OVERRIDE

The Importance of Music to Girls

Lavinia Greenlaw

Picador

Lavinia Greenlaw’s memoir, 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. Greenlaw, in prose of pure fury and beauty, makes us remember how the music came first.

For her, 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.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Importance of Music to Girls

"Has the precision and intensity of prose poetry . . . brilliantly traces the shaping of a rich, complex self."--Chicago Tribune

"A brief, masterful memoir."--The New Yorker

"Exhilarating . . . perfectly evokes the sense of release and rebellion of a teenage girl driving through the countryside with boyfriends, blasting heavy metal on the car radio. . . . An amazing feat of inventiveness."--Salon.com

"Greenlaw brings her youth to life in this book. . . . Readers will hear the accompanying sound track wafting off the pages."--The Washington Post

"Highly original . . . will resonate with everyone who has ever danced around a handbag or played air guitar."--Daily Mail (UK)

"Highly original . . . I’ve never read anything like it."--The Buffalo News

"adorable...poignantly musing...and genuinely rueful."--The Los Angeles Times

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Lavinia Greenlaw

  • LAVINIA GREENLAW is a novelist and poet. She was once in a band. She lives in London and is a professor of creative writing at the University of East Anglia.

  • Lavinia Greenlaw Sarah Lee
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The Importance of Music to Girls

Lavinia Greenlaw

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Picador

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