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Everything but the girl herself
on 21 August 2013
This is Lavinia Greenlaw's memoir of growing up in the seventies, centred on the music she was listening to. From the last days of prog rock, through the rise of punk, to the new romantics. It's beautifully written, vivid and at times very touching. But also it is puzzling. The bands and the songs she listens to don't seem to mean a lot to her personally, they're more of a statement to the world, a style accessory. And while there's lots of incident and detail, the really significant things seem to happen off-stage: "David, the first boy I'd slept with, was there somewhere around the table."
Okay, so maybe this is really about her inner development, her sense of who she is. But there too she seems reticent, even elusive. Reluctant to identify as a girl at the start of her teens, by the end she's the mother of a child? How did she get there? Sure, we were all awful posers in our teens, but how did this particular "poser" get to become an acclaimed writer with her own original take on the world?