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Girls Like Us

Girls Like Us

Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--and the Journey of a Generation

  • reading group guide

A groundbreaking and irresistible biography of three of America's most important musical artists -- Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon -- charts their lives as women at a magical moment in time.

Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon remain among the most enduring and important women in popular music. Each woman is distinct. Carole King is the product of outer-borough, middle-class New York City; Joni Mitchell is a granddaughter of Canadian farmers; and Carly Simon is a child of the Manhattan intellectual upper crust. They collectively represent, in their lives and their songs, a great swath of American girls who came of age in the late 1960s. Their stories trace the arc of the now mythic sixties generation -- female version -- but in a bracingly specific and deeply recalled way, far from cliché. The history of the women of that generation has never been written -- until now, through their resonant lives and emblematic songs.

Filled with the voices of many dozens of these women's intimates, who are speaking in these pages for the first time, this alternating biography reads like a novel -- except it's all true, and the heroines are famous and beloved. Sheila Weller captures the character of each woman and gives a balanced portrayal enriched by a wealth of new information.

Girls Like Us is an epic treatment of midcentury women who dared to break tradition and become what none had been before them -- confessors in song, rock superstars, and adventurers of heart and soul.
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  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 608 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743491488 | 
  • April 2009
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Video

Women rock stars: Girls Like Us

Sheila Weller shares the intimate stories of Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon who dared to break tradition and become what none had been before them, confessors in song, rock superstars and adventurers of heart and soul.

Reading Group Guide


INTRODUCTION

Carly Simon, Carole King, and Joni Mitchell remain among the most enduring and important women in popular music. Each woman is distinct, in both her individual vocal style and in her singular transformation of American music history. Carole King is the product of an ethnically diverse Brooklyn neighborhood; Joni Mitchell is a granddaughter of Canadian farmers; and Carly Simon is a child of New York intelligentsia. They collectively represent, in their lives and their songs, every girl who came of age in the late 1960s. Their stories trace the arc of the now mythic sixties generation -- female version -- but in a bracingly specific and deeply recalled way that altogether avoids cliché. The history of the women of that generation has never been written -- until now, through their resonant lives and emblematic songs.
Filled with the voices of many dozens of these women's intimates, who are speaking in these pages for the first time, this alternating biography reads like a novel -- except it's all true, and the three heroines are famous and beloved. In Girls Like Us, Sheila Weller captures the character of each woman, giving a balanced portrayal enriched by a wealth of new information.
QUESTIONS AND TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

1. "Women's liberation had been the work of female civil rights and antiwar activists in collectives in Berkeley, Boston, New York, and elsewhere...but now [in 1971] it was fully entrenched in the mainstr see more

Articles About This Book

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Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Suzanne Donahue

More often than not, rock biographies are the “drugs and booze and on-the-road turmoil” stories of male stars. The women in these bios and autobios are in the background: the girls on the bus, the wives and girlfriends, the nonessential players.
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About the Author

Sheila Weller
Photo Credit:

Sheila Weller

Sheila Weller is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning magazine journalist. She is the author of five previous books, most recently her 2003 family memoir, Dancing at Ciro's, which The Washington Post called "a substantial contribution to American social history." She is the senior contributing editor at Glamour, a contributor to Vanity Fair, and a former contributing editor of New York. To learn more, visit www.girlslikeusthebook.com.

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