The Importance of Music to Girls
is the story of the adventures that music leads us into—how it forms and transforms us. As a soundtrack, it’s there in the background while we go about the thrilling and mortifying business of growing up: raging, falling in love, wanting to change the world. Lavinia Greenlaw turns the volume up loud, and in prose of pure fury and beauty makes us remember how the music came first.
For Greenlaw, music—from bubblegum pop to classical piano to the passionate catharsis of punk rock—is at first the key to being a girl and then the means of escape from all that, a way to talk to boys and a way to do without them. School reports and diary entries reveal the girl behind them searching for an identity through the sounds that compelled her generation. Crushing on Donny Osmond and his shiny teeth, disco dancing in four-inch wedge heels and sparkly eye shadow, being mesmerized by Joy Division’s suicidally brilliant Ian Curtis—Greenlaw has written a razor-sharp remembrance of childhood and adolescence, filtered through the art that strikes us at the most visceral level of all.