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#91615 - 07/19/12 03:38 PM August 2012 Selection: Rat Girl by Kristin Hersh
LaSalleUGirl Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/25/01
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Our August selection is Rat Girl, the memoir of Kristin Hersh, the founder of Throwing Muses, an 1980s indie band. Simon Reynolds notes, that the book is "a startlingly funny and touching memoir of her mid-Eighties moment as the bi- polar, pregnant, intermittently homeless frontwoman of a rising indie-rock band. It's a gripping journey into mental chaos and out the other side."

For more information, check out the reviews on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rat-Girl-Memoir-Kr...ywords=rat+girl

Discussion begins on August 15. Happy reading!

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#91643 - 08/02/12 08:03 AM Re: August 2012 Selection: Rat Girl by Kristin Hersh [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
LaSalleUGirl Moderator
Ching Shih


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*bump*
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#91645 - 08/04/12 07:36 PM Re: August 2012 Selection: Rat Girl by Kristin Hersh [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
Kivrin Moderator
Ching Shih


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The U.K version of the memoir is called Paradoxical Undressing, which I think is a much better title for this book. And, there's a Kindle edition which has a very cool cover.

It took me awhile to get into the awkward pacing of the book, but now I'm hooked. It's not very linear, and it is definitely stream-of-consciousness styled, and I think that's why it was tricky reading at first.

I've always like Kristin's voice, and it had been a long time since I'd listened to her, but I've unearthed all her solo CDs, and it's nice to revisit the music. I know I used to own earlier Throwing Muses discs, but I sure can't find them now...

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#91656 - 08/09/12 12:27 PM Re: August 2012 Selection: Rat Girl by Kristin Hersh [Re: Kivrin]
LaSalleUGirl Moderator
Ching Shih


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*bump* Just under a week until we begin discussing Rat Girl. I agree with Kivrin that the UK title is much better!
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#91657 - 08/10/12 02:55 PM Re: August 2012 Selection: Rat Girl by Kristin Hersh [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
Kivrin Moderator
Ching Shih


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A short film about Kristin Hersh and her live multimedia performance based on her memoir, "Paradoxical Undressing"

Here's the link.

Kristin reads from her book, sounding ever much like an 18 year old, and sings with her guitar, sounding very much her true age. Nice montage of photo landscapes in between. Lovely stuff. Hope you all are enjoying the memoir...

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#91665 - 08/15/12 10:35 AM Re: August 2012 Selection: Rat Girl by Kristin Hersh [Re: Kivrin]
LaSalleUGirl Moderator
Ching Shih


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I wanted to make sure to open this topic for discussion. The summer bridge program that I run starts tomorrow. In preparation for this program, I worked a full day on Monday, went home for a few hours, returned to work at 10:00 p.m. and didn't leave again until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday. I'm tired, is what I'm saying, and I haven't finished reading yet.

I did START reading, though, so I figured I'd at least record some initial impression. Something in the early pages of the book struck me as off-putting, although I couldn't quite put my finger on what. That impression didn't last, though, and I found myself totally absorbed in the description of the band's gig and of Kristin's conversations with Betty.

I just reached the point where Kristin starts hallucinating (the "I wouldn't go back to the Doghouse, so it came and got me" part). She writes, "I knew that once you go to hell, you have to go back. I just didn't realize it was true."

I almost started crying when I read that line. [family/personal drama follows -- don't feel compelled to read the rest] As most of you know, my younger sister committed suicide five years ago, and I think that exact observation is the reason why she did so. She was hospitalized at 18 for an extended period of time for schizoaffective disorder (we think -- she never got an official diagnosis, but she had auditory hallucinations combined with elements of bipolar disorder) and repeated, brutal suicide attempts. She was on "constant observation" for nearly all of that time (i.e., a staff member had to have in her sight at at times) and she STILL managed to self-injure and attempt suicide almost every day.

She worked really hard to recover from that period, and after some time, she got herself to a point where she had a longterm, stable relationship, held down a steady job in which she was highly respected and given additional responsibilities as her employers recognized her capability, and went back to school to become a nurse. And then the Doghouse came and got her.

I'm glad that Kristin managed a more permanent escape in the long run.


More later once I've finished. I'm really looking forward to watching the film Kivrin posted, but that will have to be a post-summer-bridge thing.

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#91666 - 08/15/12 08:58 PM Re: August 2012 Selection: Rat Girl by Kristin Hersh [Re: LaSalleUGirl]
Kivrin Moderator
Ching Shih


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Jaime, first of all, you are brave to read this book at all, which resonates so closely to your personal experience. Thank you for sharing that with us. I did know a bit about your sister, but I didn't know the extent of the situation. Sigh.

I think we were feeling the same "off-putting" something at first, and then, yes, once you catch onto the style of writing, (which I thought captured Kristin's teenage voice well), understood the italicized parts were the childhood, and the bold lines were from song lyrics, then it all began to flow.

I listened to the band in the mid 80s, as they were one of the "college bands" I was listening to at the time, along with REM, Romeo Void, The Smiths, Talk Talk, etc...but honestly, I didn't think they were that good. So, when Kristin writes about hoping they don't "suck" onstage, I can see why she would have felt that way. Here's a great example of their music from those days, in a series of demos. They sound so young and raw. I really started listening to the more evolved Kristin Hersh when she went solo, or sung with Tanya Donnelly (Tea, in the book). So, I definitely have recommendations of some of my favorite music from the 90s into the early 00's.

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