Laurie Lindeen’s rags-to-well,rags chronicle of her band Zuzu’s Petals reminded strongly of Tommy Womack’s excellent and thematically similar Cheese Chronicles, with the added fillip that Laurie hooks up with someone Much More Famous midway through the band’s career arc.
Almost all of the book is written in the present tense. Lindeen is sometimes deliberately cagey about whom she implicates in various activities, with a two-of-us-got-busted (not saying which two) story being the height of obfuscation. She’s also sometimes cagey about when an event took place in relation to other events. The book more-or-less follows the band from slightly-pre-inception to its eventual disintegration. In the beginning of the book she’s flashes back from the band history to her pre-band life, but later when she flashes back from mid-to-late band timeline to earlier band timeline it gets a little confusing, and that confusion is my chief criticism. The frequent jumps backward and forward in time stop the book from being frontloaded with a lot of “here’s my life before I began to rock,” and Lindeen generally ties the flashback thematically to an event in the current timeline, but I still could have done with a little less backstory.
I’ve never been on tour, but Lindeen’s descriptions carry jolts of recognition for me anyway. If I mentally string together all the out-of-town shows I’ve played, I get a similarly grimy and unglamorous mental picture. Lindeen likes a lot the same bands I like and hates a lot of the bands I hate, and I found her a generally agreeable tourguide even when she was being kinda grumpy (she acknowledges her grumpiness, which helps). The writing is a little rough in places, but she manages quite a few very trenchant observations and made me laugh out loud several times.
I read a publisher’s galley, so I feel like it’s not fair to pick on the copy-editing. But there were a few errors so strange and confusing, that, fair or not, I was amused and bemused, like the word “nice” with a gratuitous circumflex — yes, nicê — and “die” instead of “the” on multiple occasions.
Needs More Demons? Nah.