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December 2006

Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love

Dirty Blonde Dirty Blonde
The Diaries of Courtney Love

If you already hate Courtney Love, Dirty Blonde won’t change your mind. If you are a fan on any level, you’ll probably like it as much as I did, because the book is just like her… smart, messy, sometimes gorgeous, brazen and blunt.

Posted December 05, 2006 Permalink

The format is scrapbook rather than diary. It reminded me of the box of papers my mom sent cross country after I had moved out, filled with things she wasn’t sure about… trash or treasure? I sifted through and kept a little. Courtney kept it all and has glued all the scraps together for us voyeurs. Lists - things to do (“Lose lots of weight”) things that interest (“Christianity” “Teapots” “Physics”) goals (“Make LP” “Achieve LA visibility” “Practice!”). It’s clear that from the earliest years, Courtney wanted to be a star more than anything else. “Win an Oscar” is one of her early goals. Poetry, song lyrics, drawings, photos, letters sent and received are all stuck in, with a general time line and a few notes added by the adult Courtney. It’s raw stuff sometimes funny, sometimes painful.

Though the book is nothing resembling an autobiography, you will learn who Courtney was/is and discover traces of the why. Early pages hold copies of her evaluations from foster care and reform schools. “Parents whereabouts unknown” is stated on a list of 25 housing assignments between ’78 and ’80. Before that, she had been sent to boarding school in New Zealand. At 13, her relationship with her mother boils down to; ''When I get around her I get so nervous and awkward and timid and weak and I always find myself trying to prove to her that I can make friends and be popular even though she lives on the other side of the world.'' Her writings collected from the same era show her to be a very bright but unhappy rebel, planning her future. She includes a two-page list of how she wants to raise her children (she wanted 4 when she wrote it) that is sweet and wise and hopeful.

Kurt is here, as is Frances and many famous friends, but this Dirty Blonde and Courtney is the star.

The 5 Best Fiction Books of '06 per The NY Times

Absurdistan Absurdistan By Gary Shteyngart
"An inventive, witty book, whose self-defeating hero and dark humor tempered with pessimistic social realism rarely fail to entertain."
Special Topics in Calamity Physics Special Topics in Calamity Physics By Marisha Pessl
Double stars for this one, my personal favorite of the year.
"The antic ghost of Nabokov hovers over this buoyantly literate first novel, a murder mystery narrated by a teenager enamored of her own precocity but also in thrall to her father, an enigmatic itinerant professor, and to the charismatic female teacher whose death is announced on the first page."
The Collected Stories The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel
"These are stories about people who make choices that seem inevitable, whose longings and misgivings evoke eternal human experience. With compassion, wit, and the acutest eye, Hempel observes the marriages, minor disasters, and moments of revelation in an uneasy America."
The Emperor's Children The Emperor's Children By Claire Messud
"Superbly intelligent, keenly observed comedy of manners, set amid the glitter of cultural Manhattan in 2001, also looks unsparingly, though sympathetically, at a privileged class unwittingly poised, in its insularity, for the catastrophe of 9/11. "
The Lay of the Land The Lay of the Land By Richard Ford
"The third installment, following "The Sportswriter" and "Independence Day", in the serial epic of Frank Bascombe, flawed husband, fuddled dad, writer turned real estate agent and voluble first-person narrator."

Posted December 04, 2006 Permalink