Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon were among the women singers/songwriters whose music defined a generation: the hippie baby-boomers coming of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Sheila Weller’s book, “Girls Like Us,” explores the trio’s intertwining lives and how their successes changed the music industry. It’s a fascinating look at these women’s beginnings, their personal and professional struggles and the men who inspired them (although not always for the good). It’s also an homage to the rise of feminism and the fast-track advances in women’s rights from one decade to the next. Sounds like a must-read, right? Well, maybe. It’s long — more than 500 pages — detailed and peppered with references and observations that do nothing to move the story along. Also, Weller writes with interminably long sentences, relies on distracting hyphens and parentheses and can’t disguise an annoying sort of exclusionary elitist attitude that’s prejudicial and unattractive. For example, she believes that the only smart and progressive women found in America in the early1960s were at the elite Northeastern women’s colleges. Really? Hmmm … That’s just one instance of Weller’s biased and insider approach. But, that being said, I’m glad I read this book. If you’ve ever belted out Simon’s “You’re So Vain,” if King’s “Tapestry” is on your best-album-ever list or if a mellow mood sends you to Mitchell’s “Clouds,” this is the book for you. But if you like quick reads and straightforward writing, it’s not.
Published by shoalswriter
I'm a freelance writer, editor and marketing consultant focusing on style, history, food and the arts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. I'm also an adjunct journalism instructor and writing coach. My husband is a newspaper sports editor, and he and I are from middle Tennessee. Older Daughter and her husband, an artist and high-school art teacher, live nearby with our three young grandsons. Younger Daughter works in PR and event planning and also lives nearby. View all posts by shoalswriter