Jul 10, 2009, 12:15PM

The cure for the common rock and roll memoir?

"Not many of them are very smart, and almost none of them are written very well. But this one is, and I really liked it."

Why should we care about his opinion? Because Lennon's an excellent fiction writer in his own right; his Pieces For The Left Hand, has recently been published in America by Graywolf Press. Here's why he liked Everything I'm Cracked Up To Be by Jen Trynin:

Somehow though I really enjoyed Trynin's version of this story. I think it's the writing--she's straightforward and engaging, yet capable of surprising and funny turns of phrase. She writes with real humility and self-deprecating good humor about her brief fame; she is unabashed about her crushes on guys, her insecurity about her self-image and her guitar playing, her relative ignorance of rock culture. There are some great bits, including a few nice dream sequences, and a wonderful, dreamlike (but apparently real) incident involving an endless series of terrifyingly identical interconnected hotel rooms. When she cheated on her boyfriend, I gasped in horror; when her Super Reverb died during sound check, I shed a little rock and roll tear. Even though this isn't nearly my favorite book I read this year, I felt a deep affinity for Trynin--I actually just mailed her a fan letter.

Maybe I'm sentimental. In the mid-nineties, when the book takes place, I was half-assedly doing the same things Trynin was doing for real, and it's not hard to imagine my way into her situation. Of course the same thing would later happen to me, on a miniature scale, in the literary world that is now falling all over itself to replicate the failures of the record industry: but that's the way of the artist, I suppose. Indeed, I wish more rock memoirs were about being an artist, rather than about being a star.


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