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Entertaining, but not inspiring
on 27 July 2010
Belinda Carlisle's days with The Go Go's (the first 1/3 of the book) are a really entertaining read...their party days on the Sunset Strip are an eye-opener, as is an anecdote about going to clubs with a little vial of blood to pour into an unsuspecting stranger's drink (yech!!). She was a wild child in the late 70s, that's for sure.
However...the party days (and the book) become less fun as they continue. When cocaine use gives way to insane addiction, and her unflattering self-image exacerbates her depression, Carlisle refuses to link the two, and refuses to confront her issues. This goes on, seemingly forever. Her honesty in the book is commendable, but spending the last 2/3 of the book with this heavy, dark cloud hanging over it is as frustrating as trying to reason with an addict. You want her to pull through, and eventually, of course, she does.
Despite her honesty on the subject of drugs, some of the information (the sex, for one) has been completely glossed over, likely to spare the embarrassment of her husband and child. But she was a Go Go, and there's no way she forewent-went all those years while she was abusing drugs and hanging out in clubs. The culpability of the other Go Gos is also absent here...out of respect for Jane, Kathy, Charlotte and Gina, I guess, she does not veer terribly far into their tantrums or drug use and sticks mainly to her own.
The music is largely not described, which makes sense to some degree, since Carlisle wrote only a bit of it and played instruments on none of it. It's interesting to ponder that with Carlisle's solo career, she *was* the product being sold more so than the songs.
Collaborations with Bangles Vicki Peterson and Susanna Hoffs are barely given any text...and her stint on "Dancing With The Stars" is given one paragraph (and her dance partner, Jonathan, is not even mentioned). But she does give some space to collaborations with Brian Wilson and George Harrison.
So is it an interesting read? For the most part, it really is. But I can't give this book five stars or even four. For all of her new resolve, Carlisle's book contains a fair amount of wallowing and, yeah, whining. As an honest portrayal of her life, it's probably pretty dead-on...but as an entertainment, or a tale of inspiration full of insights and answers, it unfortunately falls a little flat.