Kim Gordon is one of my idols. She’s a woman I look up to, the kind of woman I want to be. She seems so effortlessly cool, and is involved in creating such interesting art. She sang and played bass in Sonic Youth, and seemed to have a dream marriage with her bandmate Thurston Moore. They were the kind of couple who made me believe in the possibility of having a loving creative partnership. But then he cheated, and the band broke up, and they got divorced. That happened in 2011, and this book came out in 2015.
There are wonderful parts about being a woman in the music industry, and about balancing art and motherhood. She’s still one of my idols and role models. But the big takeaway was the pervasive sense of bitterness and heartbreak.
Almost every part of book is colored by the way Gordon’s relationship with Moore ended. The early parts of her biography, growing up in California raised by liberal parents with a bipolar older brother, are fascinating and untouched, but everything that comes after meeting Moore in New York has to be read in relation to his betrayal.
Of course she’s bitter. That’s to be expected. There are still times where it still hurts to read. I guess this is one of the differences in reading a memoir vs reading a novel. With a novel, even when a relationship ends badly, the initial romance is usually still presented as a romance, not a tragedy. I guess I’m the sort of person who wants to believe that even failed romances had their moments, and that at one point my heros were happy and in love. And they probably were, at one point, but with the rawness of Gordon’s writing this doesn’t really come across.
Overall it’s a really incredible book. It makes me want to go out and be creative and awesome. She’s a messy wonderful woman writing about her journey and her heartbreak.