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Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon & the Journey of a Generation | [Sheila Weller]

Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon & the Journey of a Generation

Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Carly Simon remain among the most enduring and important women in popular music. Their stories trace the arc of the now-mythic generation known as "the 60s" - the female version. Filled with the voices of dozens of these women's intimates, this alternating biography reads like a novel. Except it's all true.
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Publisher's Summary

Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and Carly Simon remain among the most enduring and important women in popular music. Each woman is distinct: King is the product of outer-borough, middle-class New York City; Mitchell is the granddaughter of Canadian farmers; and Simon is a child of the Manhattan intellectual upper crust.

Collectively, they represent, in their lives and their songs, a great swath of American girls who came of age in the late 1960s. Their stories trace the arc of the now-mythic generation known as "the 60s" - the female version - but in a bracingly specific and deeply recalled way, far from cliché.

The history of the women of that generation had never been written - until now - and it is told through the resonant lives and emblematic songs of Mitchell, Simon, and King.

Filled with the voices of dozens of these women's intimates, this alternating biography reads like a novel - except it's all true, and the heroines are famous and beloved. Sheila Weller captures the character of each woman and gives a balanced portrayal, enriched by a wealth of new information.

Girls Like Us is an epic treatment of midcentury women who dared to break tradition and become what none had been before them: confessors in song, rock superstars, and adventurers of heart and soul.

©2008 Kellwell Inc.; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"An exhilarating look at three of the most creative talents of their era....Wonderfully detailed." (The Boston Globe)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (175 )
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3.6 (75 )
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3.3 (74 )
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Performance
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  •  
    N. Speroni 05-13-08
    N. Speroni 05-13-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good, but..."

    I've just finished listening - and came away with generally a good feeling about this book, even if - TMI - the exhaustive research could have been edited a bit. BUT - it was the narrator (Ms Ericksen) who annoyed me -with her numerous mispronunciations of names (oh well, if that sort of thing annoys you... then READ the book, I suppose). I loved the details about the early, formative years of these three women and the people who came into and out of their lives, shaping their creative talents from a very early age.

    28 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 11-16-08
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 11-16-08

    trying to see the world with my ears

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "social history lite (and middle class)"

    I had waited eagerly to listen to this and was VERY disappointed. It seemed as though sections from three distinct documents had gotten mixed in together: an earnest masters thesis on the reciprocal effects of 60s-70s pop music and social change, a pop analysis of the lyrics of the three artisits, and pages of back issues of People magazine. I'd give the social history pages four stars and the chatty People-esque
    sections none, especially the "sez a intimate friend/ elementary school classmate" parts.

    Perhaps the text version did a better job of showing what was primary versus secondary and tertiary reserach, but as a listen, the gossip was mostly indistinguishable from new research conducted for the book. I think if you like any of these artists enough to know this much detail about their love affairs, then you would have already gleamed the info from Rolling Stone yourself by now.

    The narrator was good, but as noted, prone to mispronunciations, and why oh why did the producer decide that she would deliver the lyrics in a stilted through gritted teeth pace rather than just READ them to us.

    I think the similarly themed "Laurel Canyon" did a better overall job. By the end, I started disliking all three woman as people, but gained new respect for King and Mitchel as artists. As Kris Kristofferson suppposedly said to Simon while having an affair: "Buck up. Toughen up!" and lose the self-absorption, ladies.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lily St. Augustine, FL, USA 07-27-09
    Lily St. Augustine, FL, USA 07-27-09 Member Since 2003
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    "But, do they have innies or outies?"

    Yes, this book contains every detail of the lives of these three women except that one... Unlike several other reviewers, I like lots of detail and often choose books for their length. (I wish I had counted every occurrence of the phrase "in an interview before his death in xxxx..." That sure made me feel mortal, since I'm only a decade younger than the subjects.)

