“Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl” – Carrie Brownstein (2015)
By: Tracie Marrose
“My story starts with me as a fan. And to be a fan is to know that loving trumps being beloved. All the affection I poured into bands, into films, into actors and musicians, was about me and about my friends.”
Carrie Brownstein used to be my age. She grew up blaring loud music and singing along even louder. She lived in a college town. She went to concerts and lost herself in the music while being mesmerized by the performers on stage.
What Carrie Brownstein used to be, sounds a lot like who I am – and most girls my age are – now. Before reading “Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl,” I never thought about what Carrie was like before Sleater-Kinney. When I listen to my favorite bands, I have this concrete picture in my head that those people were born to make music and that they have been successful since day one. I know that this is silly and extremely naïve, but I am not always thinking about the fact that each musician I love has had a whole life- just like mine before they were headlining shows to crowds of 20,000+ people.
There’s a certain magic to musicians that make me feel like they are not of this planet. After reading “Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl,” I am more aware than ever that these mythical guitar-shredding, flawless creatures are just like everybody else – including me.
In her memoir, Carrie does not hold back. I found myself being able to relate to events that she has lived through. Digging deep into her past, Carrie narrates stories from her confusing and emotional childhood to the turbulence that existed early in the relationship between her and Corin Tucker to what her life is like today.
Carrie’s narration is so thoughtful, well-written, and innocent; you’ll feel as if you had known her for 20 years. Whether or not you are a fan of this adorable polynomial woman, this book is a inspirational and empowering read for any woman.
I wanted to include an excerpt from “Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl.” This particular passage really stuck out to me to the point where I have been thinking about it almost every day. As a disclaimer, I am a HUGE Nirvana fan, but I feel as if any person (especially music lover) would find this excerpt as fascinating as I do. I even got goosebumps as I typed it out. Enjoy, my fellow readers!
“A girl at Western named Andie – lumbering and slouched, but way more motivated and less self-conscious than I was – immediately got involved in the radio station, wanting to bring bands to the school. In that fall of 1992, she brought Mudhoney to Western. We learned that there was going to be a surprise guest, and that the guest would be Nirvana. They would “open” the show.
When Nirvana took the stage, they played in front of an audience that didn’t really expect or deserve their presence – which was probably all they had hoped for at that moment. I, of course, completely took for granted the fact that they likely felt lucky they could still surprise anyone, that they could sneak onto a stage and play a normal show, that they could open for friends in a small college town in their home state, that they could pretend to still just be some normal guys. I took for granted that set, the ease and exuberance of it. They played mostly off Nevermind, just three people with the best songs you’ve ever heard, scrappy and guttural and really loud. And as openers for Mudhoney you could really hear the context from which all this was happening: chainsaws making sonic carvings, hollowed-out selves amplified and discordant. There was some thread of sweetness underneath, a melodic sense that hit you in the back of the throat and made you want to raise up a weary, tentative fist, hoping that gesture would mark you as having been found, or ready to no longer feel lost.” (Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, C. Brownstein, Pages 58-59)