When I grow up: a memoir

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J. Wiley & Sons, Sep 5, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 330 pages
2 Reviews

Ask a young girl what she wants to be when she grows up, and there's a good chance she'll say "a rock star." Ask a rock star what she wants to be when she grows up, and it gets a bit more complicated . . .

By the early nineties, singer-songwriter and former Blake Babies member Juliana Hatfield was in a position most aspiring alternative rockers only dream of: Her solo career was taking off. She was on the cover of Spin and Sassy. Ben Stiller directed the video for her song "Spin the Bottle" from the Reality Bites film soundtrack. She was a featured guest on My So-Called Life. Then, after canceling a European tour to treat severe depression and failing to produce another "hit," she spent a decade releasing well reviewed albums on indie labels and performing in ever-smaller clubs. A few years ago, then in her thirties, she found herself quietly reading the New Yorker on a filthy couch in the tiny dressing room of a punk club, and asked herself, "Why am I still doing this?"

By turns wryly funny and woundingly sincere, When I Grow Up takes readers behind the scenes of rock life as Hatfield recounts her best and worst days, the origins of her songs, the source of her woes, and her quest to find a new purpose in life.

No longer willing to play a kid's game by kid's rules, Hatfield resolved to take a year off and experiment with being a civilian. No performing or songwriting, and lots of everything else. When the year had gone by, rather than making her decide to pack it in and retire to a life of anonymous respectability, it reawakened her creative passion. She resolved to take charge of her career like a grown-up and write the great, untapped songs that she knew were still in her. This newfound determination led directly to her eagerly awaited new album, aptly named How to Walk Away, the most energetic, polished, and creative work of her music career.

When I Grow Up is more than a musician's memoir; it is a rich and revealing tour through an extraordinary mind. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes somber, and always insightful, it is rewarding reading not only for her fans, but for anyone who enjoys a truthful, beautifully written, real-life story of success, struggle, and rebirth.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Nitestar - LibraryThing

I absolutely love memoirs, especially memoirs about music and rock bands, so I was thrilled when I discovered When I Grow Up: A Memoir by Juliana Hatfield. Now, I have to own up and say that I had ... Read full review

I devoured this book

User Review  - mtoeta - Borders

Incredible read. I've followed Hatfield from Blake Babies' Earwig til now. I'm not sure if someone unfamiliar with her work could get into this. However, if you were present when "alternative" hit big ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

Juliana Hatfield is a singer-songwriter who came to prominence in the 1980s as a member of the band Blake Babies. Her vocals have been praised as "bewitching" by the New York Times. Her latest album, How to Walk Away, was released in August 2008.