Given the paint-by-numbers memoirs that are being churned out at an alarming rate lately by rock stars that reveal just about nothing, it’s refreshing to read a collection of essays by a little known indie folk singer who reveals more about herself via humor than the recent works of Belinda Carlisle, Vince Neil and Scott Wieland combined.
In You Must Go and Win, Alina Simone opens up about her childhood in suburban Boston, the daughter of two Russian scientists; her struggles as a touring musician and trying to jumpstart her folk singer career in North Carolina and New York. Honest and laugh-out-loud funny throughout, Simone’s self-deprecating style is well worth the read even if you’re not a music fan (by the way, who’s not a fan of music?).
The chapters on her numerous visits back to Russia (visiting with her husband and again to be baptized by a punk rock monk); along with her e-mailed interview with a Russian journalist not fully-versed in the English language and her numerous attempts to use Craig’s List to jumpstart her career are among the most entertaining literary efforts by a musician… well ever (not counting Billy Corgan’s over the top poetry, of course).
Let’s hope this is just the first of several book by Simone (it’s the least we can ask for seeing as how someone let Jewel put out two books of her earnest ramblings).
You Must Go and Win By Alina Simone/256 pages/Paperback/Faber and Faber/2011