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July 23, 2008 in Books, Music

Girls_like_us Carol If you grew up in the 60’s or 70’s like I did you probably were influenced, inspired or at least entertained by artists Carole King, Carly Simon or Joni Mitchell. For me, it was all three. So when I received a copy of the book, Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller, chronicling the life and time of these three women of enormous talent – I thought the book had been written just for me. All three women “come from such different sets of circumstances” and their journeys were very influenced by the times they were living in.

Carly Carole lived in Brooklyn, NY. She married very young and was raising young children while writing song after song for many years before breaking through with arguably one of the most popular albums of all time. (that would be Tapestry, of course) Carly was raised in the intellectual, upper crust world of publishing. In fact, her father ran the publishing empire, Simon & Schuster. She also rather famously married the super talented (and then heroin addicted) James Taylor. (James was in all three women’s lives) Joni was raised in Canada and gave birth to a daughter out of wedlock that she gave up for adoption. This decision haunted her until decades later they were reunited. To learn that her song “Little Green” was written about her child was poignant.

JoniTheir journeys were truly fascinating and their love lives beyond (my) imagination. There were so many other famous musicians, actors, and politicians that were woven through their lives and inspired the songs they wrote. I had to pull out their classic albums to revisit these songs and lyrics to hear them with new ears.

This was a book that I really never wanted to put down. After some 500 pages of fascinating accounts of their lives, my eyes welled with tears when I realized I was reading the final paragraph. If you’re interested in that period or these artists – I think you’ll enjoy how this author captures the details of the epic story of these “women of heart and mind.”

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