Kristin Hersh - Paradoxical Undressing (4 stars)

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Kristin Hersh - Paradoxical Undressing

(Atlantic)

There’s only one major flaw with Kristin Hersh’s autobiography: it’s far too short. Based on Hersh’s diary entries from the time, the book kicks off in spring 1985 and finishes a year later. Knowing that she has experienced another 25 years of thoughts and feelings, none of which we’re privy to, leaves you feeling somehow bereft. Such is the power of Hersh’s open, honest, witty and engaging style.

Admittedly, she’s picked a pretty good year to share with us. In that pivotal 12 months, Hersh’s band Throwing Muses goes from lovable local weirdoes to recording its first album, her attempted suicide leads to a bipolar diagnosis, and she gives birth to her first child: all in her late teens. Whether she’s recalling the minutiae of everyday living (buying groceries, visiting the doctor), childhood memories, song lyrics or life on stage, Hersh takes us inside her head, heart and soul, and it’s a fascinating place to be.

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