The Importance of Music to Girls
By Lavinia Greenlaw
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374174545, 224pp.)
Publication Date: April 29, 2008
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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.
Lavinia Greenlaw has published two novels, including Mary George of Allnorthover, which won France’s Prix du Premier Roman, and three books of poetry. She lectures at Goldsmiths College and lives in London.
"Lavinia Greenlaw's memoir is like none I've ever read—it unravels identity like a novel. It is as spritely and as curious as an essay. Like music, it honors silence as much as it does sound. Greenlaw, a gifted mix-master of forms, has composed a coming-of-age experience that rings magically true for all of us." —Heidi Julavits, author of The Uses of Enchantment“Highly original . . . Beautiful . . . Will resonate with everyone who has ever danced around a handbag or played air guitar.” —Daily Mail