Book Review: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Carrie Brownstein

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

By Carrie Brownstein

Penguin Random House | 2015

carrie brownstein

Carrie Brownstein has presented herself to the world in the past couple of decades as a renaissance lady. A sick guitar player an incredible lyricist in the Olympian band Sleater-Kinney and more recently, as Fred Armisen’s other half producing, directing, and acting in the satirical comedy TV show about Portland, OR called Portlandia. When her memoir arrived to our office I assumed it wouldn’t be dissimilar to her comedic peers’ recent autobiographies like Yes, Please by Amy Poehler or Bossypants by Tina Fey. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find Brownstein’s book much deeper, better written, and more poetic than any memoir I have read this year. Trumping Kim Gordon in vulnerability and beating out Poehler in linguistic prowess, Brownstein’s book is revealing both in a melancholic personal way and in an honest band dynamic sense.

Here is an excerpt from chapter 5 of her book when she describes seeing Heavens to Betsy (Corin Tucker’s band pre Sleater-Kinney) live in her college town.

“The noise they made in Heavens to Betsy was vicious and strange. It completely changed one’s notion of what it meant to be powerful onstage. It was not about strength in numbers or in size. It had nothing to do with volume. It was about surprise. It was about knowing you were going to be underestimated by everyone and then punishing them for those very thoughts.”

Her bravery comes through in yet another format. Carrie Brownstein is a writer as well.

— Mindy Abovitz

Previous ArticleNext Article