Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review: Talking to Girls About Duran, Duran

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut by Rob Sheffield

(For review from Dutton/Penguin)


The author of the national bestseller Love is a Mix Tape returns, with a different-but equally personal and equally universal- spin on music as memory.

"No rock critic-living or dead, American or otherwise-has ever written about pop music with the evocative, hyperpoetic perfectitude of Rob Sheffield."

So said Chuck Klosterman about
Love is a Mix Tape, Sheffield's paean to a lost love via its soundtrack. Now, in Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Sheffield shares the soundtrack to his eighties adolescence.

When he turned 13 in 1920, Rob Sheffield had a lot to learn about women, love, music and himself, and in
Talking to Girls About Duran Duran we get a glimpse into his transformation from pasty, geeky "hermit boy" into a young man with his first girlfriend, his first apartment, and a sense of the world. These were the years of MTV and John Hughes movies; the era of big dreams and bigger shoulder pads; and, like any all-American boy, this one was searching for true love and maybe a cooler haircut. It all here: Inept flirtations. Dumb crushes. Deplorable fashion choices. Members Only jackets. Girls, every last one of whom seems to be madly in love with the bassist of Duran Duran.

Sheffield's coming-of-age story is one that we all know, with a playlist that any child of the eighties or anyone who just loves music will sing along with. These songs-and Sheffield's writing-will remind readers of that first kiss, that first car, and the moments that shaped their lives.


If any of you, like me, were a teenager in the 80's this book will really strike a cord with you. Rob Sheffield, pop culture journalist and bestselling author of Love is a Mix Tape, gives us what I would call a prequel, with Talking to Girls about Duran, Duran. Love is a Mix Tape came out in 2007 and chronicled his courtship and marriage of his first wife Renee and her tragic and sudden death. In his latest book Talking to Girls about Duran, Duran we see a different aspect of Sheffield. Using 80's songs and bands as chapter titles we see what Sheffield was like as a boy, a teenager and even get a glimpse of what's to come when Sheffield meets Renee for the first time.

Like most people, the reader will remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard these songs, just Sheffield does. Each song represents a different part of his life as he goes from geek to pretty cool guy. His background in music journalism takes this book to a whole new level. It shows the power of music in our everyday lives and how we learn from music, how we let it become a part of us and how we let it express for us some things we could never say.

Sheffield shows us his experiences with first love, responsibility, all through the lens of music. I really enjoyed this book because I was a teenager in the 80's, but that certainly isn't a requirement for enjoying this book. It's easy to identify with Sheffield and his coming of age book for anyone who has ever listened to a song on the radio and thought, Wow! They must have wrote that song about me!

Talking to Girls about Duran, Duran: One Young Man's Quest for true love and a Cooler Haircut is available now from your favorite bookseller!

I give this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Here is more a little information about the author, Rob Sheffield.

Rob Sheffield has been a music journalist for more than twenty years. He is a columnist for Rolling Stone, where he writes about music, TV, and pop culture. He regularly appears on VH1. He is the author of the national bestseller Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time, which has been translated into French, German, Swedish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and other languages he can’t read. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn.


Mystica said...

I have not read about this book anywhere else so it was a nice post. Sometimes a particular book is all over the blogosphere and can get a bit monotonous. Thanks for this review.

Jenny Girl said...

I have never heard of this book but since I am still a huge Duran Duran fan, I will certianly be on the look out for this one. JT is still hot! Thanks for the review!