    I chose the book because I liked Carole King and Joni Mitchell both pretty well, although I wasn't that familiar with the work of Carly Simon. In the end, I liked them all a lot LESS as people, but had greater respect for their work. It almost became laughable that there was so much swapping and hopping going on, but in an era of great sexual freedom, it's not difficult to believe. And, hey, who knew James Taylor got around so much, and that Crosby, Still and Nash were so interchangeable in the boudoir?

    The narrator has a pleasant enough voice, but I agree that the mispronunciations were irritating! Why don't producers of audio books do a better job of preparing readers so they don't do this?! Mispronouncing words is bad enough, but mispronouncing names is egregious! And her recitation of lyrics was awful - especially when it was a drawn out word, like in "Anticipation". Wouldn't it have been lovely if the reader had SUNG the few lyrics in the book?

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rae Billings, MT, United States 05-01-10
    Rae Billings, MT, United States 05-01-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very disappointed"

    I was looking forward to the "back story" of a period I lived through and artists I admire. The narrator was so annoying - couldn't even pronouce correctly some of the names and word she was saying. On top of which her lame attempts to emphasize the lyrics to the songs was so bad that I couldn't even finish listening. A real shame.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy R. Hepp 06-17-08 Member Since 2006
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    "Can't do it"

    I'm sorry, I love these 3 ladies, but I just cannot finish this book. The detail after detail after detail is beyond boring. It's kinda like attending a wedding where you only peripherally know the bride, and the aunt sitting next to you is giving you a blow-by-blow biography of each and every one of her 84 grandchildren. Maybe an abridged version would be better?

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mae Bird Jackson, WY 09-27-10
    Mae Bird Jackson, WY 09-27-10 Member Since 2009

    MB

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    "Boring as can be"

    Nothing to do with the narrator, this book is one of the most boring, unorganized, tangential, dull books on this very interesting subject. I could not get through reading the book, so I downloaded it.

    SKIP IT. There are many other books more interesting and better written than this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia R. Hanavan 01-30-13
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    "Interesting picture of an era"

    Great research to tell the stories of these three women--and of the great changes that they were part of as their generation came of age. A wonderful book for the information about their lives, music, and milieu, less great for the actual writing, which was often unclear and clunky.

    The narration, while lively and listenable, contained lots of egregious pronunciation errors that distracted from the text. The attempt to rhythmically but tunelessly speak song lyrics was also painful. I'd prefer to hear either a "straight" reading--i.e., as if the verses were poetry--or a reasonable singer replicating the tune a little bit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alejandra Viaduc 07-09-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Took a bit to get into, but enjoyed very much!"
    What did you like best about Girls Like Us? What did you like least?

    I had very little former knowledge about these three women, or any of the other artists I found out about in the book. I'm glad I chose a book tape format as opposed to the paper copy because it's very long and very slow. i would never have finished if I had to flip the pages. NOT because it was a bad book, because it was not. I had a hard time in the beginning, thinking that the mention of experiences or other characters was irrelevant, but it turned out to all come back around and put the pieces together through the middle and end. But I get very antsy. I listen to my books at 1.5x and 2x speed, if that helps you understand my antsy-ness. I like tot get tot eh point and this isn't a cut to the chase story. But it is still very much worth reading if you dig history in any way.


    Did Girls Like Us inspire you to do anything?

    Listen to the music, research some of the artists further, and talk o my mom about it :) Since that was her time. This book was her upbringing.


    Any additional comments?

    I got really cranky at how many time the phrase "Who would be" was used. You'll see.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail DUPONT, WA, United States 11-21-11
    Gail DUPONT, WA, United States 11-21-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Those Girls.."

    Susan Erickson narration takes you back as if you were growing up and going through Carly's, Carole and Joni's lives right with them. Wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Thomas La Vista, NE, US 09-26-09
    John Thomas La Vista, NE, US 09-26-09 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Girls Like..."

    Art and music reflects a culture at a particular time. The music/lyrics from these women have stood the test of time. Weller captures the time and the emotions that the lyrics describes. I have a better understanding of this period as I was a teenager/young adult during this period. An awesome "read".

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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