.