The Austin Chronicle

A Drunken Poet's Dream

Dysfunction made me a riot grrrl

Reviewed by Neph Basedow, December 11, 2015, Music

Given Carrie Brownstein's florid locution, the thanks her former sociolinguistics professor rates in the acknowledgments to Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl were well earned. A precocious "unlit firecracker ... eager to ignite," the Portlandia star recounts her suburban Seattle upbringing with five early chapters that give way to reveals about her conventional-on-paper family. A band the guitarist describes as her "secrets," "bones," and "veins," Sleater-Kinney's active years (1994-2006) make up the bulk of the detailing: tours, albums, and, as Kim Gordon similarly spotlighted in her memoir, the ever-asked question of female musicians: "What's it like to be a girl in a band?" The trio's slow unraveling reads painstaking and personal, as the now 41-year-old limns her pre-show panic attacks that eventually rock-bottom out in 2006 as she literally punches herself in the face repeatedly before a backstage mirror.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

by Carrie Brownstein
Riverhead Books, 256 pp., $27.95

Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.